By Danladi Al-Hassan
The United States has honoured Abdullahi Abubakar, the 83-year-old Muslim cleric who hid over 200 people, including Christians, during an attack in Plateau state last year.
Abubakar and four others from Sudan, Brazil, Iraq and Cyprus were honoured with the first-ever International Religious Freedom Award (IRFA).
In June 2018, Abubakar hid over 200 people he saw fleeing an attack in Barkin Ladi local government area at a mosque in Nghar Yelwa, his village, saving them from their attackers.
Abubakar had explained that he gambled with his life to save them.
The US Department of State said Abubakar was selected for the award after he, “selflessly risked his own life to save members of another religious community, who would have likely been killed without his intervention.”
Michael Pompeo, US secretary of state, who presented the award, said: “their heroic efforts to build bridges & protect vulnerable religious minorities, often at their own personal risk, are an inspiration to us all.”
“I’m especially honored tonight to share the stage with the men and women who have demonstrated how much each one of us is capable of in advancing this noble shared cause. If the future of religious freedom rests on solid ground, it’s because of people who are sharing the stage with me tonight.
“To say that each of them is brave is a gross understatement. To say their work is tough does not go nearly far enough.”
Abubakar had in November 2018, also received the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) award.