(illustrative) al Qaeda demonstration
(illustrative) al Qaeda demonstrationAFP/File

A Nigerian national was sentenced Wednesday by the New York Federal District Court to 22 years in prison for helping Al Qaeda.

Lawal Babafemi, 35, received his sentence after being convicted of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

According to prosecutors, Babafemi met with Al Qaeda representatives in Yemen twice in 2010 and 2011, working on, among other projects, Al Qaeda'a English-language magazine Inspire, which the group uses to recruit new members.

He also recorded several rap songs for Al Qaeda, used for propaganda and recruitment, prosecutors said. He was also paid $9,000 to recruit new volunteers, mostly from Nigeria.

Babafemi told the court before sentencing that he was “extremely sorry” for his actions, denouncing Al Qaeda and terrorism in general, but Judge John Gleeson said that it was “hard to conjure a more serious offense.”

Still, Gleeson said, Babefemi deserved some credit for his denunciation of terrorism, perhaps leading him to sentencing the offender to 22 years in jail instead of the 30 years prosecutors had sought.