Nigerian with 86 wives arrested under Sharia laws
By BASHIR ADIGUN (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
September 16, 2008 8:01 AM EDT
ABUJA, Nigeria - Police in northern Nigeria have arrested a Muslim preacher who claims 86 wives and 107 children, charging him with breaking Islamic laws governing marriage.
Authorities detained Mohammed Bello
Masaba, 84, on Monday after an order from northern Niger state's
Islamic court, according to police spokesman Richard Oguche. The
preacher was charged with "infringing on Islamic laws," Oguche told The
Associated Press by telephone from the state.
It was unclear when the man would
appear before the court, or what the potential punishment could be.
Muslim principles forbid men to take more than four wives.
Around half of Nigeria's 140 million
people are Muslim, and Niger was one of twelve majority-Muslim states
that adopted the Islamic Sharia criminal code after Nigeria returned to
civilian rule in 1999. The move sparked religious riots throughout the
country that left thousands dead.
But severe corporal punishments
imposed by the Sharia courts are rarely carried out and no executions
have taken place. Nigeria's secular, federal government, which controls
the national security forces, has said it won't allow the most serious
Analysts say Sharia was implemented
for political reasons as well as religious conviction - as a show of
strength by the Muslim northerners and as an acknowledgment that
secular courts had failed to stem years of crime.
Nigeria has 24 other states that do not follow Sharia law.
Masaba says God enables him to maintain such a large family.
"A man with 10 wives would collapse
and die, but my own power is given by Allah. That is why I have been
able to control 86 of them," he has been quoted as saying in Nigeria's
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