LAGOS – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has invited 83-year-old brave Muslim imam for a handshake and a national honor to commend his role in sheltering and protecting Christians during attacks on June 23 in Nghar Yelwa village, central Nigeria.
The decision was taken after reports revealed how imam Abdullahi Abubakar saved about 300 persons when suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded about 15 communities in Barkin Ladi LGA, killing scores, The Punch newspaper reported.
“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.
Buhari instructed Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State to find the Imam.
Governor Lalong revealed the President’s plan for Imam 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 President has told me to bring to him Imam Abdullahi Abubakar for a handshake, which will be followed by a national honor,” Lalong said.
“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 also in Nigeria in general.
“He did not only save 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 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.”
Nigeria, is the 3rd most populous country in the Muslim World with nearly 200 million people, according to the current statistical reports. Islam represents the plurality religion in this West African country by 47.3%, while the rest percentage is shared between Christianity and over ten other faiths.