President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State to bring 83-year-old Imam of Nghar village, Gashish District in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Abdullahi Abubakar, for “a hand shake and national honour.”
The President reportedly took the decision following reports that the imam saved about 300 persons on June 24 when suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded about 15 communities in Barkin Ladi LGA, killing scores.
The victims were said to be running for safety from a neighbouring village in the Barkin Ladi LGA when the imam allegedly hid them in his house and mosque.
“I hid the women in my personal house and after that, I took the men into the mosque and hid them there,” Imam Abubakar had stated.
However, the assailants reportedly caught up with the imam, and ordered him to release to them those he had hidden.
But the cleric reportedly refused, and the attackers left without further ado.
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.”
It was organised by the Plateau State Peace Building Agency.
Lalong said, “The President has told me to bring to him Imam Abdullahi Abubakar for a handshake, which will be followed by a national honour.
“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 honour.
“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.”
Lalong also expressed happiness that the gesture by Imam Abubakar happened during his tenure as governor of Plateau state.