An 83 – year – old Imam , Abdullahi Abubakar , who hid 200 villagers during attacks on Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State was on Thursday praised for his courageous act .
Abubakar got the commendation from Vice -President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa , Abuja .
The VP called him a hero and an example of one who could put their own life at risk to save others.
Recall that on June 23 , 2018 , bandits attacked communities in Barkin Ladi .
Over 200 of them were said to have found refuge in a mosque in Yelwan Gindi Akwati village , Gashish District, where Abubakar is the Chief Imam .
He had insisted the villagers were his “ guests ” and prevented the bandits from killing them.
The cleric visited the Villa on Thursday in company with several community leaders and diplomats from the US, UK and the European Union .
The VP said , “I commend you for your wonderful act .
Imam Abubakar has demonstrated one of the most courageous acts any man can possibly do by risking his life for those who are not people of his own tribe . ”
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President , Mr Laolu Akande, quoted Osinbajo as saying that Nigeria would be a lot better if people would truly love one another and not on the basis of tribe , religion or ethnicity.
“ When people have been wronged , it is always easier for people to accept that revenge or vengeance is the right approach .
But as you know , vengeance breeds bitterness and hatred and doesn ’ t solve the problems created, but causes more deaths and harm. ”
The Imam, in his remarks , said he was not looking for publicity when he rescued the villagers , but felt that God only used him to save their lives .
The cleric , who spoke through an interpreter , added , “ I pleaded with the attackers not to harm my guests .
By God ’ s grace, no one was hurt. Such an incident (the attack ) is rare in my community, but I hope such does not happen again . ”
Those on the visit with Abubakar were the US Ambassador to Nigeria , Stuart Symington ; Deputy Chief of Mission , US Embassy in Nigeria , David Young; an embassy official, Kathleen Fitzgibbon ; and the German Ambassador to Nigeria , Bernhard Schlagheck .