Man to divorce 76 of 80 wives or face death

Islamic body in Nigeria issue death sentence on man who married 80 women against maximum of four allowed by Islam.

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LAGOS // An Islamic body in the middle of Nigeria has issued a death sentence on a man who married 80 women against a maximum of four allowed by Islam, the UK's Guardian newspaper reported today. Mohammadu Bello Masaba from the central Niger state is currently married to 80 women. "Unless Masaba repents within four days and take only four wives from the herd he remains condemned to death, according to Sharia law," a statement of the Jamatu Nasril Islam (JNI), one of Nigeria's top Islamic bodies, said.

"Any Muslim who married more than the approved number of wives at a time either by mistake or out of ignorance is instructed to choose but only four and ask for Allah's forgiveness." Since the return of Nigeria to civil rule in 1999, a dozen predominantly Muslim states in the North have re-introduced a strict version of the Sharia legal system. Sharia law is often seen as more efficient and less bureaucratic and corrupt than Nigeria's secular courts.

The Northern states pride themselves on applying a mild form of Sharia, with no deaths by stoning carried out and few amputations. Under the Sharia, men can divorce rapidly, so the four-day-deadline should not be a problem. * AFP