92-year-old Nigerian polygamist Bello Abubakar, who has 97 wives has debunked rumours that he died after a brief illness, saying he is still very much alive and plans on carrying on his 'divine calling'...taking more wives
The former teacher and Muslim preacher resident in Bida, Niger state, has outlived the majority of his 185 children, and told reporters the latest rumour of his death was the work of his detractors.
"My dear, I am very much alive, hale and hearty," he told Vanguard newspaper. "At least, you can hear me speak and certainly, a dead person cannot speak. "The rumour 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. What I am doing is divine. It is an assignment and I will keep doing it till the end. I am seated outside of my house and I am speaking with you live in Bida without any problem with my health. What I am doing is divine. It is an assignment and I will keep doing it till the end."
Mr Bello had married a total of 107 women in his time, and divorced 10. He shot to international fame in August 2008, back when he had 86 wives, when he gave interviews to journalists and film crews explaining his unusual living situation and that “God has asked me to do it”.
But Mr Bello said his own interpretation was that the Koran does not place a limit and it is up to what your own power, your own endowment and ability allows. That non-standard pronouncement saw him arrested later in 2008 at the request of the local Shariah Court, with the emir in Bida accusing him of “creating tension” by speaking to journalists. The court released him in November 2008 on the condition that he divorce 82 of his 86 wives. He did not comply.
The cleric was rumoured to have died in June 2012. After the reports of his death surfaced, he gave an indepth interview The Nation in which he proclaimed he was not finished marrying yet.
"My large number of wives? I only have 97 wives," he said. "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."