A Nigerian man with 86 wives will go before a criminal tribunal after an Islamic Sharia court transferred his case there, a court official said on Monday.
The upper Sharia court judge Abdulkadir Imam ordered that the criminal case against 84-year-old Muhammadu Bello Masaba, arraigned for marrying 86 wives, in breach of Islamic penal codes, be moved to a magistrate court for trial.
"The court based its decision on the fact that the offences involved have some criminal elements in them as contained in the penal code of the state and could therefore not be tried in a Sharia court," court clerk Usman Egiworo told AFP by telephone from Minna, the capital of northern Niger State.
Egiworo said the judge also turned down Masaba's application for bail.
Masaba was arrested three weeks ago after he failed to divorce 82 of his 86 wives.
The case of Masaba, an Islamic cleric, captured public attention some three months ago when he admitted to having 86 wives.
The revelation attracted sharp criticism and indignation from Islamic clerics with the Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI), the Nigerian Muslim umbrella body that slammed a fatwa, or death sentence, on Masaba.
He later agreed to divorce 82 of the wives and keep four, following an ultimatum issued by the influential traditional chief of his hometown Bidda to either part with his excess wives or quit the town.
Since the return of Nigeria to civil rule in 1999 a dozen predominantly Muslim states in the north have re-introduced a version of the Islamic Sharia legal system.from: Yahoo7!news