A faction of Boko Haram yesterday took exception to President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement during his recent state visit to Yobe and Borno States that members of the sect were “ghosts.”In a statement signed by Sheikh Muhammad Abdul’aziz, and distributed to journalists in Maiduguri, the sect said:
“As regards the statement by Mr. President that we are ghosts, let me say with due respect that we are not ghosts; we have sat with officials of the Borno State Government and a delegation of Northern State Governors’ Forum on Peace and Reconciliation, headed by Air Vice Marshall Mukhtar Muhammad (rtd.).”
On the purported video clip on YouTube credited to its leader – Abubakar Shekau – he dissociated the group from the ceasefire and dialogue offer, Abdul’aziz said: “About a week ago, somebody who claimed to be leader of Jama’atul Ahlul Sunnah Lid-Da’waati Wal Jihad, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, appeared on You Tube and disclaimed peace process going on between the government of Borno State and the group. The purported Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, went further to say that he does not know Sheikh Mohammed Ibn Abdul’aziz. Let me state that the man who appeared on the said YouTube is not Sheikh Abubakar Shekau. The voice is not his and sheikh has never hidden his face.
“Sheikh’s voice is heavily Kanuri accented. The man (in the video) is an impostor deliberately brought to the frontline by those opposed to the peace process.
Abdul’aziz then called on the Governor Shettima of Borno State to disregard the propaganda aimed at scuttling the peace process even as he reiterated the sect’s determination to engage in dialogue as the forward “because our people are suffering” and added that they will explore the option “to its logical conclusion.”