President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State to bring the 83-year-old Imam of Nghar village, Gashish District in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar, to Abuja for “a handshake and national honour.”, Punch reports.
Lalong said the President took the decision following reports that the Imam saved about 300 persons on June 24 when suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded about 15 communities in the Barkin Ladi LGA, killing over 200 persons.
The people, mainly Christians, were said to be fleeing from a neighbouring village in the Barkin Ladi LGA when the Imam hid them in his house and mosque.
“I hid the women in my personal house and after that, I took the men into the mosque and hid them there,” Imam Abubakar had stated.
However, the assailants caught up with the Imam, forcefully demanding that he release those who were Christians in the mosque.
But the cleric said he deceived the bandits that all those in the mosque were Muslims and upon hearing this, the attackers left him and continued with their killing elsewhere.
Lalong unfolded the President’s plan to honour Abubakar in Jos on Monday during the opening ceremony of a three-day peace and security conference with the theme, “The resurgence of violence in Plateau State: Towards a multi-stakeholder partnership for peace and security.”
The event was organised by the Plateau State Peace Building Agency in collaboration with the United States Institute for Peace, Justice and Security and financed by the US Embassy in Nigeria.
“The President has told me to bring Imam Abdullahi Abubakar for a handshake which will be followed by a national honour. 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 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 honour. 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.”
The governor also expressed happiness that the Imam’s gesture happened during his tenure as governor of Plateau State.