Thursday, February 13, 2014


His Wives and Children
A eighty-four year old man in Northern Nigeria has prompted anger from Muslims, even receiving death threats, for having 86 wives.

Mohammed Bello Masaba, from a small town in Nigeria, is a short, slightly built 84-year-old with no apparent income. But that hasn't stopped him taking 86 wives at the same time – and with a little help from God, he says, he may just marry a few more.

For decades, his unusual domestic arrangements drew little attention. But when Mr. Bello Masaba, a Muslim, gave interviews to local journalists and television crews claiming he had special God-given powers and challenged accepted interpretation of the Islamic holy book, the Koran, his world came tumbling down.

Bello Masaba has run afoul of northern Nigeria's Islamic sharia laws, Muslim clerics, Nigerian federal law, and even his town's traditional ruler, the Emir of Bida. Local authorities have stationed a dozen armed policemen outside the home he normally shares with his wives and 185 children to protect them from angry neighbors, while Bello Masaba languishes in prison. Yet he remains unrepentant.

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"If God permits me, I will marry more than 86 wives. A normal human being could not marry 86 – but I can only by the grace of God," a defiant Bello Masaba told The Christian Science Monitor during a recent prison interview.
“In his wisdom, God has given me the power and strength to give them the sexual portion they need. If I didn’t satisfy them, they would leave,”

"I married 86 women and there is peace in the house – if there is peace, how can this be wrong?" he said.

Some Of His Children
Such statements are heresy here. Under accepted Muslim doctrine, no mortal can speak directly with God and men are allowed a maximum of four wives at any one time.
Maasaba is father of 185 children and his youngest child is one month old, while his extended family including in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews now numbers about 5,000!

His wives claim they never fight and Maasaba still pleases them all!

Nigeria's religious sensitivities

The case of Bello Masaba highlights just how sensitive matters of religion are in modern Nigeria. In 2006, scores of Nigerians died in riots over cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad in a newspaper in Denmark. And in 2002, hundreds died in religious demonstrations against plans to hold the Miss World beauty pageant in Nigeria. And now, some are concerned that Bello Masaba could cause a similar uproar.

"In years past, he kept quiet and nobody bothered him. But when he comes out and says publicly that anyone can challenge his interpretation of the Koran, then he is creating tension," said Yahaya Abubakar, Emir of Bida seated on an elaborate throne at his palace.

In 2008 Maasaba has prompted anger from Muslims and was arrested under Islamic law, which limits men to four wives, but after 57 wives testified on his behalf in the country’s High Court, he was freed without charge.