Dayo Fasasi,

The Apex bank- Central Bank of Nigeria has approved the operation of the First Islamic Bank in the country. CBN has licensed the Jaiz Bank. The Bank, which has been operating as a micro bank for sometimes now got licensed over the weekend. The bank is now expected to be the first Islamic Bank in Nigeria, to operate nationally.

In a meeting organized with the President-General of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Saad Abubakar IV, in Abuja on Monday May 16th, Jaiz Bank’s Chairman, Umaru Mutallab announced the approval.

“As a regional bank, Jaiz has operated in 12 states (in Northern Nigeria) but with the new license we can now spread to all parts of the country. We will open branches in the 36 states of the federation”.Mutallab says

An Islamic Bank is expected to render Non-Interest Banking services to clients. Non-Interest Banking is a profit growing global phenomenon practiced in nearly 70 countries all over the world including, United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, United Arab Emirate, Malaysia, China, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya etc. Global Banks like HSBC, Citibank, Barclays Bank just to mention a few. are also offering it.  This is an alternative financial service offering which is open to all irrespective of race or religion.

It is based on ethical principle of fairness, transparency and objectivity. Non-Interest Banking offers almost all the services offered by conventional banks except that they do not give or receive interest, nor finance anything that is harmful to society like alcohol, tobacco, gambling etc. It also seeks to avoid gharar- speculation, uncertainty deception and more.

Currently, about 50% of Nigeria’s total population of 155 million are craving for such Non-Interest banking services. These people are desirous of ethical banking services which provide for socially responsible investment outlets.

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