Man with 86 Wives Dares Etsu Nupe
culled from thisday newspapers nigeria
Twenty four hours after the expiration of the two-day deadline given to the man with 86 wives in Bida, Niger state, Pa Abubakar Bello Masaba, to divorce 82 women from his harem or be banished from Nupeland, the embattled man has said he has not contravened any law that would warrant such orders by the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, and some Islamic leaders.
Masaba’s resolve to dare the state’s royalty yesterday got a boost as the police said nobody or organisation has the power to banish any citizen of Nigeria from any part of the country.
Police Public Relations Officer for the state command, Mr. Richard Oguche, in an interview with THISDAY said the police had detailed a team of its patrol men to mount surveillance and provide adequate security for Pa Masaba.
Expressing shock and surprise at the decision of the Etsu Nupe, who is also Chairman of Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, in a telephone interview yesterday, Pa Bello, who is still in Bida, insisted that he has not contravened any established law of the land that would warrant such pronouncement on him.
On Thursday, the Etsu Nupe handed down a verdict against Masaba, ordering him to either sack 82 of his wives leaving only four in line with Islamic injunction to enable him remain in Bida and the entire Nupeland or leave the community within two days.
Reacting on telephone, Pa Masaba said, “I have not contravened any established law that would warrant my being banished from the land. I am not a criminal as there is no law that says one must not marry more than four wives. All my wives are with children and some of these are people I have married and stayed with for over 30 years, how can they expect me to leave them within two days?"
Abubakar expressed the need for all Muslims to be tolerant and realised that the ways of God are different from that of man.
“Islam is the same throughout the whole world. Allah is unchangeable and He is a just God. In the History of Islam, I am not the only Muslim that will marry more than four wives. It is on record that the popular Sheikh Ibrahim Niyas Kaolak married 75 wives when he was alive and his people never drove him out of town. His followers were with him and they abound in all parts of the world even till today”, he said.
He also denied allegation of not co-operating with government over the polio immunisation, describing himself as a law abiding citizen. He explained that when the state government in 2002 came up with the campaign against polio through immunisation of children, he sought for Allah’s permission for the children under his care to be immunised, “and since Allah graciously approved the request I have since been cooperating with government officials concerning the immunisation exercise.”
He also allayed fears being expressed in some quarters that his followers could metamorphose into the dreaded Maitasine group.
According to him, “Maitasine is of the devil both front and back. I am of God and there is no way my group or I could metamorphose into such. I am for peace and mutual co-existence among all, irrespective of tribe, race or religion. I was one of those who assisted the nation with prayer to destroy the activities of the Maitasine. So people should not link me with Maitasine.”
Oguche, the police spokesman, corroborated the position of Pa Masaba, arguing that he has not contravened any established law that should warrant a threat to his life and advised the people against taking laws into their hands.
“He is covered by the nation’s constitution to marry as many wives as he chooses to and there is no private individual or group that has the right to terminate anybody’s life,” said the police spokesman.
Meanwhile, in order to forestall any crisis situation that the royal order may generate after the expiration of the deadline given to Pa Masaba to vacate the land or divorce 82 of the wives, a detachment of Police men have been put in place by the Niger State Police Command to provide adequate security for lives and properties of the embattled cleric.