Some 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria’s NE town of Chibok in 2014. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

A man involved in the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, north-eastern Nigeria in 2014 has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Haruna Yahaya, 35, is the first member of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram to be sentenced for playing a part in the mass abduction, the BBC reports.

The former trader admitted his involvement but said he had acted under duress. But judges at a military court in Kainji, western Nigeria, dismissed his excuse.

They were also unmoved by his pleas for leniency on the grounds of his disability, which has left him with a paralysed arm and deformed leg, BBC News’ Ishaq Khalid reported.

Yahaya, who is from Potiskum, in Yobe state, northeast Nigeria, was captured by members of the Civilian Joint Taskforce in 2015.

This week, some 700 suspected Boko Haram militants are due to appear before the judges in Kainji, according to sources at the court. Overall more than 1,000 suspected members of the group are being tried.

Yesterday (12 February), 20 other militants were found guilty of crimes associated with Boko Haram, while two were discharged for lack of evidence.