Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 11:12 UK

Nigerian with 86 wives arrested

Baba Mohammed Bello Abubakar
Mr Bello Abubakar was picked up in a pre-dawn raid

A Nigerian man with 86 wives, Mohammadu Bello Abubakar, has been arrested by an Islamic court for refusing to divorce all but four of them.

He was picked up in a pre-dawn raid on his house in Bida, Niger state and charged with "insulting religious creed" and "unlawful marriages".

A Sharia court judge denied him bail until another hearing on October 6.

Last week he won a court injunction preventing authorities banishing him if he refused to divorce his wives.

Mr Bello Abubakar, an Islamic preacher, has more than 170 children.


Local traditional rulers told him to divorce his wives by the end of August or be evicted from his home.

A court was due to sit on Thursday to decide if the order violated his human rights.

Lawyers for Mr Bello Abubakar said he had not broken any law.

Mr Abubakar says there is no punishment stated in the Koran for having more than four wives.

Niger is one of the Muslim majority states to have reintroduced Sharia punishments since 2000.

Several people have been sentenced to death for adultery by Sharia courts but none of these sentences has been carried out.

Muslim scholars agree that it is allowed in Islam to have up to four wives, as long as you treat them equally.

Country profile: Nigeria
30 Apr 08 |  Country profiles

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