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Boko Haram Convict Kabiru Sokoto Seeks Presidential Pardon

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SAN FRANCISCO, May 28, (THEWILL) â€' Boko Haram convict, Kabiru Umar, (aka Kabiru Sokoto), who is currently serving a life jail term for masterminding the 2011 Christmas bombing of St Theresa's Catholic Church , Madalla, Niger State, has asked for a presidential pardon.

Umar, who was jailed for life after being found guilty of a two-count terrorism charge by a Federal High Court in Abuja in December last year, promised to help the Federal Government in ending the five-year-old Boko Haram insurgency if pardoned by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The convict made the request in a letter sent to President Jonathan by his counsel, Sheriff Okoh, saying he was innocent of the offences for which he was convicted.

Umar had earlier faulted the process leading to his conviction at the Abuja High Court and has appealed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, claiming he was wrongly convicted and urged the appellate court to set the High Court judgement aside.

According to the letter seen by THEWILL, he 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, describing the decision as a miscarriage of justice.

However, in his plea for presidential pardon, Umar said in his letter to President Jonathan: '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 circumstance 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 haveabsolute 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 open court for the corporate acts of Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation, 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 ground norm serve the collective interest of our beloved nation towards peace and harmony.'