- Category: Politics
- Published on Saturday, 16 June 2012 13:40
- Written by Elombah.com
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday ruled that the operation license granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to any Islamic commercial jurisprudence bank under non interest financial services is "unlawful, illegal, ultra vires, null and void." Justice Gabriel Kolawole gave the ruling while delivering judgment in a suit filed by an
Abuja-based lawyer, Sunday Ogboji.
The Plaintiff was challenging the apex bank for issuing operation licence to JAIZ Islamic Bank.
The Defendants were the CBN, its governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the AG Of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.
Delivering judgment, Justice Gabriel Kolawole said the plaintiff ought to have sought the approval of the AGF before filing his case. He said had it not been that Ogboji, lacked the locus standi to institute the action, he would have nullified the license issued to the Jaiz International Bank PLC.
He noted that the Plaintiff did not help his case by not joining the bank as a defendant.
Justice Kolawole said the guidelines issued by the CBN upon which the Islamic Banking license was granted had no statutory basis upon which its legality can be substantiated.
The court held that Jaiz Bank can only be established in the country with the intervention of the National Assembly by amending the BOFI Act.
Ogboji had asked the court to hold that only the National Assembly can lawfully designate the other Banks provided for in the Banks and other financial institutions act (BOFIA) chapter B2 L.F.N. 2004 to the exclusion of any other body or institution.
But the defendants argued that section 33 (1)(b) of the CBN Act empowers the CBN governor to issue license for the operation of commercial banks and that section 66 (b) of BOFIA gives CBN the power to issue licenses to specialized banks.
Kolawole said that specialized banks mentioned in the BOFIA are banks such as the Federal Mortgage Bank, Peoples Bank and National Industrial Bank and does not contemplate a bank with religious connotation such as the Islamic banking.