The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has condemned the recent floating of the Sukuk Islamic bond by the President Muhammadu Buhari- led federal government, describing it as another evidence of the government’s relentless intention to convert the nation to an Islamic country.
CAN made the accusation on Tuesday in a statement signed and released by its General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake.
The Christian body demanded the immediate abrogation of the laws and framework behind the bond and threatened to sue the government to court if that was not done.
CAN insisted that Nigeria was a secular state and the government was expected to be neutral on issues involving religion.
The statement reads in part: “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.”
“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 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.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had earlier rubbished the accusations by CAN insisting the Sukuk bond was not meant to Islamise the county.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the financial initiative was borne out of the need to include people who were 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.”