Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described the 83-year-old Muslim Cleric, Imam Abdullahi Abubakar, who saved the lives of hundreds of persons fleeing from attacks by suspected bandits in Yelwan Gindi Akwati, Swei and Nghar villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau as a hero.
The people were fleeing from attacks by suspected bandits.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the vice president gave the commendation when he received the cleric at the Presidential Villa.
The vice president received Abubakar; the Village Head, Damafulul Mangai, and other community leaders and a delegation which included diplomats from the US, UK and the European Union.
Abubakar, who is Hausa and the Chief Imam of a mosque in Yelwan Gindi Akwati village, in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, alongside his assistant Umar Abdullahi, who is Fulani, saved the lives of over 200 persons when suspected bandits attacked communities in the LGA.
The reported attack took place on June 23, 2018, on Yelwan Gindi Akwati, Swei and Nghar villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, where scores of persons were killed by suspected bandits.
Abubakar reportedly hid and rescued over 200 persons who fled from nearby communities, inside the mosque and in his personal house, until the attackers left.
Many of those the Muslim Cleric provided shelter for were from the Berom ethnic group which are predominantly Christians.
Reports indicated that Abubakar, on defending “my guests”, insisted that the attackers would have to kill him if they refused his pleas not to attack those he was hiding.
At a point, the Imam was said to be on his knees and then rolling o the floor to appease the attackers.
Describing Abubakar’s act as heroic, the Vice President said that the Imam had done so much more to promote peace by his singular acts than most politicians could do and so deserves all the commendation and high honour.
Osinbajo urged politicians to avoid using religion and tribal sentiment to create division among people, noting that Abubakar had demonstrated to leaders that the way to resolve whatever conflict was not by violence, but a demonstration of love.
“I commend you for your wonderful act.
“Imam Abubakar has demonstrated one of the most courageous acts any man can possibly do, by offering his own life, for those who are not people of his own tribe.
“I have heard a lot of stories in our country, but this is one of the most compelling stories.
“The love an individual can show for others not from their own tribe or religion, especially in a society like ours where tribe and religion often come to play.”