- Osinbajo says the ruling administration has been doing this in phases, to restore areas devastated by crisis.
- Abdullahi saved Christians from being killed by hiding them in his Mosque.
The Vice President, Professor 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
According to reports, the people were fleeing from attacks by suspected bandits
Osinbajo gave the commendation when he received the cleric, who is the Village Head, Damafulul Mangai, and other community leaders and a delegation which included diplomats from the US, UK and the European Union at the Presidential Villa.
It was reported that Abubakar from the Hausa tribe 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, left scores of people killed by suspected bandits.
According to reports, Abubakar 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 also indicated that Abubakar was adamant, on defending the victims and 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.
Speaking on the act he described as heroic, Osinbajo 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.
He, therefore, urged politicians to avoid using religion and tribal sentiment to create division among people and noted 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.”
The Vice President urged all Nigerians despite tribe and religion to eschew bitterness and embrace peace and harmonious living.
While promising that the federal government would look at further ways to improve the communities in Barkin Ladi, and others affected by ethnic/religious crisis,Osinbajo pointed that the ruling administration has been doing this in phases, to restore areas devastated by crisis.
Abubakar, as well as his deputy, Abdullahi, were recently honoured by the US Embassy in Nigeria, for the heroic deeds.
Abubakar, who spoke through an interpreter, thanked the Vice President for the commendation noting that he did not want it publicised, but however, said that he felt that God chose him to do what he did to be used as an example.
“I pleaded with the attackers in the mud and rain not to harm my guests. By God’s grace, no one was hurt. God created mankind differently but he wants us to live together in peace and harmony, and not harm each other. Such incident (the attack) is rare in my community, but I hope such does not happen in my village again,” he said.