Maiduguri — "We demand the strict enforcement of Sharia legal system in the Muslim-dominated states in the North as part of conditions for dialogue with the government," Boko Haram, the deadly Islamic sect, declared on Monday.
If its demand is met, that would mean the enforcement of Sharia law in about 12 Northern states.
The 12 states re-adopted Sharia in 1999, but Boko Haram - Hausa for 'Western education is sin' - believes the law is cosmetic and not adhered to.
Its statement titled "Conditions for dialogue with President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Kashim Shettima," written by hand in Hausa, was released in Maiduguri where the sect has concentrated its attacks.
The statement was in response to overtures for talks with the militants by Shettima, the new Governor of Borno State, with the backing of Jonathan.
Jonathan last week told reporters in New York that he would support attempts to talk to the Islamic militants in the predominantly Muslim North to end months of deadly attacks.
The group demanded the prosecution, under the Islamic Sharia law, of some politicians, traditional rulers, and security forces accused of responsibility for the extra-judicial killing of sect members in the 2009 uprising.
"If the government meets these conditions we will agree to a ceasefire and enter into dialogue with them," said the statement, signed by one Usman Al-Zawahiri claiming to be Boko Haram Spokesman.