An 84-year-old Nigerian Muslim with 86 wives, Alhaji Bello Abubakar Masaba, has been arrested and charged to an Islamic Sharia court in Bida, capital of Nigeria’s northern Niger State, for ”insulting or inciting the content of a religious creed and unlawful marriage”.
Local newspapers reported Tuesday that the police arrested Masaba early Monday and later charged him to court.
Part of the charges, which accused Masaba of unlawfully marrying one Hajia Afusat Bello Masaba and 85 others, read: ”You (Alhaji Masaba) unlawfully kept these women in your house as wives against Islamic laws, you are hereby suspected to have committed the crime.”
After pleading not guilty to the charges, whose penalty under the strict Islamic law is death by stoning, the presiding judge, Alhaji Abdulkadir Imam, ordered that he be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case till 6 October.
Masaba’s lawyer, Alhaji Shehu Muhammed, had pleaded for bail for his client, saying he has a large family with over 100 children in schools, among other dependants.
More than 100 supporters of Masaba stormed the court premises on Monday while he was being arraigned.
Earlier, Masaba had gone to a federal high court where he obtained an order to enforce his fundamental human rights.
An Islamic body has already pronounced a ‘fatwa’ on Masaba, meaning he could be killed by a faithful for his ‘sins’. Panapress.
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