Nigerian with 86 wives, 133 children

Washington: Married 107 times and having fathered 185 children, 87-year-old Bello Maasaba is still game for more.

The Nigerian faith healer, who actually lives with his family of over 200 wives and children -- all under one roof -- has never resisted the call whenever a Miss Right came along, the Los Angeles Times said in a piece.

Maasaba now has 86 wives, the youngest 19 and the oldest being 64 years of age. While nine have died, he has divorced 12 (for disobedience), the report said.

Not only that, out of the 185 children he has fathered, 133 are still living, the youngest being one month old.

Maasaba has acquired an extended family of some 5,000 people, many of whom live in the sprawling compound in the block surrounding his house in Bida, one of the largest city in Nigeria, the report said.

It takes three enormous sacks of rice a day and prodigious quantities of meat and vegetables to feed his enormous clan. He`s rich because of the handsome fee paid by those who come to be healed.

Talking about his house, the daily said it’s a looming four-storey house with 89 rooms and a broad veranda supported by gold columns overlooking the street.

Wondering how he communicates with his wife and children? Maasaba has a microphone hooked up to speakers on every floor of the house.

Three years ago, Islamic authorities in Niger, a Muslim majority state with Sharia law, ordered that Maasaba divorce 82 of his wives, keeping four. He refused and was ordered by the Sharia court to leave town.

He was also put in jail in September 2008.

Refused bail, Maasaba spent 22 days behind bars, while his wives, 11 of them pregnant, demonstrated for his release. In the end, a group of civil rights lawyers came to Maasaba`s rescue and had him freed on bail, the report said.

That November, at the High Court in the capital, Abuja, the lawyers called in his wives and their parents, one by one, to know whether they had willingly agreed to marriage.

At wife No 57, the court told the lawyers to stop, and ordered Maasaba freed.

"I get a revelation from God telling me any woman I`m going to marry. If it wasn`t from God, I wouldn`t have gone beyond two," Maasaba explains, the report said.

PTI

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