6th December, 2011
Former spokesman for the Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment by an Abuja Magistratesâ€™ Court presided by Mrs. Oyebiola Oyewunmi.
His sentencing todayÂ followed a plea of guilty pleaded by Konduga when he was arraigned before the court alongside Senator Mohammed Aliyu Ndume, representing Borno South Senatorial District at the National Assembly. Before his sentence was read by the magistrate, Konduga pleaded for leniency and offered to assist the Federal Government in bringing to an end violence perpetrated by Boko Haram.
When the only charge contained in the First Information Report filed by the State Security Service, SSS, was read to Konduga during his arraignment, he pleaded guilty to the charge while his co-traveller, Senator Aliyu Ndume maintained his innocence.
They were charged with conspiracy to commit felony, breach of official trust by disclosing official information to persons not authorised to have such information. The offence was said to be contrary to sections 79, 98 and 398 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The court noted that the spokesman to Boko Haram can only be sentenced on the strength of section 398 of the CPC which deals with criminalÂ intimidation by anonymous communication which prescribes a term of two years imprisonment to an offender.
Considering his offer for assistance and his cooperation so far, Magistrate Oyebiola Oyewunmi observed that although the penalty for his offence can be stretched to seven years imprisonment but considering the fact that the court cannot exceed the maximum prescribed punishment of three years sentence, she slammed a three-year jail term on the terrorist.
She also ordered that Konduga be detained at the pleasure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in the custody of the SSS. Speaking to newsmen after his sentencing, Konduga called on the Federal Government to release members of the sect who are currently in detention as solution for peace, adding that such a move will contribute greatly in curbing the incessant violent attacks by members of the sect.
The convict who spoke through an interpreter also denied statements credited to his father to the effect that he was insane. He refused to disparage his father over the issue but that as an adult he knows he is not insane and had never been taken to a mental institution since his birth.
â€” Nnamdi Felix/Abuja