Always groom for one more
An Islamic faith healer in Nigeria has married 107 women. The wives seem happy, but religious authorities are not amused.
By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Bida, Nigeria
He fell in love with his first wife because she was sincere and eager to please. His second wife, a cousin, was irresistible because she did everything he wished and nothing he didn't. "That alone made me love her." His third wife won him because she submitted to his every request. "I saw her, I liked her. I went to her parents and asked for her hand in marriage."
Wife No. 4 was very obedient. So was wife No. 5. Wife No. 6, the same. As were wives 7 and 8 and 9 and …
Well, by then — it was the late 1980s — things had taken off for Bello Maasaba, an Islamic faith healer in this city in Niger state. He went from a wedding every few months to one every few weeks.
All told, the 87-year-old has married 107 women, which, even in a society with a tradition of polygamy, is on the high side.
Three years ago, Islamic authorities in Niger, a majority Muslim state with Sharia, or Islamic law, ordered that Maasaba divorce 82 of his wives, keeping four. He refused and was ordered by the Sharia court to leave town. (Muslim scholars generally agree that the Koran allows up to four wives, provided each gets equal treatment.) ....
With so many wives, how does he meet their romantic needs?
He smiles. Everyone asks him that.
Here's my 2002 article "The Problem with Polygamy," which was inspired by the 1981 article.