Octogenarian polygamist update
“A man with 10 wives would collapse and die, but my own power is given by Allah”
More onÂ this story.
Kano – Authorities in Nigeria on Tuesday dropped charges of illegal marrying 86 wives slapped on an 84-year-old Islamic cleric after his case was transferred to a criminal court, a court official said.Â
The Niger state Sharia commission withdrew the charge of illegal marriage against Muhammadu Bello Masaba when he appeared before a magistrate court, after his case was transferred from an Islamic Sharia court a day earlier.
He will only face one charge of disturbing religious peace by claiming to have seen Allah in interviews he granted the media, court clerk Abdullahi Dangana said by phone from the central state’s capital Minna.Â
Masaba pleaded not guilty to the charge, Dangana said.
He was arrested three weeks ago accused of marrying too many wives in violation of the maximum of four Islam allows and for remarks capable of inciting religious disharmony.Â
Magistrate Ahmed Bima refused Masaba bail and ordered him back to court on October 16, Dangana said. He was arrested after he failed to divorce 82 of his 86 wives. Muslim laws allow a maximum of four wives per man.
Masaba’s case captured public attention some three months ago when he admitted to having 86 wives.
The revelation attracted sharp criticism and indignation from Islamic clerics with the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), the Nigerian Muslim umbrella body that slammed a fatwa, or death sentence, on Masaba.
He later agreed to divorce 82 of the wives and keep four, following an ultimatum issued by the influential traditional chief of his home town Bidda to either part with his excess wives or quit the town.
Since the return of Nigeria to civil rule in 1999 a dozen predominantly Muslim states in the north have re-introduced a version of the Islamic Sharia legal system.