Maryam Sanda in detention.

By Shadrach Okon

The story of Maryam Sanda seem to have been buried in the sand of history until 27 January 2020. It was exhumed and brought to public discourse again when learned Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court in Abuja, sentenced her to death by hanging for killing her husband with a kitchen knife.

Maryam, derived from the ancient Greek name Mariam means “bitterness”. Maryam Sanda, until things fell apart, was the wife of Bilyamin Mohammed Bello. Maryam Sanda, a tyro of love who became the heroine of domestic violence in November 2017, is a good looking woman, slim and tall. With her cherubic face and ebony colour, combined with her rosy cheeks which providence decorated her with at birth, she appears like angelic creature sent directly from heaven, especially when she smiles. When you look at her, you see the prize specimen of an African beauty queen. In a world where good look is every thing and character counts for little, she seems a perfect woman for any man of taste.

When you see the way she nestled on her husband’s chest like a harmless dove, her breath seemingly embracing his, you may swear by Athena the goddess of Athens that Maryam Sanda did not kill her husband. Her action is a contradistinction of her gentle appearance. But Maryam Sanda was convicted of murder after all.

Indeed, she looks very harmless and invokes love with her beauty. Perhaps that is why Bilyamin had mistaken her for a dove. Who took away the love juice from Maryam Sanda’s eyes and replaced it with the juice of bitterness? Perhaps Venus the goddess of love in Greek mythology can provide the answer in this wood.

According to earthly judges, Maryam Sanda stepped out of her guardrails and jettisoned her moral scruples to stab her husband to death with a knife while they were arguing over the nude pictures of another ‘soft creature’ she discovered in his phone.

The caged love bird, Maryam Sanda Maryam Sanda and her late husband, Bilyamin Mohammed Bello.

Like Othello who heard the cuckoo’s song sung by Iago in Williams Shakespare’s play, became so flustered and frustrated that he killed his sweet Desdemona when he discovered the handkerchief – the very proof of love he gave to her on their honeymoon, hung in Cassio’s apartment, a nude picture of a strange woman in her husband’s phone was the ocular proof that convinced Maryam Sanda beyond every reasonable doubt. Her husband had certainly been cheating on her, at least her mind had thought. She was ambushed by a storm of anger to discover that she was sharing her husband with a courtesan. That was how everything spun out of control.

With excruciating pains, that is the telling episode of how Maryam Sanda, Bilyamin’s kiss mate forced her husband to kiss the dust while heaven watched with watery eyes. Bilyamin died, even when a screech-owl failed to give him any foreboding of danger hovering in the offing. Poor Bilyamin, born by a woman, killed by a woman. Like Theseus asked: ‘How shall we ever find the concord in this discord?’ What a jealousy so strong that judgment cannot cure? Bilyamin, while in the game of love had failed to work by wit so he made the witches his companions.

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While Maryam Sanda is going to join her husband in the world she escorted him more than two years ago, what are the lessons for us the living? While this horrible tale continues to dominate public discourse, two monsters seem to be staring at us in this episode: these are the deleterious effect of anger and the failed test of fidelity.
Anger is a fabulous monster with an eagle’s head and a lion’s body. It is an antidote that can dilute the love charm of a couple in a single second. Due to untamed anger, domestic violence is on the increase in the world today. The horrible things we used to watch only in Bollywood and Nollywood movies are now replicated in many homes.

Maryam Sanda, killed her husband; but she may not be so wicked as we may think. She is only a caged bird in the court of anger. Anger according to Lade Wosornu in his poem “Raider of the Treasure Trove”, is a thief and the enemy of equanimity.’

Do you know that because of anger Ben Carson, the world best Neurosurgeon, as a growing child, attempted to kill his mother with a hammer before Curtis his brother stepped in to grab him and collect the hammer from him? Even in literature, tales fail where anger does not perspire. Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was a victim in the court of anger. Prince Manfred, the lord of Otranto in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto killed his only daughter, Matilda because of anger. Bigger Thomas in Richard Wright’s Native Son killed his girlfriend Bessie Maers because of anger. Kindo in Dele Charley’s Blood of a Stranger was the Chief Warrior, the Prince and the heir apparent to the throne of Mandoland. But because of anger, he lost the throne and was banished from Mandoland for killing Parker and Whitehead in peace time. The list, of course, is endless.

Also, the holy writ is replete with stories of mighty men caged with the mud of anger. Cane the first man given birth to by a woman killed his brother, Abel because of anger. Moses the meekest man who ever lived on earth could not enter the promised land because of anger. Apostle Peter who healed the sick with his shadow once paid homage to anger when Jesus Christ was at the verge of paying the supreme price of redemption to humanity. Anger does not respect your personality, you better deal with it before it ruins your life. The Holy Bible advises that ‘he who is slow to anger is better the mighty and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.’

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Millennial in the game of love should better surf with caution in the sea of romance. A potential spouse who beats you up or threatens to kill you with a knife while on a date is enough sign to tell you of what awaits you in that relationship you are praying to crystalize into full marriage. Do you think that your potential spouse that beats you up with slightest provocation while on courtship will suddenly change when you eventually walk down the aisle? If that is your take, then you may be digging your grave with your hands as you remain in that relationship. If you are a man or woman who cannot deal with anger while you are single before you delve into the muddy waters of marriage, then you are courting a dangerous disaster in your bosom.

Infidelity is another human foibles we gloat when our enemy is caught in the mess. It is a twin sister to anger. Where infidelity abounds in a relationship anger is inevitable. Forget about that tale of which religion permits multiple sex partners, no woman is really at ease with the notion of sharing her husband with another woman. Where you see a woman who keeps quiet and watches her spouse flirting with other women outside, she is only suppressing her emotional impulse, the relationship is sitting on a time bomb. Who knows when it is going to explode?

A man’s ability to control his phallus and resist the inviting temptations to taste the sweet nectar of the beguiling flowers in the streets of our cities makes him a superior being to other animals in this jungle of life. Before we sentence another Maryam Sanda to death, men should trade with caution and keep to their marital vows. A stitch in time saves nine!