A Nigerian court has sentenced the convicted participant of a 2011 Christmas Day bombing of a Catholic Church to life in prison.

At least 44 people died in the explosion.

The Federal High Court found Kabiru Sokoto guilty of terrorism and murder.

The state argued he had prior knowledge that the Boko Haram terrorist network planned to bomb St. Theresa's church, just outside Abuja, Nigeria's capital, but failed to notify law enforcement officers.

Sokoto, who is also known as Kabiru Umar, pleaded not guilty and argued that the state did not provide evidence linking him to the bombing.

A car bomb exploded outside the church as worshippers came out of an early-morning service on Christmas Day in the first attacks targeting Christians by extremists staging an uprising in the northeast.