The Christian Association of Nigeria has opposed the floating of the Sukuk Islamic bond by the Federal Government, alleging it is meant to Islamise the country through the back door.
CAN, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by its General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake, demanded the abrogation of the laws and framework behind the bond and threatened to seek legal redress if that was not done.
The group said the FG was trying to sell the nation to Arab countries through the Sukuk Bond, arguing that the government was pursuing an Islamisation agenda.
According to the Christian body, Nigeria is a secular state and the government is expected to be neutral on issues involving religion. It argued that the promotion of a sectional religious financial policy was a violation of the Constitution.
It said, “The Christian Association of Nigeria has been protesting against this aberration since the Osun State Government, under Governor Rafiu Aregbesola, embarked on this violation of the Constitution.
“Rather than stand in the defence of the constitution, it is disappointing to note that the Federal Government is pursuing what is an outright confirmation of an Islamisation agenda.
“The recent floating of Sukkuk Bond by the government is not only sectional but illegal and a violation of the Constitution. Every law that has been promulgated to back the Sukuk issuance and promote an Islamic banking system in Nigeria is ultra vires, illegal, null and void.”
The organisation said there was never a time Nigeria held a referendum or convened a Constituent Assembly that passed a resolution that the nation had transmute into an Islamic State.
“Therefore, the manipulations and scheming to smuggle the country into a full blown Islamic state should stop; these manipulations became apparent with the smuggling of Nigeria into the Organisation of Islamic Conference in 1986 by the Ibrahim Babangida military junta,” Asake said.
The group added that the International Monetary Fund had stated that the issuance of Sukuk by non-Islamic countries was a breach of the religious neutrality of the government of such states.
“The FG must dismantle all legal and institutional framework established to promote Islamic financing in Nigeria.
“We affirm that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is undermined through the issuance of Sukuk in the country. We hope that the government shall desist from its policies of unbridled religious sectionalism,” CAN said.
But the Federal Government in its reaction denied any plan to Islamicise country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the financial initiative was borne out of the need to include people who are opposed to interest-yielding enterprises.
He said, “Sukuk is not an attempt to Islamise Nigeria in any form. On the contrary, it is an attempt at financial inclusiveness. The difference between Sukuk Bond and other bonds is that if you invest in Sukkuk bond, you earn no interest.
“So, the scheme appeals to many people who don’t believe that money should gather interest. They, however, engage in profit sharing in the sense that if the government makes a profit from the bond, they give the investor a part of it but if the government makes no profit, the investor is not entitled to anything.”