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Shariah banks not created to Islamise Nigeria — CBN gov

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Sunday expressed relief that Nigerians have fully embraced the introduction of Islamic banking years after speculations made the round that it was an attempt to Islamise the country

This was disclosed by the CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, at a reception organised to honour the Secretary-General, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Arbitration Centre, Dr Umar Oseni in Abuja.

Cardoso, who was represented by the CBN Director of Legal Services, Kofo Salam-Alada, hinted that more shariah-compliant banks are being considered due to the immense benefits it has brought to the citizens, especially those into small and medium-scale businesses.

The apex bank governor further noted that he was quite impressed that Islamic financial institutions like Jaiz, Tajj, and Alternate Bank have stood the test of time since their establishment.

He said, “Some years back, the Central Bank of Nigeria started a journey for the introduction of the Islamic Banking and Financing in Nigeria. It came when a young man was appointed governor of CBN. But most people never knew that the first person who spearheaded the journey was to be a pastor of the church.

“He was also a part-time pastor when this journey started. So it was never an attempt to Islamise Nigeria or Islamise financing in Nigeria. When the Prince (Emir Sanusi) came, he continued the journey.

And that journey saw some of us, one of you, who is standing before you today, that started the transaction documents that started the relationship with one institution that Dr. Umar Oseni headed for about eight years.

“I am not advertising, but I can say we are proud of Jaiz, Tajj, and Alternate Bank and I believe many more will come. We are happy to drive on roads financed by Sukkuk in Nigeria and more billions will still come. So many products are on the card and Central Bank of Nigeria will not rest until financing gets to the grassroots.”

Reacting, Dr Oseni appreciated the audience who turned up at the event to celebrate his new appointment, saying they are the reason he has come far in life.

The OIC chief also expressed conviction that Islamic banking has come to stay in the country.

“We are living in a world where we are all interconnected. Let us ensure that we make a positive impact on anybody that comes our way. Touch the person positively without expecting appreciation.

“The focus of the OIC Arbitration Centre basically is on investment, financing, and commercial dispute resolution. So, in all the bilateral treaties Nigeria is entering into with other countries, we are going to ensure that there is a clause for dispute settlements,” he assured.

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