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Convicted Boko Haram member, Kabiru Umar (aka Kabiru Sokoto), has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan for pardon, promising to assist the government in its efforts to end the activities of the now outlawed sect.
Umar was convicted of a two-count charge on terrorism by a Federal High Court in Abuja on December 20 last year and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The court found him guilty of facilitating the commission of terrorism acts and concealing information from security agencies on the December 25, 2011 bombing of St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madala, Niger State.
In a letter to the president, written on his behalf by his lawyer, Sheriff Okoh, Umar said he was innocent of the offences for which he was convicted.
He also faulted the process leading to his conviction and has also appealed the high court judgment before the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The letter to the president reads: “Your Excellency Sir, an innocent man was convicted by the court on the date aforementioned.
“It is for this singular reason that we are applying to you for presidential pardon in the circumstances, pursuant to your exclusive legitimate constitutional powers as enshrined in your golden conscience and under Section 175(a) and (b) of the Constitution.
“Your Excellency Sir, we are applying for respite and pardon for the convicted felon Kabiru Umar (alias Kabiru Sokoto) because we have absolute faith in your compassion and highest sense of fairness, equity and justice first as a God-fearing man and next, as the leader of the most compassionate nation on earth.
“Had Kabiru Sokoto been sentenced in an open court for the corporate acts of Boko Haram as a terrorist organsiation, we would not have spared a thought to make this application, but he was sentenced alone for acts committed by other members of Boko Haram (an organisation that was only proscribed after his arrest, detention and the making of his no-case submission before the Federal High Court, Abuja division.)
“Your Excellency, we vow to reach out beyond the imagination and work with you in resolving the Boko Haram imbroglio, with the firm belief that no quarrel of brotherhood is eternal. We shall undertake this national task for the pleasure of God almighty, believing in His divine will for our peaceful, united, symbiotic and mutual coexistence as brothers and sisters under a fair and just leader.
“We most honestly and sincerely urge you to exercise your prerogative of mercy and grant pardon or respite in this matter in the interest of justice. The law permits you to right each and every wrong in Nigeria, including those of the courts and this is one good situation where such powers under Section 175 of our grund norm serve the collective interest of our beloved nation towards peace and harmony.”
In his appeal, he claimed that he was wrongly convicted and urged the appellate court to set his conviction aside.
Sokoto had raised five grounds of appeal, including arguing that the trial judge erred in law when he resolved all the doubts, with respect to improper investigation of the case, in favour of the prosecution, a decision he said occasioned a miscarriage of justice.