Bishop Urges Christians to Embrace Islamic Banking

A Bishop in the Dioceses of Chris Temple Ministry International, Bishop Goodluck Akpore, said opponents of Islamic Banking in Nigeria are ignorant of the products the bank offers as it is not against Christians in the country.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of Jaiz Bank Plc in Abuja, the Bishop who is also the Chairman of Onitsha zone shareholder association said he was going to preach to his congregation to buy into the bank.

Bishop Goodluck Akpore of the Christ Temple International Ministry has called on Christians to embrace and support the operations of Non-Interest Banking (popularly known as Islamic banking) which is being promoted by Jaiz Bank in Nigeria.

The Economic Confidential learnt that Jaiz Bank which is the first to be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate a non-interest bank in the country would soon establish more offices to cater for its teeming and increasing customers that include Christians and Igbo traders.

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, National President of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) has kicked against the operation of Islamic Banking in Nigeria saying it would Islamised the country and described the operation of the bank as a “total disregard” to the Nigerian Constitution and the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act of 1991, as amended.

But Bishop Akpore who spoke at the 9th Annual General Meeting of Jaiz Bank Plc, in Abuja, urged Christians to embrace the bank’s non-interest banking system. He also described Jaiz bank as transparent and prudent judging by its financial report, adding that no bank in Nigeria could be bold to give a thorough and details analysis of its expenditures.

“This is a thorough bank, I am a bishop, the highest authority in the Christian fold, I want to commend Central Bank of Nigeria for allowing the bank to stay and thereby encouraging all Christians to buy into the shares. Jaiz Bank is what we need in this country, it is the epitome of what an ideal bank supposed to be, it is transparent and can enhance the confidence of the shareholders.”

According to him, since the bank is established based on transparency and integrity, Christians should be encouraged to invest in the bank

“One thing that is important, don’t forget this, what are the instruments that control the management and operations of this bank, what are the instrument for the conventional banks?

“You have CAMA, you have Investments and. Securities Act (ISA) which is for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2011.

“These are the same instruments that are used today to operate these banks in this country, and this is what they are using, so what is the big deal.’’

He said the position of the CAN president on the operation of Jaiz bank did not represent the general opinion of Christians.

“We have gone to meet him severally (CAN president Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor), and we have tried to tell them that what you have on your mind cannot be for me, I have my own opinion. Business is a personal issue.

“ Let Christians go and establish Christian bank if it’s possible, if you want to do it, you go and establish and this same people will come and invest.

“Christians are not against this bank because it is not intended to foster the activities of Muslims, it intends to foster stability in the banking industry in Nigeria.’’

The bishop, who is also the Chairman of the bank’s shareholders association, Onitsha branch, urged the bank to include both Christians and Muslims in its board.

He also advised the bank’s management to embark on aggressive publicity to explain the basic operations of the bank to Nigerians.

He described Jaiz bank as transparent and prudent judging by its financial report, adding that no bank in Nigeria could be bold to give a thorough and details analysis of its expenditures.

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