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Supreme Court Sentence Policeman To Death For Killing 12-year-old Wife

July 6, 2013

The Supreme Court yesterday sentenced a policeman, Usman Maigari to death for strangulating his 12-year old wife to death 14 years ago for ritual purposes and dumping her corpse by a culvert for worms and birds to feast on.
The Supreme Court, which dismissed an appeal brought by the cop yesterday, said Maigari was not fit to live amongst decent human beings.
“To say the least, the appellant (the policeman) displayed a complete disregard for human life, with the archetypal characteristics of a beast dressed in police uniform with which he set about the abuse of that office and had thought he had enough expertise to cover up the dastardly acts with the impunity that went along with persons of such genre, best kept away from human society, especially as he held nothing sacred,” the summit court held.
Yesterday’s decision brought to vain his 14 years of legal battle to save his life. Maigari was arraigned before the Sokoto High Court on July 13, 2000 charged with culpable homicide punishable with death under Section 221(b) of the Penal Code.
He was accused of causing the death of his second wife, Sa’adatu Torankawa (whose age was put between 11 and 13 years) on January 11, 1999 “by strangulating her to death for ritual reasons, then conveying her corpse and dumping it in a culvert near Janzomo village, along Kajiji- Shagari Road. He pleaded not guilty and underwent trial. In his defence, he denied killing his wife, but said she died while he was conveying her to the hospital. “I can remember that sometime in January 1999, my wife Sa’adatu fell sick one night. Then I conveyed her on my motorcycle from Yabo in order to take her to hospital in Sokoto.
“However, after we had passed Milgoma village, she died. When I noticed that she was dead, I put her body in a sack, then conveyed the corpse on my motorcycle and dumped it under a culvert along Shagari- Kajiji Road, near one village called Janzomo,” he said.
He also told the court that he hid the news about Sa’adatu’s “ailment” and subsequent death from everyone, including his second wife, Hauwa’u and his deceased wife’s relatives. He said he was scared that his in-laws could kill him. At the conclusion of trial, the trial judge, Justice Abbas Bello found him guilty and sentenced him to death by hanging.
He challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal, Sokoto and lost, forcing him to appeal to the apex court. The Supreme Court, in the judgment read yesterday by Justice Mary Peter- Odili, upheld the decisions of both lower courts.
The court had wondered why the convict, a policeman, chose to keep his wife’s ailment and subsequent death to himself if he had no ulterior motive. The apex court also queried his decision to dump his wife’s body at the car park of the hospital and later, under a culvert, where it was later discovered by passers-by, rather than take her to the doctor for medical attention.
The court also questioned how Maigari, not being a medical doctor, concluded that his wife was dead and why he chose to dump her corpse under a culvert along the road to rot away, rather than inform her relatives for her to be properly buried. The apex court upheld the evidence in a medical report tendered by the prosecution to the effect that the deceased died from strangulation.
“What is sure is that there is enough circumstantial evidence, cogent, compelling, unequivocal and irresistible leading to the conclusion that the appellant and no other, caused the death of his wife, a young person of between 12-13 years, by strangulating her to death and dumping her corpse in a culvert.
“It is also to be said that the proof put forward by the prosecution was beyond reasonable doubt in tragic circumstances most especially, in the present situation, where the perpetrator of this heinous, animalistic crime is an officer of the Nigerian Police Force, who donned the uniform of state, not with pride and dignity of a law enforcement personnel, but wore the uniform which he was unworthy to be seen in.
“The circumstances are such that I see no redeeming feature available to the appellant and therefore no basis to either fault what the trial court and Court of Appeal did.
“Rather, this court has no choice but affirm the concurrent findings of the two courts below, which were supported by the evidence on record and nothing on which a deviation can be hung,” Justice Peter- Odili held.
She subsequently dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit and affirmed the conviction and sentencing of Maigari to death by hanging. Justices Mahmud Mohammed, Muhammad Saifullah Muntaka-Coomassie, Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta and Olukayode Ariwoola, who equally participated the hearing of the appeal, agreed with the lead judgment

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