One of Nigeria’s most prominent Muslim leaders has suggested that polygamy among the poor should be banned, saying that having masses of uneducated, poor children leads to terrorism.

Muhammad Sanusi, the Emir of the northern state of Kano, who has four wives, said that polygamy itself is not wrong, but that it is dangerous if the husband cannot provide for his wives and children.

“Those of us in the north have all seen the economic consequences of men who are not capable of maintaining one wife, marrying four,” he said, as reported by the BBC.

“They end up producing 20 children, not educating them, leaving them on the streets, and they end up as thugs and terrorists.”

In 2012, the Royal Society scientific journal said polygamous societies are more prone to war, rape and theft.

World Watch Monitor has reported on cases where Muslim men have added kidnapped Christian women to their households – in one case, this was done by a member of staff of the Emir of Katsina, another northern state.

Meanwhile, in November, the Christian Association of Nigeria asked President Muhammadu Buhari to warn northern Nigeria’s traditional rulers against child marriage, which they said was responsible for a “cloud of crisis”. They cited the abduction and forcible conversion to Islam of Christian schoolgirls in northern Nigeria as symptomatic of the trend.

The treatment of Christian women and girls in northern Nigeria since 1999 was the subject of a 2013 report, ‘Our Bodies, Their Battleground’. The authors explored what they called “the facilitating characteristics of the country in which the [Boko Haram] insurgency has come to operate so effectively”. The report showed that the abduction of Christian girls was common practice long before the advent of Boko Haram, and also the kidnapping of about 300 mainly Christian schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014.