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NO TO ISLAMIC BANKING -OSITELU, OTHERS

By NBF News
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Criticisms continued to trail the proposed Islamic banking system, yesterday, as more Christian bodies kicked against its introduction into the nation's financial sector.

Primate and the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, Most Rev. Rufus Ositelu, the Nnewi Diocese of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and the National Prayer Movement all expressed their misgivings on the motive behind the planned non-interest banking by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Speaking at a press conference, addressed by all Head of Churches in Abuja, Ositelu, who also doubles as the vice-president of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), stated that the idea of Islamic banking should be jettisoned for now to avoid another spate of religious insurgence.

'I wonder why at this time that our country is pleading to God to heal the wounds already inflicted on innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram insurgence, some cliques would yet be craving for Islamic banking. This is totally unconstitutional and should be forbidden,' Ositelu stated.

He called on the National Assembly to scrap all illegitimate religious entities in the country and legislate against such entities.

Also speaking against the non-interest banking system, a group, the National Prayer Movement, faulted the timing of its introduction, saying the proponents had not come out with the real reasons behind the banking system.

In a statement, signed by the group's General Secretary, Oluwagbemiga Olakunle, the CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido, was asked to explain how funds from Islamic banking would not fall into the hands of religious fundamentalists like members of the Boko Haram.

'However, the proponents have not assured us that the banking system will not be used to launder money or as a channel to finance Islamic fundamentalists or sects. They need to prove to us beyond reasonable doubt that the banking system will not be used by Al-Qaeda or Saudi Arabia to prosecute Jihad in Nigeria,' the statement read in parts.

The group accused the proponents of Islamic banking as insensitive to national security and the feelings of adherents of other religions in the country.

In the same vein, the Diocese of the Anglican Church Communion, Nnewi, urged Nigerians to kick against Islamic banking, saying it was a ploy to Islamize the country.

Addressing journalists, yesterday, Director of Communications of the Diocese, Rev. Hygi Aghaulo, stated that interest-free banking system was not new to the country as it has been in practice in Igbo community for ages under the name Isusu.

Alleging that the Islamic banking system was one of the conditions to enroll in the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), Aghaulo warned that if allowed to take off, money belonging to other faiths should not be used to fund the bank.