By NBF News
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National Secretary, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Pastor Wale Adefarasin, has provided guidelines on what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must do to tackle the issue of Islamic banking in the country.

According to Adefarasin, 'what CBN must now do is to issue guidelines for profit and loss sharing banking or non-interest banking, and to allow the various faith groups to regulate the faith-based aspects of their banking services within the parameters set by CBN. That way, the faith-based aspect of banking will not be brought under CBN, thus preserving the secularity of the Nigerian state, contrary to position under the current guidelines.'

He said failure to accept this simple solution by CBN suggests that the goal was not simply the introduction of non-interest banking, but the Islamisation of CBN, and the further erosion of the secularity of the Nigerian state. The cleric noted that it was possible to have full fledged non-interest banking if only CBN would follow the proffered way.

'In fact, Islamic banking has been introduced in this way in countries such as the United Kingdom and US, to which Lamido Sanusi is fond of referring,' he stated.

'The secularity of Nigerian state has been compromised through a number of insidious steps such as the membership or affiliation of the state or its organs to faith- based organizations. The most notable of these was the introduction by military fiat, under the Babangida regime, of a decree, which removed the word 'personal' from every reference in the constitution to 'sharia personal law'. This became part of the 1999 Constitution, and was the basis on which 12 Nigerian states shed their secularity to become Islamic states,' he explained.

He further said: 'The truth is that from the very foundation of Nigeria, there has been acceptance and understanding, that while Nigerians are people of multiple faiths, the Nigerian state is secular and must continue to remain so otherwise we run the serious risk of national disintegration. The founding fathers of Nigeria along with our former colonial masters recognized this and enshrined secularity in our constitutions from the very beginning.'