Friday, August 29, 2008

Alhaji 86 wives is directed..

In Nigeria, where stories can disappear without trace from the Media (I wonder why...), its nice to see a bit of follow-up every now and then:

By Aideloje Ojo, Minna

The Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar has given the man with 86 wives a two-day ultimatum: Retain four and divorce the rest or leave Nupe land.

Under Islamic law, a muslim is allowed to marry not more than four wives but Muhammed Bello Abubakar Masaba Bida has over the years gone ahead to accumulate a harem of 86 spouses.

The Jama'atu Nasurul Islam, an umbrella organisation of emirs and top muslim clerics weekend wrote the Etsu Nupe and chairman Niger State Council of Chiefs to summon Bello and explain the law to him.

The Etsu Nupe did exactly that at a meeting with Bello which was also attended by Muslim leaders. He said the safety of the man could not be guaranteed if he failed to abide by the instructions.

The meeting where the fate of Bello was decided started around 12noon at the Etsu Nupe's palace in Bida, with the Acting Chief Imam of Bida, Mallam Adamu Yakatu, reading out the relevant part of the scripture and other stipulations regarding marriage to the 84 years old man.

Yakatu, who made references to Bello 's interview as contained in the press both electronic and prints, said his offence included having 86 wives which he said is against Islamic tenets. He quoted several verses from the Quran to buttress the point, but Bello in his response said he had stopped reading the Quran and that he could recall any potion in the Holy Book that says one should not marry more than four wives, adding that he had read the Quran several times before he stopped.

He claimed 1972 was hit by a strange wind and as a result he became unconscious. He also said 20 years ago after meeting Allah he stopped reading the Holy Quran.

He denied ever saying he was a prophet but claimed that he had seen Prophet Muhammad. But when the Imam reminded him that the Holy Quran stated that no one can see Allah, he insisted that he had seen Allah.

After much argument, the Etsu Nupe made his pronouncement saying that "From the facts available to us, you are not a true Muslim and you are hereby given two days to divorce 82 wives from your 86 wives and if you fail to do so, we cannot guarantee your safety in Bida and the entire Nupe kingdom and as such you should pack your load and leave."

The Etsu Nupe said he was convinced Bello has mental problem and advised that he should see a psychiatric. Bello, in his response sought for two weeks against two days pronouncement by the emir for him to ponder over the ultimatum.

According to him, "to reduce the number of wives needed a lot of negotiations and one had to think of the children and what becomes of them".

The Etsu Nupe in his response said the Sharia Commission in the state would take care of the 82 women divorced while the social welfare department would take care of the children.

Etsu Nupe declined Bello's request for two weeks. He also said he did not agree the man hailed from Bida, adding that every available evidence to the emirate council reflected that the man came from Lokoja not Bida.


Anonymous,  1:05 pm  


Anonymous,  1:20 pm  

And does does the 2 days ultimatum expire?

Standtall 2:29 pm  

I am sure the man with 86 wives is sick.

BTW, can I have the honour of having u intreviewed for my blog one of these days? I just started "interview Thursday" which I wish to expand....


Sandrine 4:12 pm  

Hi Jeremy,

The logistics of having a family of 87 adults plus children is mind boggling. I hope the kids will be OK.


Anonymous,  4:33 pm  

A game of numbers.
Chasing this huge shadow is surely an interesting exercise for those who 'uphold' the sanctity of a religion.
Quite amusing.

Naapali 6:22 pm  

A rather diverting story for all.

Anonymous,  10:08 pm  

And send them where? And for how long will they support the wives and children? And the man comes to some harm and then what happens?
As long as none of the women were forced or is underage, they went on their own, they should be allowed to leave on their own if they choose to do so. Where was the community when he went past 4? Are the rest not concubines? who married them?

RJ 9:24 pm  

Is the government going to assist these homeless fatherless children? And wat is going to happen to the wives? And the man too, what steps do they have in place for is mental state once his kids and wives are taken? Wat, they just think they can tell a man to get rid of his wives and he is going to be fine with that? First of all, there should be a countrywide law that permits a man to have just ONE wife regardless of religion or ethnicity. That would definitely solve the population problem

5pillar 1:40 am  

If he is right, then this lends to the idea that sharia is not the law where he lives. If he did this in the past, and sharia later became the law, then maybe he would have been 'grandfathered' in and ordered to cease marrying--at least until he lost a wife due to divorce or death, for example.
If there was no marriage, yet he simply acknowledged them as husbandless lovers, as is accepted in the West, then this would also be a travesty.
It appears that if sharia did exist in this region, and is applied, as the government is suggesting, then it is obvious he has broken the law. If there was no law, yet he is claiming to follow Islam, as a Muslim, he would be more inclined to practice the sharia recognized by his own elders.

Something tells me that this is politicized moreso because of his position on vaccinations. If this is not the case, then why did it take so long to discover how many wives he has? Who sanctioned them prior? How did his children move about within the system without acknowledging their own parents?

Most Western arguments couldn't touch this man. Otherwise, he'd bring up points of the West's leaning towards same-sex marriage; redefining the term marriage; government's involvement in the institution of marriage; right to privacy, and lastly -- a woman's right to choose.
How do I figure? Well, think about the choices his 'wives' made. Does that not count in factoring the equation of a relationship? In the West, how many ladies have the same 'baby's daddy'?
If she has a right to choose what she does with her own body, including going against her own husband's desire, then why would the government not take her own desire to choose her own mate?
Lastly, why do we not only accept, but celebrate people like Hugh Hefner and his three live-in girlfriends and constant others, while shunning Mormons (Christians) and Muslims from doing the same in a far more responsible way?

Lost at the Other End of the World 7:29 pm  

A part of me wants to think that Mr. Abubakar's strongheadedness is actually some form of resistance that might force people to think about why and how they believe what they believe.

Mr. Abubakar's absurd matrimonial situation is contesting, no matter how feebly, an accepted form of thought.

He’s got to be crazy to marry 86 wives and father 170 children, and of course, at the end of the day, there will be casualties. But, you’ll have to get over that to see how Mr. Abubakar's action opens up the possibility of questioning received, accepted, and taken-for-granted ideas. Something that we hardly ever do in Naija.

Nigeria is a place where we live day by day without stopping to think about why we do what we do and think what we think. We are a nation of people who take too much for granted because we live by commonsensical ideas we call anything from proverbs to the Ten Commandments. From the day we’re born, “obey thy father and thy mother” and “you will reap what you sow” are drummed into our heads. From primary school to university, we are trained to cower before our betters. And then people like Fela will dare to ask us to stand up against our thieving leaders, who we condemn in our beer parlors but worship in the alters of our poverty.

At the end of the day, Mr. Abubakar is simply inviting you to challenge what he has done but only within the realm of ideas: "If, within the bounds of the Koran, there is no explicit injunction to marry only four wives, pray tell me, on what basis are you saying I cannot marry any number between five to infinity?"

It doesn’t sound like a good argument, but it makes us think.

anonymaus,  5:40 pm  

Wait the saga continues with Alhaji Bello

have a read

The mystery deepens, where can one man followed by 86 (if he's keeping all of them) hide?

For an 86 year old he can sure make moves when he needs to, nothing like impaired mobility!!

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