The suspects are believed to be members of the Boko Haram.
The Department of State Security Services (SSS), said it had arrested seven people, including `a commander’ of Boko Haram insurgents, in connection with the assassination of a prominent Kaduna Islamic cleric, Auwal Albani, his wife, and son.
The spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, said this when she paraded the suspects before journalists at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja on Monday.
Mr. Albani, a Zaria-based Muslim cleric, was murdered on February 1 along with his wife and a son, while returning from a preaching programme.
The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, had released a video saying the group was responsible for the murder.
She named one of the arrested suspects as Yabuk Abdullahi (42), whom she described as the Kaduna/Niger state sub-regional commander of the Boko Haram, whom she said, masterminded the murder.
Ms. Ogar said Yasir Salihu (35), a graduate of English Literature from Bayero University, Kano, was also being held in connection with the murder.
The other suspects, according to Ms. Ogar, include Ibrahim Shuaibu, 22; Bilyaminu Usman, 22; Sahabi Ismail, 27; Umar Ismail, 35 and Musa Abubakar, 54.
She said the suspects killed the cleric because of his pro-western posture and anti-Boko Haram preaching.
“Investigation and confessions by the suspects revealed that his pro-western posture and preaching are contrary to the Boko Haram ideology.
“It was that hatred that culminated in a meeting by members of the sect under the leadership of Yakub Abdullahi at Hayin Danmani in Rigasa area of Kaduna.
“This is where Abdullahi declared that the Shura Council – the highest decision making body of Boko Haram – ordered the killing of Albani’’, she said.
Ms. Ogar said that there was an attempt on the cleric on January 24.
“He was subsequently placed on surveillance. On February 1, 2014, he was tracked down by members of the Boko Haram sect at Markaz Salafiya Centre.
“They waited for him till the end of the programme (preaching), trailed him and eventually murdered him, his wife and son’’, she said.
Ms. Ogar also said that two AK 47 rifles were used in killing the cleric, adding that the guns were brought from Katsina.
She said the third accused, Bilyaminu Usman, fired 30 rounds at the victims.
“Usman handled one of the AK 47 rifles with which he fired several shots at Albani, his wife and son.
“He confessed to have exhausted his magazine of 30 rounds of ammunition on his victims,” she said
Messrs Usman, Abdullahi, and Salihu, told journalists that they killed Mr. Albani, his wife and son.
“It is important to state that all Nigerians must join hands with security agencies to fight the scourge of terrorism as it has no defined boundaries of religion, tribe or political consideration’’, Ms. Ogar said.