The National Old Peoples Association (Glorious Favour) yesterday backed the establishment of Islamic banking in Nigeria, saying it is the people’s right to enjoy a better life.
A statement in Lagos by its Chairman, Primate Ayola Omonigbehin, noted that the right for the religious banking system is in the Constitution and in the Bible.
Quoting Chapter Four, Section 33 of the Constitution and Isaiah 25:6, the group urged “all Christian organisations to supplement this developmental idea of building welfare and eradicating crimes in the country”.
It said the United States became great through social assistance for the poor and by “giving money and land free for agricultural/food projects to enable people become economically active…”
Saying the conventional banking system was fraught with fraud, the association urged the government to allow the non-interest banking system to work in the interest of the people.
“We, therefore, appeal to all unreasonable, selfish bodies, organisations that might be the destroyers of better living conditions to support what is right and good for all. Let us set apart sentiments and face realities and move the nation forward,” it said.
Muslim lawyers, under the aegis of Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN) have said the introduction of the religious banking system was not a Northern agenda, assuring that it would not Islamise the country.
MULAN said Islamic banking is provided for in the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2004, adding that it was introduced by former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo.
In a statement in Kaduna by its President Tajudeen Oladoja, the group said Sections Nine, 23 and 52 of the Act provides for the establishment of the religious banking system.
The statement reads: “It was in consequence of these provisions that the former Habib Bank, now Bank PHB, was given an approval in 1992 to operate a window of Islamic banking, which is still operational in the bank till today.
“Islam is not the only religion that denies or prohibits usury; it is perhaps because the rules of prohibition are quite prescriptive and structured that the banking system has achieved world prominence in a short space of time.”