A Nigerian Islamic preacher with 86 wives, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Masaba, is dead.
His Personal Assistant, Alhaji Mutairu Bello, confirmed Masaba’s death in Abuja on Saturday.
He said that the preacher died in his residence in Bida, Niger State, on Saturday, after a brief illness.
“From Allah we come, to Him we shall all return; we announce the death of Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bello Masaba this afternoon. He was aged 93, and died after a brief illness,” Bello said.
Masaba would be buried at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan 29.
A sobbing Bello said that the preacher had a premonition of his death and prepared for it.
“Baba (Masaba), told us that his time was up; he personally told me that he had completed his divine assignment and was ready to meet his creator.
“He also told us to remain dedicated to the cause of Islam and urged us never to deviate from his teachings on righteousness, piety and total submission to the will of Allah.
“He warned us to shun adultery but said that we should marry our women because it is ‘Hallal’ (right), before Allah,” Bello said.
Masaba came to limelight in mid-2008 when it was reported that he was married to 86 wives contrary to Islamic law which provides that a man can only marry a maximum of four wives.
At a meeting at the palace of Etsu of Nupe Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar he was ordered to divorce 82 of the wives, a directive which Masaba said he was not going to comply with as he insisted that he did not violate any Islamic law.
The Etsu of Nupe later gave Masaba 48 hours to leave the Nupe Kingdom saying that his safety could not be guaranteed
However, the cleric rejected the directive and sued the Emirate for violating his fundamental human rights.
Masaba was arrested in Oct. 2008 and arraigned before a Shariah court. Before his trial commenced, the police said that they did not find anything incriminating when they searched his house.
He was, however, detained in the prison on the orders of the Sharia’h court which later transfered the case to a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Minna after declaring that it lacked jurisdiction to try him.
A Federal High Court in Abuja in Nov. 2008 ordered the release of Masaba from prison and asked the Inspector general of Police to ensure the protection of his fundamental human rights.
Masaba was said to have fathered 180 children and claimed that he never pursued any of his wives. Rather, he said, they sought him out due to his reputation as a healer
Many of his wives were much younger than he was, and a few were younger than some of his elder children.
In several interviews with media outlets some of the wives claimed that he was a good husband who was meeting all their needs.