First person convicted for Chibok kidnapping


Nigeria convicted the first person to stand trial for the Chibok girls kidnapping, a crime that made Islamist militant group Boko Haram notorious around the world, the justice ministry said.

As part of a mass trial of suspected members of the group, 35-year-old Haruna Yahaya was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for his role in the abduction of more than 200 girls from their school in Chibok in 2014.

The ministry said Yahaya confessed to participating in the kidnapping after being forced to join the group. He said he lost count of the number of people he killed.

He was one of more than 50 convicted since the trial of hundreds of suspects resumed on Monday, the ministry said.
“It’s going according to plan with over 50 cases dispensed in two days,” said ministry of justice spokesman Salihu Othman Isah.

The Chibok abduction by the group, whose name in the Hausa language roughly translates as “Western education is forbidden”, attained international attention and sparked a campaign called #BringBackOurGirls.

More than 20,000 people were killed and two million forced to flee in the north-east of Africa’s most populous nation since the jihadist group began its insurgency in 2009.

Abba Umar, a 22-year-old man, was jailed for 60 years on Tuesday.

The justice ministry, in an emailed statement, called him an “unremorseful sect commander” who “remained adamant to his ideology despite all efforts by the defence counsel to convince him to have a change of heart”.

Suspects appeared in open court after rights groups criticised the use of secret trials in October.

Last year the ministry of justice said 45 people with Boko Haram links were convicted and jailed. A further 468 suspects were discharged and 28 remanded for trial.