Physically challenged 35-year-old Haruna Yahaya, earlier sentenced on Monday to 15 years imprisonment for participating in Boko Haram members’ abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014, has bagged fresh 15 years jail term.
The Federal High Court sitting in Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, Niger State, which delivered both the Monday’s and Friday’s judgments, convicted him again on Friday for masterminding the abduction. Yahaya, who hailed from Potiskum Local Government Area of Yobe State, pleaded guilty to the separate charges read to him on Monday and Friday.
He was on Monday convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for separate counts of being a member of Boko Haram punishable under section 16(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013 and of participating in the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, an act punishable under section1(2),(a),(b),(e),(f) and (g) of the same law.
On Friday, Yahaya was charged and arraigned again on a count of “masterminding the plan of kidnapping over 200 female students from Government Girls Secondary School at Chibok, Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State”. The said offence was said to be contrary to section 15 of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2015.
Again, he pleaded guilty to the charge, but his lawyer, who was of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, urged the judge to temper justice with mercy by imposing a sentence that would be concurrent with the 15 years earlier imposed on the convict on Monday.
But the court, in imposing a fresh 15 years sentence on the convict, ordered in its judgment on Friday that the earlier 15 years sentence and the one imposed on him on Friday would run consecutively. With Friday’s judgment, Yahaya, who is physically challenged, will spend an unbroken period of 30 years, starting from Monday, in prison.
The court had ordered that he should undergo de-radicalisation and rehabilitation exercise to be organised by the Federal Government after completing his jail terms before being reintegrated into the society. The court had imposed the sentences after the convict pleaded guilty to the two counts.
Friday was the last day of the second phase of the week-long proceedings of the special division of the Federal High Court established in Wawa Cantonment to fast-track the trial of over 1,000 Boko Haram suspects held in the cantonment.
Earlier on Monday, the prosecution alleged that Yahaya participated in Boko Haram’s attacks in Chibok and Gabsuri town, which is in Damboa Local Government of the state.
He confessed to committing the alleged crimes but said he did so against his will.
“I was threatened that I would be killed if I refused to join them,” he said.
He told the court that he was a trader in Damboa and was at his shop when members of Boko Haram forcibly conscripted him.
He said on the night of his conscription into the sect, he was forced to be part of the attack on Chibok