Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has concluded plans to give a national award to an 83-year-old Muslim cleric who amazed multitudes when he led over 300 Christians to safety in a mosque, and others to his own home, during a massive massacre that took place in the country in June.
Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar, an imam from the village of Nghar in Plateau State, is to receive national honor for the action that left his own life on the line to protect people from other communities.
The people, mainly Christians, were said to be fleeingFulani herdsmen from a neighbouring village in the Barkin Ladi LGA who wanted to kill them.
“I hid the women in my personal house and after that, I took the men into the mosque and hid them there,” Imam Abubakar said, according to media sources in Nigeria.
However, the assailants caught up with the Imam, forcefully demanding that he release those who were Christians in the mosque.
The Muslim cleric deceived them that all those in the mosque were Muslims, and upon hearing this, the attackers left him and continued with their killing elsewhere.
“It was only God who knows why he (Imam) did it at that age, it is now for us to study what he did and to also see how we would do to maintain peace,” Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong said.
“Let’s us use his example to maintain peace not only in Plateau, but in Nigeria, because what he did that time not only saved the people of Barikin Ladi, not only of Plateau state but the whole of this country.” he continued.
“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 honour,” Lalong added.
The Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge de Affaires, US Embassy in Nigeria, David Young, extolled the virtues of the Imam, describing his action as heroic.
“This man is a challenge to all of us,” he said.
David Young called on the law enforcement agents to “arrest and prosecute criminal actors that do evil,” adding that it was absolutely essential that those arrested be made to properly face charges in court.
Some Christian leaders, such as Bosun Emmanuel, the secretary of National Christian Elders Forum, have warned that Christians, who make up close to half of Nigeria’s population, could be wiped out by 2043 if the widespread massacres continue.
“Realistically speaking, Christianity is on the brink of extinction in Nigeria. The ascendancy of Sharia ideology in Nigeria rings the death toll for the Nigerian Church,” Emmanuel said.
By UG Christian News Correspondent.