Abuja - The attack on Boko Haram leader, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, and his subsequent ouster by members of his own sect has raised prospects of successful negotiations for peace between the government and the outlawed sect.
It was reported on Friday Shekau was no longer the leader but replaced by Abu Zamira Mohammed.
Unconfirmed reports said Mohammed who has been in touch with the Presidential Task Force, raising hopes of another window for peace.
Abubakar Babasani has been appointed as spokesman to replace Zamirah.
Babasani said the leadership had been consulting all senior commanders to assure compliance with the ceasefire.
He said commanders as far afield as Niger, Chad, Sudan and Cameroon had agreed to the ceasefire and discuss the ceasefire with the Nigerian government.
The new leadership said they were guided by teachings of the Holy Qu’ ran which centred on peace and negotiation.
It has emerged Shekau, who assumed leadership of the sect in 2009, was no longer committed to these ideals, which reportedly angered Imam Liman Ibrahim, the spiritual leader of Boko Haram.
“He was harsh,” he was quoted as saying when asked about the reasons for the change of leadership.
“The beheadings, the killings, and the recent death of students … this is not the way of the Holy Qu’ran. We could tolerate it any longer.”
Although there is official confirmation that the new leader of the sect has been accepted by the Nigeria government but the recent extension of mandate the Presidential Committee on dialogue and peaceful resolution of Challenges in the North for another 60 days could be pointing to that direction.
Speaking shortly after receiving the letter of extension, the Chairman of the committee to fight terrorism, who is also the Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Turaki, said the members of the committee are undetached and would proceed with the discussion.
“We would proceed with the discussion we are having and by the special grace of God and through the prayers of peace loving Nigerians we would be able to conquered incidents like this.”
The ceasefire has been in place since late June.
This has been accompanied by an absence of suicide bombings, giving credibility to the new leadership and their intention of signing a peace accord.
However, the administration’s tardiness in responding to the group’s ceasefire announcement is believed to have precipitated three car bomb attacks in the northern city of Kano this week.
These left 15 people dead.
- CAJ News