On Wednesday, Imam Abubakar Abdullahi was formally recognized for providing shelter to hundreds of Christian refugees. 

Abdullahi is an 83-year-old Muslim cleric from Plateau State in Central Nigeria. Recently, he has been awarded the 2019 International Religious Freedom Award for his compassion and generosity. 

According to CNN, the heroic cleric was protecting those seeking refuge from the attacks of Muslim herdsmen on Christian farmers in 10 villages in the Barkin Ladi area. Approximately 80 people are said to have been killed by the herdsmen who set fire to many homes in the area. 

In the U.S. Embassy of Nigeria’s “Chatting With a Hero” interview segment, Abdullahi describes when he heard gunshots near his village in June of 2018. He had made pleads with unidentified attackers in order to save hundreds of people he was sheltering in his home. 

“It was a tense moment. But I did not allow them to harm my guests as they tried to gain access to the mosque or my home,” he said during the interview. “We just kept pleading that in the name of God they should not harm anyone.” 

The State Department presented Abdullahi with the award for his selfless acts of courage and being an advocate for religious freedom.