I've added 18 to my children since I was released from detention

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Francis Falola

Can you give us an insight into your background?

I am Alhaji Muhammadu Bello Abubakar Masaba Bida, an indigene of Bida, headquarters of Bida Local Government Area, Niger State. I am a descendant of Manko who gave birth to Etsu Masaba. Etsu Masaba gave birth to Muhammadu Masaba and Muhammadu Masaba gave birth to Abubakar. Abubakar in turn gave birth to me as one of his children and I was born on the 14th of April 1924. I am blessed with a large family and followers. I hold a primary school leaving certificate and Grade Two Teachers Certificate. I worked with the United African Company for 12 years between 1941 and 1953, and later with Bacita Sugar Company from 1953 to 1962. Before then I had graduated in Quranic education and Islamic studies. In 1962, I left Bacita for Lagos where I practised as an Islamic cleric. In 1972, I received a spiritual blessing from Allah and I preached absolute submission to Almighty Allah.

How do you feel being 86?

I feel really great and very strong. I strongly believed that even if I am 100, I will remain strong with my youthful look. The secrete is in God. He is the source of my strength and He has been very faithful to me. As I said earlier, even if I clock 100, I will still remain strong and youthful. The Lord is my strength and those who think there is a secrete somewhere that they want to unravel about me are just deceiving themselves. I have said it several times that I am not a Maitatsine as claimed by some mischief makers. I am not a spirit. I am not Satan. I am a believer in Allah, a practicing Muslim and a believer in the prophet of Allah.

How do you plan to celebrate your 86th birthday?

I am a simple man. I believe the essence of life is to make impact in the lives of others. I do not have any arrangement for my birthday other than stay with friends, followers and family members and thank God for His infinite mercies through the years. I believe it is sheer stupidity to roll out the drums and call musicians when thousands of youths are unemployed, and thousands of other youths cannot afford education. I believe that the money that would be invested in such a wasteful venture can be channeled into more productive means, such as financing the education of some of the less privileged who are roaming the streets and are incapacitated by lack of funds. I feel touched when I see some of them here on a daily basis seeking financial support for their education. This is a sad reflection of our poverty as a nation. Government and well meaning individuals should show more interest in coming to the aids of these youths, since they are the leaders of tomorrow and the future of this country depends on them.

As a philanthropist, do you have a record of the amount of money you invested monthly on such assistance?

I believe that what we are doing is not to serve man but to serve God. If you do things for self-ego, you will have your reward from man. But when you do things selflessly to serve God, you will have your reward from God. Since our target is God, we believe it is unwise to start keeping such record. But anytime they come, we always encourage them and give whatever support we can towards the attainment of their dreams. Indigent youths who gain admission in institutions within and outside the country have been coming for financial support on a daily basis, and Allah has been meeting their needs. I believe it will be wrong for me to start taking stock of the amount I have spent since God in His infinite mercy has been so helpful to me. If you give me N20 million or more today, before the next 24 or 48 hours, I would have finished spending it on people who are in need. I know that God is the provider and He will always provide another one. Giving out to the needy is an art most Nigerians, out of greed and selfishness, are not willing to practise. I believe that this is not fair not only to man but to God, since whatever things you are and whatever position you are is by His Grace. When we know God and we appreciate God and how He works, we will know the usefulness in giving. And if we have been doing this, definitely, some of the crimes and social vices ravaging our nation today will not be there.

Two years ago, you were arrested and incarcerated over issues surrounding your marriage to more than four wives. What lessons have you learnt from the incident? Do you have any regrets?

The incident afforded me the opportunity to understand and appreciate people better. I now know that people that you think are your closest friends can later rise up against you for no just cause. But those who hurt me one way or the other during the period, I have forgiven them. I believe that whatever a man passes through at any stage in life has is destined. So it is what has been destined that must surely come to pass. I have no regret over whatever thing or plight I passed through. And I thank God for using the travails as a means of elevating me. Since the incident, people have been coming from all over the world– Paris, London, Malaysia, Ivory Coast and so many countries–just to meet me. The number of people coming for assistance both within and outside has also been on the increase, and several organisations have come out to associate with us and give us awards both within and outside the country. In fact, another award is coming up at the end of this month. So, God has really used the incident as a blessing. I have no regret at all and I bear no grudge against anyone over what happened.

What is the situation of things between you and your accusers now?

You know the issue is before the court. I believe it will not be proper for me to start speaking on an issue before the court. But so far so good. There is no problem between us. We are all co-existing peacefully.

Within the last two years how many children has God blessed you with and how many wives do you have now?

My wives remain the number it was. But before the end of the year, if God says there will be addition there will certainly be. Since the incident till date, I have been blessed with 18 children, and the total number of my children is about 138 now.

You were said to have organised weddings for some of your children on April 2 this year. How many of your daughters did you give out in marriage?

I gave five of my daughters out in marriage. Two of my sons got married.

Recently there is this report that you were denied the PDP membership card and that you threatened to take an action against the party and the state. Are you taking to politics?

I am not a politician and I never approached anybody for party’s membership card. Neither was I driven away as the reporter reported. The whole report was a figment of the imagination of its author. I still remain an Islamic cleric, a spiritual healer, pleading to God for intercession in assisting those who are afflicted and reconciling them with their creator.

The Jos crisis remains unabated in spite of the efforts of the government to address the problem. What do you think contributed to this development?

The crisis is purely as a result of lack of fear of God. Whoever claims to be serving God and is not a respecter of God and has no fear of God in him cannot be referred to as a true servant of God. Such a person does not know the God he claimed to be serving. Once you believe in God, you must fear God and respect Him. Once you do this, you will keep His Commandments. And by keeping His commandments, you will know how to live in peace with all people at all times. Our God is not a God of violence or a God of conflicts. Christians and Muslims are believers in God, so I see no reason why there should be any conflict among believers or adherents of the two religions.

If you are given a chance to make one request from both the Federal Government and the state government, what will your request be?

My request will be a plea to the government to address the problems confronting youths–unemployment lack of access to education. Once we are able to tackle this problem and create an enabling environment for our youths to develop, I believe our nation will advance.


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