Boko Haram Member
A member of Boko Haram appears in a YouTube video

The Islamist terrorist sect Boko Haram has renewed its offer to start peace negotiations with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan.

An unnamed member of the group called AIT television station claiming to be a spokesman for Boko Haram and threatening to strike the cities of Abuja and Lagos if the president does not accept dialogue.

"We want Jonathan one on one," he said. "No police, no nothing. And if he doesn't address us in the next 78 hours, we are going to strike, and this time around, we are coming to Abuja and Lagos. We are not hiding it; we are going to see to it."

It was impossible to verify the real identity of the caller. But members of the Nigerian government have recently suggested that the cabinet would be open to the idea of talking.

"I want to use this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians, especially members of Boko Haram to embrace peace," Nigerian vice president Namadi Sambo told reporters while opening a new school in the Kaduna State, according to the Christian Science Monitor. "Let them come and sit down and dialogue with the Federal Government so that peace can reign in our country."

Last week, the group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings of three newspapers, in which at least eight people were killed in Abuja and Kaduna.
They later released an 18-minute video on YouTube in which they threatens to carry out another attack on the media.

The radical Islamist sect, who wants to impose Sharia law across Nigeria, which is currently split between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, called on Jonathan to release its members in jail.

"I am going to summarise what we want," the caller said. "Firstly, release some people [the president] arrested. Secondly, if Jonathan wants to cooperate with us, he must follow what the letter we sent [...] He knows what we want [...] the application of sharia Islamic law [in the north]."

The Presidency refused to comment on the Boko Haram offer, which has received mixed reactions.

Christian pastors have expressed harsh criticism and urged Jonathan to show courage.

"I want to urge Mr President to pray more that God should expose those sponsoring Boko Haram in the county," Pastor Makinde from the Methodist Church Nigeria, said.

The Nigerian ministry of interior Abba Moro called on Nigerians to stand up against terrorism in the country, warning that "the failure of leadership in any part of the world is also the failure of the society".

Since it stepped up its deadly operations in 2009, Boko Haram is reportedly responsible for the deaths of at least 1,000 people.

Attacks attributed to the sect have intensified over the past week.

In addition to the newspapers offices, the group has claimed responsibility for killing four people at a church service in the flashpoint city of Maiduguri. A further 15 worshippers were killed at another Christian service in a university theatre in the city of Kano.