Details of how prominent Islamic scholar and leader of the Salafis movement in Nigeria Sheikh Muhammad Auwal Adam Albani, his wife and his 18-year-old son were murdered on Saturday night in Zaria, Kaduna State, have emerged.
According to the relatives of the deceased who spoke with LEADERSHIP yesterday, Sheik Albani, who was shot about 1km away from his residence along Gaskiya Layout in Zaria, had struggled with the
gunmen to protect his life and that of his wife, but was overpowered by the gunmen who had laid an ambush for them.
The spokesman of the Salafis Movement, Dr Abdulfaii Abdulganiyyi, said while speaking to LEADERSHIP that the sheikh was returning home from his school in Tudun Wada where he had delivered his usual evening lecture.
Abdulganiyyi narrated how the unfortunate incident happened: “It happened yesterday after he rounded off the evening lecture at his school in Tudun-Wada. He was driving home; he had always refused protection by his students who had offered several times to provide him protection.
“So, he was just about 1km to his house when the assailants laid an ambush for his vehicle; they blocked his way and started shooting at him.
“Some of the gunmen, who were driving vehicles and some motorcycles, first shot at his wife and later fired several gunshots at him and all the people that were inside his car.
“The gunshots killed his wife instantly and his 18-year-old son while Albani died on the way to the hospital. Three of his children and one of his students who were in the same car received bullet wounds and are currently hospitalised.”
According to him, the prominent preacher who used to preach from 8am to 10am and repeat it at 4:30 to 6pm in his school in Gaskiya Layout, with a fresh sermon from 8pm to 10pm, was vocal against Boko Haram.
“He has been preaching against the Boko Haram sect. Everybody knows him with that. Even in his afternoon lectures he admonished members of the Boko Haram group to stop the killings and that what they were doing is not Islamic.
“Not only the Boko Haram group, he has also preached against the government. He did that sometime in 2011, and the government detained him on the charge that he was preaching against them.
Also speaking to LEADERSHIP, the father of the late Islamic scholar, Mallam Awwal Albani, said he was shocked at the news of the assassination of his son. He added that he had left everything to the Almighty Allah.
Close to tears, he muttered as he walked away, “Kullun Nafsin Za’ikatul Maut”, meaning “From Allah we came and unto him we will return”.
Malam Mohammed Usman, a close relative of the deceased, spoke further on the incident which he said occurred around 10:15pm.
Usman said a group of people riding on a motorcycle and others in a Volkswagen Golf car shot at Albani, his wife and his son.
He added that the deceased was later rushed to Saint Luke’s Hospital in Wusasa, Zaria, along with two of his children. According to him, two of his members were in a separate car and narrowly escaped the sporadic shooting by the assassins.
Malam Musa Sahabi who was with the deceased told LEADERSHIP that he was saddened by the news of the cleric’s death.
“The death of Mallam is a great loss to all Muslims; he has contributed immensely towards propagations of Islam,” he said.
Sahabi, who was also overseeing Markazus Salaffiya along Maje Road where Sheik Albani used to preach to his followers on weekends, said the deceased spent all his life preaching as well as inculcating moral values.
Meanwhile, the remains of the scholar, his wife and son were laid to rest at Gambo cemetery in Zaria amidst tears and wailing from friends and thousands of sympathisers who gathered to pay their last respects to the renowned clergyman.
The Imam who led prayers, Malam Musa Minshawi, called on Muslim sects not to take laws into their hands but rather take death as an act of God, while charging them to live in peace with one another.
Former governor of Kaduna State Sen. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Sheik Tukur Almanar, Sheik Mohammad Ibn Usman from Kano and Sheik Aminu Dourawa also from Kano were among the dignitaries that witnessed the burial.
We’ll arrest Sheikh Albani’s killers – Police
The Kaduna State police command yesterday said it had commenced an intensive manhunt for the murderers of Sheikh Muhammad Albani, his wife and child. The police public relations officer (PPRO), DSP Aminu Law, disclosed this to journalists in Kaduna yesterday, saying that the Kaduna State police commissioner, Mr Olufemi Adenaike, has directed all area commanders and divisional police officers to work in collaboration with other security agencies to ensure that the killers were apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.
Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna has expressed shock and deep sadness over the gruesome killing of Islamic scholar Sheikh Muhammad Auwal Adam Albani and some of his family members in Zaria on Saturday night.
Albanis death shocking-JNI
In their reaction, the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI) described as very shocking the news of the assassination of Sheikh Muhammad Awwal Adam, popularly known as Albanin Zariya and two of his family members (his wife and son).
JNI in a statement by its scribe, Dr, Khalid Abubakar Aliyu said, “for the murderers, the values for which he lived will still continue to flourish and let the assassins stop their death when it comes and continue to live till eternity, if they can.”
Albani’s murder despicable, barbaric – Tambuwal
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has condemned the brutal assassination of Albani and two members of his family, describing it as dastardly, despicable and barbaric.
In a statement issued yesterday by his special adviser on media and public affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said the news of the killing came to him as a shock.
He described the deceased as a fearless scholar who went about his activities without fear or favour.
Albani’s assassination: Islamic cleric cautions against reprisal attack
Meanwhile, an Islamic cleric, Malam Musa Mai-Shawi, has cautioned people against reprisal attack, following the assassination of Sheik Albani.
Speaking in Zaria during late Albani’s funeral prayer, Mai-Shawi said the plea became necessary in view of the tension caused by the sudden death of the popular cleric.
Mai-Shawi, who is the chief Imam of “Darul Hadith”, a school established by the deceased, said although the death of Albani was painful, everything should be left to God.
“There are no two ways about it, everybody is aggrieved about this sad incidence. However, I urge you to take heart and leave everything to God.
“God Almighty be my witness and you people around here be my witnesses, that I have conveyed the message. Nobody should by any means, attack anyone in the name of revenge.”
“Malam is already dead and no action will bring him back. God knows who are behind his brutal killing and He knows how to deal with them,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the funeral prayer was led by Malam Musa Maikwano-Gusau, while final interment took place at Dambo graveyard, Jos road, in Zaria.
Late Sheik Albani, his wife and a child,were killed by unknown gunmen on Saturday night.