Friday, May 31, 2019 4:35 am
An 83-year-old Muslim cleric, Imam Abdullahi Abubakar has narrated a gallant act of how he hid over 200 people including Christians in a mosque in order to protect them from bandits attack at great risk to his own life. The incident happened last year when the bandits attacked Yelwan Gindi Akwati, Swei and Nghar villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Details of the heroic act were disclosed Thursday during a visit by the cleric to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his office. Impressed by the narratives, Osinbajo commended the hero and urged other people to emulate him. Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
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.
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.
“I have heard a lot of stories in our country, but this is one of the most compelling stories.
The Vice President urged all Nigerians despite tribe and religion to eschew bitterness and embrace peace and harmonious living.
“It is far easier for people to create religious tensions between Christians or Muslims through their acts or words.
Before the attacks, the community had reportedly lived in peace.
“When people have been wronged, it is always easier for people to accept that revenge or vengeance is the right approach.
The Vice President said it was wrong for anyone to kill in the name of religion, noting that Abubakar’s incredible act of courage in saving others passed a message to both Christians, Muslims and others of different tribes and religion.
He said that Abubakar sent a message to Muslims and Christians alike and other ethnic groups that their own lives were as valuable as his own life.
“Like President Muhammadu Buhari said, anyone who says “Allah Akbar”, and then goes to kill someone either does not know his faith or is insane. It is the same in the Christian faith.
“President Buhari also said during his meeting with the Catholic Bishops that all through his life as a public servant, he believes that people should be judged by their character and how they behave, and that everyone must have a right to worship God the way they chose.”
The Vice President further said the Federal Government would look at further ways to improve the communities in Barkin Ladi, and others affected by ethnic/religious crisis.
“We will look at how the Plateau State government and the Federal Government can help in the rehabilitation process.
Abubakar, as well as his deputy, Abdullahi, were recently honoured by the US Embassy in Nigeria, for the heroic deeds.
Osinbajo said that Abubakar should be celebrated everywhere in the world,, adding that he was happy that the US Ambassador had honoured him with an award.
“I pleaded with the attackers in the mud and rain not to harm my guests.
The visit of the delegation at the instance of the U.S. deputy Chief of Mission, comprised of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington; Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, David Young.