By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - At least twenty people implicated in Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria have been convicted and handed jail terms ranging from two years to 15 years, an official statement said on Tuesday.
In the statement, Salihu Isa, Justice Ministry’s spokesman, said the sentences were given by four special panels of the Federal High Court sitting in the heavily guarded maximum prison in central Nigeria's Kainji town.
The trial of over 1,000 suspects resumed on Monday and may last the next few days, according to officials involved in the proceedings. The first round of the trial held last October, resulted in some 45 convictions.
“The Federal High Court sentenced one Boko Haram member, Haruna Yahaya, 35, to 15 years’ imprisonment for his role in the abduction of Chibok girls in 2014,” according to Isa, quoting Yahaya as claiming being forcibly recruited into the violent movement.
Isa said at least 468 of the suspects will be discharged for lack of evidence against them and will then undergo rehabilitation designed for former Boko Haram militants.
“Already, about 82 Boko Haram detainees have so far benefited from the government’s window to plead guilty to secure low jail terms or unconditional release that is part of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s concerted effort to boost its human right records and decongest the nation’s prisons,” the statement added.