By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - A 22-year-old Boko Haram commander has been sentenced to 60 years after a Nigerian court convicted him of carrying out terrorist activities, unlawful possession of arms, and other terrorism charges.
Abba Umar had been arrested in 2014 in a botched attempt to bomb a government school in the northeastern Gombe state, according to a statement on Wednesday by Saliu Isah, a justice ministry spokesman.
Isah said Umar was convicted Tuesday evening of all of the five counts brought against him: membership of a terrorist group (15 years); attempting to bomb a school (30 years); active involvement in an act of terrorism and possession of munitions (60 years); involvement in terrorism training (15 years); and failure to disclose the whereabouts of his senior commanders (7 years).
The terms would run concurrently from the day of his arrest, according to the ruling.
Umar would also undergo the government's deradicalization program, the statement added.
The statement said another Boko Haram militant, Mohamed Hussain, also bagged a 20-year jail term after he pleaded guilty to three-count charge: membership of a terrorist movement, the bombing of civilian and military targets in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe.
“(Hussain) pleaded guilty to all the offences and was convicted and sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment to run concurrently in all the three count charges with no option of fine and the jail term runs from 13th February, 2018,” the statement said.
The government on Monday resumed the mass trial of over 1,000 Boko Haram suspects at a heavily guarded maximum prison in the central Nigerian Niger state.
Over 400 of the suspects are to be freed for lack of evidence against them while nearly 100 are to plead guilty to the charges against them in exchange for lighter sentences.