Abuja: After rumours of his death started doing the rounds, the 92-year-old Nigerian cleric, who shot to international fame for having 97 wives, has come out to clarify that he was hale and healthy and that he intended to marry more women.
According to a report in the Independent, Mohammed Bello Abubakar an Islamic cleric in Nigeria’s Bida state, has married around 107 women and has divorced 10 of them, making him husband to 97 women.
Scholars agree that it is permitted under the scriptures to marry up to four women if he has the ability and resources to look after them well and equally.
But Bello believes that there is no specific cap on the number of wives, and also claims that he was ‘fulfilling a divine purpose’ by marrying so many women.
“It is an assignment and I will keep doing it till the end,” Bello told Vanguard, a Nigerian paper, and dismissed the allegations of his death as the handiwork of detractors. Bello also has had over 180 children, many of whom he has outlived.
He garnered international attention in 2008, when he had 86 wives, and gave interviews to journalists claiming that he had done it because ‘God asked me to do it.’
His announcement ruffled feathers in the community and he was arrested on the behest of the local Sharia Court, after the Emir of Bida accused him of creating tensions by speaking to journalists.
Bello was released later, on conditions that he divorce 82 of his 86 wives, but he refused to follow the order, and went on to take his tally up to 97.
He also gave interviews announcing that he would marry many more.
“My large number of wives? I only have 97 wives. I am still going to marry more. I will keep marrying them for as long I am alive. 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,” he said....