President Muhammadu Buhari, has debunked
the claims by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, that there is
an underground plan to Islamise the country, with the recent issuance of
its N100 billion Sukuk bond.
Buhari who was ably represented by the
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, made this disclosure on the
side-lines of an Investor Conference, organised by Stanbic IBTC Bank, in
Recall, that CAN had last week kicked against the floating of the Sukuk Islamic bond, by the Federal Government.
It alleged that the move has further
confirmed its fears that the government was planning to Islamise the
country through the back door.
Adeosun said: “Sukuk is part of our programme to deepen the financial
market. Interestingly, it predated us. The Committee started work in
2011. So, they have been working on it for six years, to structure
products that would be compliant. Really, the Sukuk is about two things –
one is about raising money and deepening the financial market.
“We need to include many people in the
market, to raise the money that is needed for infrastructure. We have
already introduced the savings bond, which is for small investors. They
were saying that the process of getting into government securities was
“So, we made the product for them. And
this is another product. We have other products that we are coming up
with. So, there is no religious driver behind it. It is really a
financial product to meet financial needs.”
She added: “This particular one of N100
billion, is going to be used for road projects. We have identified the
road projects that it is going to be tied to, and there is no religious
attachment to it. South Africa even did a sovereign Sukuk before
Nigeria. So, there is no Islamisation agenda at all.”
The Minister said not every investor
wanted to put their money into regular bonds and treasury bills, and as
such, there was the need to get everyone on board.
On concerns that the funds raised from
Sukuk must be used for Sharia-compliant activities strictly, the
Minister said: “That is part of what is called the ethical investment. A
lot of people for example, don’t want their funds invested in
particular items, such breweries, among others.
“Funny, a lot of investors that we have
been marketing the bond to, are just looking at the yield. So, it is
really just another product which we hope would deepen the market and
bring more people in. Not everybody wants to do bond or treasury bills.
And we are still going to bring out many more products.”