Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi has accused some Nigerians of manipulating religion to hide the truth.
He spoke against the backdrop of the controversy that followed the introduction of the interest-free financial system, also known as Islamic banking.
Sanusi, who was a guest at The Companion’s 5th National Discourse, an association of Muslim men in business and professions, held at the University of Lagos, said CBN has made efforts to explain to people that there is nothing like Islamization of Islam give land.
However, he said that the CBN could not stop because of the few people who refused to listen to Apex Bank’s explanations, noting that the benefits of the Islamic banking model were enormous.
But Sanusi noted that 10 years later the conversation had changed and said there was no reason Nigeria could not be the center of Islamic banking in Africa.
According to him, the non-Muslim later accepted it after considering the huge benefits involved since 40 percent of those who originally subscribed to Jaiz Bank shares were non-Muslims.
“We tried our best to explain it. If people choose not to explain it, we can’t stop because of those people. Now Islamic banking, 10 years ago, the conversation in Nigeria 10 years later is very different than it was 10 years ago.
“We’ve had people who know the truth or don’t want to know the truth but manipulate religion for other reasons.”
The Islamic financial system, Sanusi said, has sparked unnecessary controversy along religious divides, with people accusing it of an Islamization agenda.
The guest speaker, Prof. AbdulRazzaq Alaro from the Institute of Islamic Law at the University of Ilorin, debunked the allegation that Islamic banking has an agenda to Islamize Nigeria.
He noted that Islamic finance has helped countries achieve development goals while there have been many benefits to the government and people of Nigeria.
Furthermore, he said Islamic banking had brought about inter-religious harmony, adding:
“Those of us in the industry know that many of the customers and board members of Islamic financial institutions are non-Muslims and this contributes to peaceful coexistence,” Alaro said.
The Companion’s national president, Kamil Olalekan, said the theme was chosen to educate the public about the benefits of Islamic banking, adding that it aligns with their goal of strategic and community engagement.