A court in Nigeria has found a former state governor guilty of corruption in one of the first high-profile convictions in President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft war.
James Bala Ngilari has been sentenced to five years in jail for corruption for breaching due process for awarding a contract worth more than $500,000 (£408,000) for the procurement of 25 cars.
Ngilari, from the opposition party People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was governor of the north-eastern state of Adamawa from October 2014 to May 2015.
It was one of the three states affected over the last few years by the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.
Ngilari’s lawyer pleaded for leniency for his client saying he had made “invaluable contribution when he was the governor of the state during the trying moment of insurgency”, the AFP news agency reports.
Judge Nathan Musa said the sentence was a warning to other poilticians:
It is my hope that his conviction and sentence will serve as a deterrent to serving governors.”
Ngilari told reporters as he was taken to a prison van that the judgement was flawed and he would appeal, AFP says.
Ngilari first served as Adamawa’s deputy governor but took over as governor after two years following the impeachment of his predecessor over corruption allegations.