One purported senior Boko Haram member, Sheik Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, has reportedly sent a letter requesting dialogue with the Federal Government, Reuters news agency reported.
According to the report, the letter, signed by the supposed member, was sent out on Monday, a day after extremists infiltrated a Kaduna cantonment and bombed the St Andrews Protest Church, killing at least 11 people and wounding 30 others.
Reuters reported that the letter was delivered to the national head of the union of journalists, Aba Kakami.
Abdulazeez is known by local authorities to be a member of the sect, but still considered a moderate. He reportedly first contacted press people earlier in November, laying out the groundwork for possible peace talks via teleconference. Former head of state Muhammadu Buhari was nominated to mediate the talks, but declined the offer.
President Goodluck Jonathan, during a Presidential Media Chat on November 18, had dismissed all talk of dialogue with the sect, stating that the Federal Government will not negotiate with a “faceless” Boko Haram.
In this recent letter, Abdulazeez claimed to be speaking on behalf of the sect’s spiritual leader, Abubakar Shekau, but it is not clear if the pair are in unison.
The letter reads: “We are by this letter of invitation to our respected elders proving to government that we are not joking with the government, but we are awaiting the response of those concerned.”
The handover of the letter came three days after Nigeria’s army offered a 290 million naira (1.1 million pounds) bounty for information leading to the capture of 19 leading members of the sect.