June 27, 2011

CAN condemns introduction of Islamic banking

BY Akpokona Omafuaire
WARRI— THE Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has condemned the introduction of Islamic banking system in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, saying the move was an attempt to Islamize Nigeria.

It also said the banking system ran contrary to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
CAN, therefore, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to wade into the matter to secure the peace and unity of the nation.

Addressing journalists during a press conference after a meeting with its executives in Warri, the Chairman CAN, Delta State chapter, Archbishop God-Dowell Avwomakpa, said the Naira was key to the nation and must be kept and accessed through a common medium without any hidden agenda to enslave customers and employees in Nigeria.

“It has become increasingly obvious that the Islamic Community has stepped up its determination to totally Islamize Nigeria as a nation.

“This observation is clear from the on-going efforts to establish Islamic Banking in Nigeria through the instrumentality of Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” CAN added further.

CAN further said Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state where the constitution unequivocally guarantees freedom of religion, thought, and association, just as it stressed that the introduction of an Islamic Banking system in the country is unconstitutional and is capable of tearing the country apart.

“In view of the religious and ethnic complexities and for the unity of this country, the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) contemplates in section 10 that the Federal Government shall neither adopt any religion nor allow the imposition of any religion on itself by any faction of the country,” it said.

The Christian body also said; “the law (Nigeria’s law) intended to prevent all forms of religious imposition and to preserve the freedoms of citizens as well as the unity of our dear nation when it provided in section 43 of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Acts (BOFIA) that no bank in Nigeria shall use names such as “Islamic”, “Muslim”, “Quranic” and “Christian” except with the permission of the CBN Governor whose authority is subject to the powers and supervision of the Minister of Finance and the CBN Act.”

The body is also warned that the CBN Governor should not take undue advantage of the absence of a Minister of Finance to do any harm to the financial sector.

CAN also said the implications of an Islamic Banking system for Nigeria are far-reaching as it operates entirely in accordance with the principles of Islamic law (Sharia), and transactions which are in conformity with the practical implications of Sharia through the development of Islamic economic that is applicable to  Islamic Community.

“An Islamic Bank will not invest in businesses which it considers contrary to Islamic principles (i.e. Haram). An Islamic Bank prohibits islamically unacceptable transactions and will not grant loans unless for a Sharia-approved transactions and will capitalize on the availability of collaterals. Ironically the absence of collaterals for the collections of loans was the major ground for which Mrs. Cecilia Ibru was denied her office as the MD of Oceanic Bank Plc and was subsequently convicted few months ago,” it further said.

CAN lamented that the destabilization of the banking sector in the country by Alhaji Sanusi and the removal of competitive and influential bank Managing Directors has culminated in the establishment of Islamic Banking system in the state.

CAN therefore, said they will not stand and fold their arms while the Islamic Community Islamise the country, adding the introduction of an Islamic Banking system came as a huge surprise to many Nigerians who thought that the CBN Governor was overhauling the banking system for effective and efficient banking system in the country.