Mohammed Bello Abubakar is one of the most controversial figures in Nigeria. Despite having no discernible income, the 92-year-old man somehow convinced 107 women to marry him throughout his life, 97 of which are still his wives. He claims that marrying as many women as possible is a divine assignment he has received from God.
Mr Bello first shot to fame in 2008, when a series of articles revealed that he had 86 wives and around 150 children, either living with him on his compound in Bida, Niger state, or in his house in Lagos. Muslim clerics accused him of breaking religious rules, which most scholars agree allow a man to marry up to four women, as long as he can provide for all of them and treat them equally. He was given a very simple choice, either divorce 82 of his wives or face the consequences. He refused, arguing that there was no punishment stated in the Koran for having more than four wives, and that every man should be free to marry as many women as he can support. He was arrested at the request of the local Shariah Court, but subsequently released, on the condition that he only keep four of his wives.
Not only did the ‘superpolygamist’ ignore this requirement, but he has since married other women as well. In total, he married 107 women so far, divorced 10 of them, which brings the total wife count to a whopping 97. And despite his ripe old age, Abubakar says he plans on marrying even more. “What I am doing is divine. It is an assignment and I will keep doing it till the end,” he told Nigerian newspaper Vanguard.
Photo: video screengrab
“My large number of wives? I only have 97 wives,” he added in an interview with The Nation. “I am still going to marry more. I will keep marrying them for as long I am alive. If it was up to me, I would have married maybe two wives, but what I am doing is divine.”
He advises men not to follow his example, as a normal husband could not even cope with 10 wives, let alone 97. Bello claims that he has been able to control all of them only with the power bestowed on him by Allah.
What’s really strange about Mohammed Bello Abubakar and his incredibly large family is that none of them have an official income. He doesn’t work and doesn’t allow his wives to work either. Not even their neighbors in Bida know how they make ends meet. In a 2008 BBC article, some claimed that Bello sends some of the children to beg, but even if that turned out to be true, it wouldn’t even be enough to cover the cost of the three 12-pound bags of rice they eat every day. When asked how he can afford to feed everyone, the Nigerian man simply said ” It’s all from God.”
92-year-old Mohammed Bello Abubakar has outlived most of his 185 children, and despite recent rumors that he had died following a swift illness, he told reporters he was alive and well. “My dear, I am very much alive, hale and hearty,” he told Vanguard. “The rumor is baseless and can best be described as the work of my detractors because they envy what God has done and what He is still doing for me.”
“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,” Abubakar concluded.