Metro Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto, Sentenced to Life Imprisonment


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The Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Umar, alias Kabiru Sokoto, was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment by an Abuja Federal High Court for his role in terrorist activities, including the December 25, 2011 bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State.

PUNCH NEWSPAPER says he was the governor of Sokoto State in the hierarchy of the Boko Haram group, according to evidence that emerged in the course of his trial, which lasted six months.

Kabiru Sokoto was apprehended by operatives of the State Security Service in the Borno State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja after escaping from the custody of police officers who initially arrested him, was arraigned by the Federal Government on April 19, 2013 on a two count charge bordering on terrorism.

Following Kabiru Sokoto’s claim that he does not understand English language, the trial had to be conducted with the aid of an interpreter, who translated exchanges in Hausa and English languages.

At a point in the trial, Kabiru Sokoto openly disagreed with the interpreter over the interpretation given to a statement he made in Hausa Language.

But evidence emerged in the course of the proceedings that the Boko Haram kingpin actually understood English language, having obtained four credits in the Senior School Certificate Examination which he wrote in English.

Kabiru Sokoto had denied the two-count charge during his arraignment, with his lawyers claiming that he was tortured before he made the confessional statement tendered as evidence by the prosecution, in which he owned up to the crimes.

Six prosecution witnesses, who testified against Kabiru Sokoto, insisted that he was guilty of the charge brought against him.

In the testimony he gave in his own defence, Kabiru Sokoto insisted on his innocence.

However, delivering judgment in the matter on Friday, Justice Ademola held that Sokoto’s confessional statement, in which he owned up to the crimes, was factual evidence.

He went ahead to quote portions of the statement in which Kabiru Sokoto admitted his role in facilitating terrorist activities in Kano.

In the statement, Kabiru Sokoto had said, “Here in Abaji (a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory) nobody knows that I am a Boko Haram member. I have about 500 children that I teach as an Islamic instructor.

“Some of my members are in Mabira, Sokoto. I planted them to bomb the police headquarters in Sokoto and I purchased four AK 47 rifles with about 2000 live ammunition.”

Justice Ademola noted that the statement was also corroborated by the account of one of the Boko Haram members arrested in Sokoto State, who informed SSS investigators that they were planted by Kabiru Sokoto, “who is the governor of Sokoto State in the hierarchy of Boko Haram.”

Justice Ademola held that Kabiru Sokoto lied when he disowned the confessional statement attributed to him.

“The accused person is not a credible witness; he is a pathological liar who has no respect for the truth.”

He therefore sentenced Kabiru Sokoto to life imprisonment on count one of the charge, in line with the provisions of section 15(2) of EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004, and 10 years imprisonment on count two, as stipulated by section 7(1) of Terrorism and Prevention Act, 2011.

Justice Ademola ordered that the two sentences will run consecutively, which meant that Kabiru Sokoto will serve the life sentence first, before serving the 10 years prison term.

Immediately after the proceedings, heavily armed SSS operatives whisked Kabiru Sokoto off to prison.
 

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