Nigeria Court Gives Man Life Sentence for Abuja Car Bombs

A Nigerian court convicted Edmund Ebiware today on three counts of treason and terrorism and sentenced him to life in prison for twin car bombings on Oct. 1, 2010, in Abuja that killed 12 people.

Ebiware was found guilty of involvement in the attack close to a venue in the capital where President Goodluck Jonathan was marking the country’s 50 years of independence. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, the main armed group that was fighting in the southern oil region, claimed responsibility.

Judge Gabriel Kolawole ruled that “the accused person is adjudged guilty as charged,” for being aware a bombing was being planned without reporting to the authorities as required by Nigerian law.

Attacks by MEND and other armed groups cut oil output in Africa’s top producer by more than 28 percent from 2006 to 2009. Nigeria’s production recovered after thousands of fighters accepted an amnesty in 2009 and disarmed, while MEND said its demands were not addressed. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA run joint ventures with state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. that pump most of the country’s oil.

Henry Okah, said to be the leader of MEND, was convicted by a South African court on Jan. 21 on 13 counts of terrorism in relation to the Abuja bombings, Phindi Louw, a spokeswoman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said. He will be sentenced on Jan. 31.

Ebiware, who was charged with three others, including Charles Okah, the brother of alleged militant leader, asked to be tried separately from the others. The trial of the others continues.

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