In a land daily blighted by inter-tribal prejudices and religious bigotry, his story inspires.
On June 24, some communities in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State were under attack. Murderous herdsmen had laid siege to the villages, killing and maiming and razing homes. In their numbers, the surviving villagers, mostly women, took to their heels, with the assailants in hot pursuit.
When the fleeing persons got to Nghar Yelwa, the Imam of the community, 83-year-old Alhaji Abdulkadir Abubakar took them to his house. He later transferred the victims, numbering 262, to the mosque.
Soon after, the assailants came calling. They asked the Imam to release the Christians among his guests, but he stood his ground. He explained to the bandits that all the victims in the mosque were Muslims. The members of the murderous gang eventually left.
The Imam’s action was shocking to many, as the invading killers could have hacked him to death for trying to stop their campaign of carnage and death.
The Imam, who revealed that six of his children were Christians, said his action was inspired by the life of Prophet Mohammed who had a good relationship with people of other faiths.
Shortly after the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari instructed the Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, to bring the Imam to the Presidential Villa, Abuja for “a handshake.” He has also been penciled down for a national honour.
For that singular action, Alhaji Abubakar is The Sun’s Nigeria’s Hero of the Year.