On SUKUK Sharia-compliant bond: a pragmatic analysis of religious vs socio-economic implications [update]
By Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, Ph.D. and Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies Ph.D
Nemo judex in causa sua and audi alteram partem out of the windows in this Buhari/ Fulani led administration…
The purpose of this Paper is to remind us of the urgent need to have a reflection on the future of lives of Nigerians generally as well as Christianity in Nigeria and its implication to the unity of our great country.
The point must be made here in black and white, that the concept of “Interest-Free-Loan” in Islam is an economic scam designed as a subtle scheme by the Arab Muslim World to re-colonize Black Africa. The Sukuk Bond, far from being an interest-free-loan is a contraption of economic bondage that clandestinely relies on sharing of profits accruing from the associated investment. Thus the question is which is better— To pay interest on a given loan and retain your right of ownership of your business venture, OR To share ownership of a business venture with the Sukuk providers?
The point must again be made here, that the major indicator of Sukuk Bond is the loss of ownership of your property or business outfit to the Sukuk provider. To put it again in the undiluted words of Mohd Nazri Bin Chik, Member of the Shariah Supervisory Council of Amana Bank and Head of Sharia Division of Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad:
“Sukuk providers have a right to the ownership of the underlying asset and its cash-flows”. Does this sound like interest-free-loan? This is the fundamental question every Nigerian and Christian leader of this nation need to address before it is too late.
NOW, THEY ARE USING THE N100 BILLION NAIRA TO FIX THE ROADS OF THE 36 STATES OF NIGERIA economically; and we are all watching as they are also infiltrating forcefully and their footmen are encroaching into the entire space of Nigeria gradually to take over their possession in the North, West, East and South.
Beyond the matter of loss of ownership and sharing of profit, is the question of Shari’a compliance. According to Bin Chik again, “Funds raised [under Sukuk] must be used for Shariah compliant (Halal) activities”, or as Latham and Watkins put it: “the assets or businesses underlying the Sukuk must be Shariah compliant….”
The question here again is, does the introduction of Sukuk Bond into Nigeria’s Federal national budgetary system not the imposition of Sharia economy on Nigeria and thus an action in the process of Fulanization and Islamization Arab Muslim World to re-colonize us?
But the most underlying principle of Sukuk Bond is not just about borrowing, but on its Neo-colonial precept of “If I provide you a loan to finance a project, I automatically become a joint-owner of that project. It is therefore not just about paying the accruing interest or paying back the loan”. Financing any aspect of Nigeria’s budget through the Sukuk Bond would definitely mean allowing for the joint ownership of the asset or project called the “Federal Republic of Nigeria” with the Arab issuing Houses.
Please note that, “Sukuk is the Islamic equivalent of bonds and they are similar to asset-backed securities. Whereas a conventional bond is a promise to repay a loan, Sukuk constitutes partial ownership in receivables
In practice, Islamic finance often involves structuring transactions in a manner that closely mimics conventional finance insofar as a periodic rate of return is provided. In certain types of Sukuk instruments, a predetermined rate of return is often paid to the investor; this rate is based on the expected return of the underlying assets that collateralize the Sukuk. In the case of debt-like financing by Islamic banks, interest is not charged; instead, debtors will provide predetermined and periodic payments to the bank, based on the expected profit that would accrue to the underlying asset (in the case of a capital investment), or on the rent that might be charged for the use of the underlying asset (in the case of a home or car loan).
How can the Federal Government explain this fact in the context of using the proceeds of this financial bond to construct our national roads? Does it not translate to joint ownership of our ancestral roads, thus lands with Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations? Does it not translate to right of constructing Mosques on any part of the said roads without hindrance? Furthermore, is it not another means of re-introducing the failed grazing path policy for the murderous Fulani herdsmen? If the Federal Government needs private investors in road construction must it come by Sukuk Bond?
We make this statement on behalf of all well meaning Nigerians, especially the Christians in Nigeria, mindful of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which according to Chapter 1, Section1, Sub-section 1 explicitly states: “This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
It is therefore incumbent on those who hold the reins of power in this Federal Republic of Nigeria– a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation to remain sacrosanct in the application of the above section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, irrespective of one’s ethnic or religious bias.
We wish to state categorically without mincing words, that part of our fears and the major reason for our consistent opposition to the Presidency of General Muhammadu Buhari during his electioneering campaign and after is the question of his unquenchable policy of Islamization which he pursues with fundamentalist vigour and impunity. We Nigerians are too intellectually advanced and sophisticated to be veneered with only one aspect of “CORRUPTION” which is defined in financial terms only.
The idea, concept and practice of corruption are explicitly set by our common sense. The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary defines corruption as, “The act of corrupting; Dishonesty and Lack of integrity, also, Bribery; Moral deterioration; Depravity; Vice; Physical decay; rot; any corrupting influence; the changing of a text, word, etc, from the original; debasement; also an instance of this.” Without due respect to its phantom anti-corruption war, the present Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari remains by every indices of corruption the most corrupt administration since the inception of Nigeria as a sovereign nation.
Part II, Chapter IV, Section 42, Sub-section I (a) and (b) clearly states: A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason of only that he is such a person– (a) be subjected either expressly by or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religious or political opinions are not made subject, or (b) accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religious or political opinions.
Our history is replete with incidents of crass violations of this provision of the Nigerian Constitution with impunity by those who swore to obey, defend, and protect it; while those leaders whose moral, spiritual and political integrities demand their consistent and unflinching opposition against such desecrations standing akimbo with capricious mental declivity and unfathomable paranoiac syndrome of defeatism.
Remember, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and the seventh-most populous country in the world, with an estimated population of 206 million. Nigeria is a multinational state inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups (51 Major) speaking 500 distinct languages, all identifying with a wide variety of cultures. The three largest ethnic groups are the Yoruba in the west, the Igbo in the east, the Hausa–Fulani in the north, together comprising over 60% of the total population with the minorities others.
To-date, the official language is English, chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the national level. Nigeria’s constitution ensures freedom of religion; and it is home to one of the world’s largest Christian and Muslim populations, simultaneously. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the south; Muslims, who live mostly in the north, with minorities practicing indigenous religions, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities. There is no room for fundamental Islamism in the Nigerian Constitution.
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By Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, Ph.D. and Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies Ph.D