Nigerian man with 97 wives plans to marry more

Published On: October 18, 2016 03:47 PM NPT By: Agencies

Nigeria’s most famous polygamist with 97 wives has denied rumours of his death, saying he is still “very much alive” at 92 years old, and plans to continue taking more wives, Independent reported.

Mohammed Bello Abubakar is a controversial figure in the town of Bida, Niger state, where he has married more than a 100 women and has outlived the majority of his 185 children. He told reporters the latest rumour of his death was the work of unspecified ‘detractors’. A media report suggested he had died after a brief illness. “My dear, I am very much alive, hale and hearty,” the man told Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper.

This is not the first time the nonagenarian has been rumoured to have died. After reports of his death surfaced in June 2012, Bello gave a rare in-depth interview to the The Nation in which he proclaimed he was not finished marrying yet. “My large number of wives? I only have 97 wives,” he said. “I am still going to marry more. I will keep marrying them for as long I am alive.  He added, “Left for me, I would have married maybe two wives, but what I am doing is divine.

“I just want to advise those fighting against the number of my wives to stop because such people are waging war against God, their creator. The rumour is baseless and can best be described as the work of my detractors because they envy what God has done and what He is still doing for me.” He added, “What I am doing is divine. It is an assignment and I will keep doing it till the end.”

The cleric has no discernible income, and has clashed in the past with local Islamic authorities, who point that Islam allows a man up to four wives, as long as he is able to look after them all equally.  But Bello stands by his belief, saying that his interpretation is that “the Holy Quran does not place a limit and it is up to what your own power, your own endowment and ability allows.”

Bello attracted the attention of journalists in August 2008 when he had 86 wives. But now the count has risen to 97. He has married a total of 107 women, but divorced ten of them, according to the Punch newspaper’s most recent count.

In 2008, when he claimed his marriages to be a “divine calling,” he was arrested at the request of the local Shariah Court, with the emir in Bida accusing him of “creating tension” by speaking to journalists. The court released him in November 2008 on the condition that he divorce 82 of his 86 wives. But he did not comply.

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