A meaningless article, even as the product of a contrarian disposition. Or, worse, a hatchet job. Couched in emotive language – “nursing mother”, etc, and casting doubt about whether murder did indeed take place, Bilyaminu was turned into the villain rather than the victim that he was.
“Lack of witnesses, video footage and forensic evidence” cannot vitiate a charge of murder or conviction, based on other facts. Maryam’s own testimony can be used against her, as investigation officers repeatedly caution suspects. That aside, the learned justice applied the Doctrine of Last Seen which obliges an accused “to explain the cause of death rather than the prosecutor”, as he put it.
Ruminating on the effect of modern communication gadgets on husband-wife relationships does not illuminate the issue, but it is used as a scaffold on which to hang him for his “extra-marital affairs”, justifying his murder thereby.
As the Daily Trust investigations show, spousal killings are on the increase. And whenever sufficient evidence is made available, suspects have been convicted and appropriately sentenced. Not being from “high society” circles, their cases draw no public attention and even less sympathy. Maryam’s has however become a cause celebre with high- society biggies and other do-gooders weighing in on the issue, shredding the character of the deceased in the process.
It is beggars’ belief that the Judge would handle Maryam’s case without due regard to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA). Were it truly so, defence lawyers were at liberty to “jump the ship” of judicial proceedings and call attention to that grievous error. There was nothing inappropriate in linking law to religion: laws observed by human societies have roots in religious beliefs of the world’s various communities. No law can stand on its own, independent of human thinking. What is “justice to the deceased, justice to the perpetrator, and justice to the society”? A vacuous formulation! The difference between various types of killings and societal response to them are perfectly understood by laymen who would align with whatever judgement facts lead to in any case before Court. Mass amnesty is often society’s response to killings in the course of generalised warfare; it couldn’t be otherwise, else peace would never be achieved. Killers need not be “trained”, they only need to have disease-filled hearts.
Murder is the most heinous of crimes, that is why the death penalty is reserved for it. Maryann Sanda may well escape justice, but that’s not because she’s not guilty. It is because leadership today is not concerned with reform and guidance of society, but with the thrills and frills of office, and the opportunities.
M T Usman
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