Abuja: After months of confrontation with hardline Islamist militant group Boko Haram, the Nigerian government has opened "back-channel" talks with the outfit to end insurgency and spiralling violence that has killed hundreds in the oil-rich nation.
Indicating that the informal talks were on, Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said that the dialogue was through "backroom channels", without elaborating.
The group`s main faction earlier this week ruled out peace talks.
Boko Haram, which wants to create an Islamic state, is accused of killing hundreds of people and targeting churches and other targets.
"The form of the dialogue is that backroom channels are being used to reach across with the sole objective of understanding what exactly the grievances of these persons are, what exactly can be done to resolve the crises," the spokesman said.
"It is in the overall best interest of ensuring peace and stability in Nigeria and ensuring the security of lives and property," he said.
Boko Haram says it wants to install an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria and commenced campaign of violence to accomplish their objective.
Nigeria is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian and animist south.