Participants drawn from the academic, banking, foreign policy and business group
have stressed the need to embark on public education and enlightenment, to avoid
ethnic-religious colouration on the issue of Islamic banking
“There should be no trouble with the establishment of Islamic
banking in Nigeria, because this form of banking is being practiced in several
African countries and elsewhere in the world," participants said at the seminar,
tagged: "Islamic Banking in International Relations: the case of Nigeria".
"But the problem lies with communicating the essence of this form of
banking system among Nigerians," Busari Shamsudeen, an expert in Islamic
financial system, told participants at the fifth brainstorming session organized
by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in
Shamsudeen, who spoke on "Islamic Banking: The challenges and
Prospects", identified three forms of models of Islamic banking to include:
those that are being fully sponsored by governments, government and private
sponsor, as well as private investors.
He said the misinterpretation of
what the Islamic banking was all about had heated up the system, from both
Christians and Muslims perspective, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria
(CBN) should allow the private investors to drive the issue.
apex bank came up with the guidelines for the setting up of Islamic banking
system and its intention to begin its operations, the issue has generated a lot
of controversies, pitching Christians against Muslims.
presentation, the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor
Ayo Oritsajefor, said the group supported the establishment of Islamic banking
but was against the involvement of CBN in promoting and sponsoring
“We believe the controversies is totally uncalled for. For the
records, Christians are not against any form of Islamic banking system. What we
are against is that a Federal Government agency has become a promoter and
sponsor of Islamic banking, spending public money, by employing consultants from
Malaysia,” Eghes Eyieyien, who stood in for the CAN President,
However, the representatative of the CBN, Ahmed Abdullahi, debunked
the insinuation, stressing that as a regulator and supervisor of the banking
sector, it cannot remain indifferent to what was happening.
"A lot has
been said about CBN promoting Islamic banking, what CBN does is to licence and
regulate the sector. It is obliged by the law to licence any bank if it meets
the regulations. We will not licence any bank that will collapse, once it is
viable, CBN will licence it. Non-interest banking does not exclude anybody. CBN
is not promoting any bank at the detriment of the others,” he said.
President of National Association of Small Medium Enterprises (NASME) in
Nigeria, Dr. Ike Abogu, expressed the hope that under the Islamic banking
system, SMEs would have assess to loans and if properly implemented, would
provide a better alternative to access loans.
Nigeria’s former External
Affairs Minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, in his remarks, advised policy makers
to embark on an elaborate public enlightenment programme to gauge the opinion
and sensitize the people before any major public policy is
“The brainstorming session is unique, because, it is
specifically aimed at creating proper understanding. Islamic banking is being
operated in many countries, it is not a source of threat but in Nigeria, it has
become so," Akinyemi said.
"For us in the NIIA, our mandate is to explain
international issues and enlighten the general public. Since we don’t have
experts on Islamic banking, we thought it wise to bring different experts in the
fields. This is the rationale behind the brainstorming session,” the Acting
Director-General of NIIA, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, said