The Chief Imam of Nghar Village in Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State, Abdullahi Abubakar, who saved the lives of hundreds of Christians during an attack by suspected armed herdsmen in the area in 2018, has been honoured by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Imam Abubakar had, on June 24, 2018, saved over 200 people by providing shelter for them in his house when the suspected herdsmen invaded 15 communities in Barkin Ladi, killing over 200 people and destroying properties worth millions of naira.
While conferring the honour on Imam Abubakar at the CAN’s Sapphire Day Award of Excellence and Dinner organized to mark the 45th Anniversary of the association on Saturday, CAN President, Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, said the Imam was recognised for his extraordinary, courage and putting his faith into action in saving people who are not adherents of his religion.
While speaking at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was the special guest of honour, urged Christians and other Nigerian leaders to follow Imam Abubakar’s example and be advocates of freedom of worship, justice and the rule of law.
“In pursuit of a more united and peaceful society, Christian groups and leaders of faith in Nigeria must preach fairness and equity at all times and be relentless advocates of freedom of worship, justice and the rule of law,” Osinbajo said.
He added that “fairness, equity and respect for the rights of others are fundamental to peace and security, hence Christian leaders at all levels must strive to promote those virtues despite the challenges.”
“We must continue to let the important truth be known that Christ did not come to establish a religion or to condemn men but to show all men that his own righteousness, not our righteousness or performance, is the qualification for eternal life.
“I am aware of CAN‘s collaboration with the leadership of the Islamic and other faiths, to reconcile where there are conflicts, to pacify where there has been offence, and to reprimand where there have been misdeeds.
“I must commend the leadership of CAN on this collaboration and pray it continues in the same spirit,” he said.
The United States Government, had, in July 2019, also honoured the 83-year-old Muslim cleric along with four religious leaders from Sudan, Iraq, Brazil and Cyprus, with the 2019 International Religious Freedom Award, which is given to advocates of religious freedom, for their courage and bravery.
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