The remains of the super polygamist and Islamic preacher, Malam Muhammadu Abubakar Bello Masaba were week Sunday morning committed to mother earth within the precinct of his residence in Bida.
The Islamic cleric died Saturday afternoon following a brief illness though his health condition had since October last year been raising anxious moments for his massive extended family members, followers and admirers.
He passed on at the age of 93 leaving behind long, unrivaled history of a life of near mystic powers, aberrant and deviant life styles unknown and unacceptable to the religion of Islam which he professed.
The remains of the Islamic cleric was committed to mother earth after the internment prayers led by Alh. Mohmmed Baba Kutigi amidst shrill shouts of “Allahu Akbar” by a large body of wailing symphatisers who thronged the residence of the maverick, non conformist Islamic cleric.
Feelers from the man’s enclave in Bida said late Masaba was survived by as many as 130 wives some of whom are pregnant and believed to be due for delivery anytime soon. At death, he had 203 children and many grand children.
In 2008, Masaba had a face off with the traditional institution of Bida and the leadership of the Jama’atu Nasir Islam over his religious claims of being an Islamic cleric with 86 wives, his claim of speaking to and communing with Allah.
The Bida Emirate Council similarly refuted his claim of being a member of one of the ruling houses of the ancient, historic emirate and openly challenged him to prove his origins at a crowded forum held in the chambers of the Emir’s Palace.
At the end of the grilling session, both the emirate and council of Ullamas, asked Masaba to divorce all but four of his wives within thirty days or face the consequences of his stubbornness.
Masaba did not recant his claims nor divorce any of his wives but called off the bluff of all those who challenged him. He remained put in Bida and even expanded his frontiers.
Faced with the glaring humiliation, there was a gang up by pro-establishment and the religious body opposed to Masaba. He was incarcerated and put to jail at the Minna Prison for months.
While in jail, his popularity swelled. Sympathy for him soared and Human Rights and Civil Society groups rooted for his unconditional release just as his support base widened and raised questions about his continued detention over his rights to profess his beliefs and ideas and associate with women.
His many wives and children protested against his detention and led processions to government establishments and quarters. In their tens and great numbers, they fought relentlessly for the release of their husband and breadwinner.
The government, his jailers finally bowed at last. The prison gates were opened to let Masaba out but his prison jail mates cried profusely. Masaba was a huge benefactor to both the inmates and his fellow prisoners while he served his jail term at the Minna Prison.
From his coffers, the inmates had lumbs of meats to eat from the huge cows he offered weekly for slaughter for both the Prison staffers and inmates.
He came out of prison a winner and held on his ideas and strange life styles without qualms. Those who were opposed to him swallowed their bile.
Soon he became a cynosure of many media pundits and newshunters from far and near places. He was a man constantly in the news to the chagrin of of those he dabbed as enemies of progress.
New Nigerian Newspapers recalled that earlier in 2006, Masaba had made headlines as he vehemently opposed the administration of the oral vaccines against the six child killer diseases on his children and wards of immunization ages prompting the federal government to send a delegation led by a Minister of Health, Amina Lolo to plead on the government’s behalf as the country battled to fight the scourge of polio and other child killer diseases then.
It took the wisdom of the then Deputy Governor of Niger state and other respected statesmen to persuade Masaba to allow officials from the Ministry of Health to administer the vaccines on children in his huge enclave.
Sources close to Masaba’s compound say amongst his followers are professionals such as medical Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, artisans and other professionals who had thrown their respective callings overboard to become his disciples and followers.
His retinue of beautiful, mostly middle aged women added to the mystery often linked to him. His sources of finance and upkeep of his mass of household remained enigmatic while he lived.
But now that the man is dead, it remains to be seen what becomes of his left overs and left behind. it would be right to ask albeit with baited breath; with his demise, is this end of an era?