, “From the totality of the evidence of the defendant, who was the last person to be seen with the deceased when he sustained the injuries that eventually led to his death, coupled with the surrounding circumstances that led to the death of the deceased, evidence of PW1, PW2, DW1 And DW2 (the accused) as reproduced in the body of this judgment, it is now very irresistibly clear that the defendant, fatally injured the deceased by stabbing him in the heart region, thigh, back, using the same knife which she had threatened to use on the deceased with the premeditated intention of killing him.” Those are the words that came from Justice Yusuf Halilu which eventually sentenced Maryam Sanda to death after the defendant has been accused of killing her husband.
The name Justice Yusuf Halilu to many who might have not heard it before might sound somehow strange but not to those who have been following his antecedent in the legal profession because he’s not a stranger to courageous pronouncements.
On August 15, 2019 Justice Halilu jailed social commentator Ibrahim Garba Wala, also known as IG Wala, to seven years imprisonment for criminal defamation and public incitement against the boss of the National Hajj Commission.
Another one is in November 2017 when Halilu the presiding imprisoned two former directors in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mohammed Dogon Audu, also known as Abdullahi Dogonyaro, and Yahaya Ayodeji to 35 years imprisonment each when EFCC charged the convicted directors of abuse of their offices by diverting over N1bn in the Economic Reforms and Governance Project (ERGP) domiciled in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation through their private companies.
He was assigned the case of the Aide-de-Camp of ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Ojogbane Adegbe, who was detained for several months without trial when it was claimed that Adegbe was being investigated for arms procurement fraud, it also stated that the aide to the former president was being detained on the instruction of the Nigerian Army. The judge said their actions violated Section 36 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 which provides that an accused person is deemed innocent until proved guilty in a competent court of law.
Justice Halilu also advocated for former aide to former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, Col. Nicholas Ashinze and came on the EFCC and the army over the prolonged detention, without bail.
Justice Halilu was born on August 15, 1972 in Nasarawa Eggon Local Government of Nasarawa State. He obtained a Bachelor of Law in 1997 from the University of Jos and attended Law School in 1998 and was called to Bar same year. He obtained his LL.M from the same institution in 2001. After years of private practice, Justice Halilu was appointed judge of the FCT High Court in June 2010. He is married with children.