Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar, the Imam of Ngar village, Gashish District in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area who saved about 300 Christians from rampaging herdsmen in Plateau last month is to be awarded “a handshake and national honor” soon.
President Mohammed Buhari gave the directive to Plateau state Governor Simon Lalong, instructing him to bring the 83-year-old to Abuja for the award.
The governor who revealed this on Monday at the opening ceremony of a three-day peace and security conference tagged, “The resurgence of violence in Plateau state: Towards a multi-stakeholder partnership for peace and security.”
Lalong stated that the President made the decision following reports of the cleric’s rescue of the Christians from the suspected herdsmen after they invaded their community, which was one of about 15 communities invaded in the area on June 24, killing over 200 people.
According to Lalong, “The President has told me to bring Imam Abdullahi Abubakar for a handshake which will be followed by a national honor. I was also preparing what to do for this man. Although he is already in his old age, God knows why he did it at that age for us to study and also know how to maintain peace, not only in Plateau state but in Nigeria in general.
“What he did not only saved the people of Barkin Ladi LGA, not only in Plateau state but I think the whole of this country because 300 lives is not a small number. So, Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar, only God will reward you for what you have done.
“We are waiting for that process of meeting the President for a handshake and national honor. Having a handshake with Mr. President at the age of 83, I think the man will be happy, even if he is going to his grave, that something has happened in his life.”
Also extolling the virtues of the Imam was David Young, the Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge D’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Nigeria. Young said the killing of innocent people was unacceptable whether in Plateau, Zamfara, Benue, Borno, Delta or Taraba, but described the gesture of the Imam as heroic.
The foreign diplomat urged law enforcement agents to “arrest and prosecute criminal actors that do evil,” while hammering on the importance of bringing the perpetuators to book, as bringing a criminal action to justice remained the first step to stop violence.
By Samuel Mayowa