The State Security Service (SSS) yesterday paraded seven Boko Haram members who assassinated a popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Adam Albani, his wife and son on February 1, at Gwagwaje area of Zaria, Kaduna State.
The cleric, was murdered for allegedly threatening to expose the sectâ€™s members to security agencies.
The sect members that were arrested include, Yakub Abdullahi (aka Alhaji Bala or Alhaji Kano Yakub Bulunkutu), Ibrahim Shuaibu (aka Kawal Abu Amar), Bilyamin Usman, Sahabi Ismail, Umar Farouk, Yasir Salihu and Musa Abubakar.
The SSS Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, who briefed newsmen in Abuja, explained that Albani was killed for his pro-western posture and his preaching which were contrary to the Boko Haram ideology.
According to her, the hatred for Albani culminated in a meeting by members of the sect under the leadership of Abdullahi at Hayin Danmani in Rigasa area of Kaduna State, where Boko Haramâ€™s decision-making organ, the Shura council, ordered the killing of the Islamic cleric.
Ogar stated that the sect members had attempted to kill Albani on January 23, 2014, but the plot failed as he was said to have travelled.
She said he was consequently placed on surveillance and was tracked to Markaz Salafiya Centre by Boko Haram members and killed on February 1 where they waited for him till the end of his sermon, trailed and eventually killed him and his family, while other occupants of the vehicle sustained varying degrees of injuries.
Ogar said: â€œInvestigation and confessions by the suspects revealed that Albaniâ€™s pro-western posture and his preaching are contrary to the Boko Haram ideology; it was this hatred that culminated in a meeting by members of the sect under the leadership of Yakub Abdullahi at Danmani in Rigasa area of Kaduna, where Abdullahi declared that the Shura Council (the highest decision-making body), had ordered the killing of Albani.â€
The SSS spokesperson said Abdullahi, 42, was the Kaduna/Niger States sub-regional commander of the sect, adding that he was actively involved in the 2009 insurrection in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Ogar stated that Abdullahi later fled to Kouseri town in Cameroun, from where he relocated to Kano State to organise fleeing members of the sect and coordinated robbery attacks by the sect members.
â€œHe is the arrowhead of Sheik Albaniâ€™s killing, as he not only directed the assassination plot, but procured the two AK47 rifles used,â€ she noted.
The SSS stated that investigation was ongoing to apprehend other sect members operating in Kaduna/Niger axis and into the source of their weapons, adding that the suspects in custody would soon be charged to court.
Salihu, 35, confessed to being a member of the violent sect, and confessed to taking part in the surveillance on Albani, before he was murdered.
The ABU graduate, who works as the Head of Records and Billing department, Horizons Medical Centre, Wuse zone 6, Abuja, said he joined the sect in 2009 when he attended a sermon by the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in Maiduguri.
He said: â€œI can say I am a member of the group. I became a member (of Boko Haram) in 2009 when Mohammed Yusuf came to preach in Zaria and I was impressed by what he said. He preached on some topics that in various subjects like biology, geography which are against God, like the theory of evolution that are against the existence of God.â€
Usman, 22, who admitted to emptying 30 rounds of ammunition into Albani and his wife, while on a motorcycle, added that he was trained on how to shoot by one Yusuf Abubakar, in a room in Kano.