CAN honours Plateau Imam who saved Christians from attacks | Dailytrust

CAN honours Plateau Imam who saved Christians from attacks

FILE PHOTO: US Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr David Young (right) and the Chief Imam of Nghar Village, Abdullahi Abubakar, after the Chief Imam was presented the US Ambassador’s Peacemaker Award for Heroism in recognition of his bravery and putting faith into action in saving the lives of hundreds of his Christian neighbours during attacks on Barkin Ladi, Plateau in June 2018. Ambassador W. Stuart Symington presented the award to him at an interfaith dialogue at the Embassy in Abuja
FILE PHOTO: US Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr David Young (right) and the Chief Imam of Nghar Village, Abdullahi Abubakar, after the Chief Imam was presented the US Ambassador’s Peacemaker Award for Heroism in recognition of his bravery and putting faith into action in saving the lives of hundreds of his Christian neighbours during attacks on Barkin Ladi, Plateau in June 2018. Ambassador W. Stuart Symington presented the award to him at an interfaith dialogue at the Embassy in Abuja

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has honoured Imam Abdullahi Abubakar, who saved over 200 Christians from attacks in Barkin Ladi LGA, Plateau State.

The CAN President, Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, conferred the award on Imam Abubakar at the “Sapphire CAN Day” Award of Excellence and Dinner organised to mark the 45th anniversary on Saturday’s night in Abuja.

The Imam saved over 200 people on June 24 when suspected herdsmen invaded 15 communities in the Barkin Ladi LGA, killing over 200 people.

The United States Government in July 2019 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.

Speaking at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo urged Christian and other Nigerian leaders to be advocates of freedom of worship, justice and the rule of law.

Prof. Osinbajo, who was also honoured at the event, delivered President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government’s felicitations to CAN on the celebration.

“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 said 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.

He said, “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.”

Commending the works of current and past leadership of CAN in promoting religious tolerance, the Vice President said CAN had not only been continually faithful to its founding vision but it has also become a veritable force for peace, unity and social justice in the country.

Osinbajo said, “We are proud of the role of the moral compass of society and interlocutor for peace among the different faiths that CAN has played and continues to play in our nation.

“We are also proud of the enormous work that the current executive of CAN, led by Rev. Supo Ayokunle, has done.

“I am aware of your 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.”

Presenting the Award of Excellence to the Vice President, CAN President, Dr Ayokunle, said the honour was in recognition of Prof. Osinbajo’s outstanding performance in public service over the past years, both at state and national levels.

He said, “This Award of Excellence is conferred on you today in recognition of your invaluable contributions as an ideal Christian in the Nigerian political space and governance.”

Other awardees include a former Head of States, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Retd); former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former President Goodluck Jonathan; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; nine state governors; a former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; faith leaders, including past Presidents and General Secretary of CAN, among others.

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