Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Imam Abubakar Abdullahi on the International Religious Freedom Award conferred on him by the United State Department of State.
This is even as he has affirmed the commitment of his administration to freedom of religion and worship for all Nigerians, as guaranteed by the Constitution, stressing that under no circumstance will any religion or faith be imposed on the nation.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said the award was well-deserved, saying it was an honour by no less a credible and formidable government agency of the United States.
According to him, the recognition bestowed on the 83-year-old Muslim cleric is towering and befitting for the patriot who risked his own life and that of his family on June 23, 2018, to save the lives of hundreds of Christians, fleeing from attacks by suspected bandits in Yelwan Gidin Akwati, Swei and Nghar villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.
According to him, “like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said, on May 30, 2019, at the State House, Abuja when he received the imam, the village head, Damafulul Mangai, community leaders and a delegation from the US, UK and European Union, the cleric ‘has done so much to promote peace by his singular act than most politicians could do and deserve all the commendation and high honour.’”
President Buhari said, he was elated that a Nigerian national had written his name in gold in the international arena and his deeds would resonate wherever and whenever there are discussions on religious tolerance, cordiality between Christians and Muslims in the country and around the world.
The President recommended the sterling virtues of Imam Abdullahi to all clerics, in particular, and Nigerians in general.