It is now over to the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to repackage Nigerian Islam by turning it into a modern religious movement whose primary role is attracting Islamic Finance

Ayo Akinfe

[1] Do you know that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was founded in 1969? Sine then, it has provided billions of dollars worth of funding for its members to help them with infrastructural development. Hopefully the death of Deborah Samuel will lead to a rethink in the way Nigeria relates with the body

[2] Nigeria joined the IOC in 1986 but alas, I am still struggling to see what we have got out of it. We cannot boast of attracting $1bn worth of investment, while the likes of Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, etc, can boats of attacting hundreds of millions of dollars

[3] I think it is time Nigerian Muslims ask their leaders in the NSCIA why our country is yet to benefit from its membership of the OIC, which has helped secured billions of loans in for infrastructural development for its 57 members

[4] Across Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, etc, Islamic finance is being used to build railway lines, dams, tunnels, conference centres, five star hotels, bridges, power plants, etc. I want to know why Nigeria has not benefitted in a similar manner to these countries

[5] In Turkey for instance, do you know that the Islamic Development Bank provided more than $40bn in trade finance for its exporters during the course of 2019? Turkish hazelnuts, raisins, dried fruit, etc are exported worldwide using trade finance supplied by Islamic banks. Has the Nigerian groundnut, cashew, cocoa, cassava, yam, shea nut, etc sectors received $1 of such financing?

[6] As if that is not enough, the Islamic Development Bank provided funding for two major Turkish rail projects. It funded the Gaziray Suburban Line and Light Rail Transit Project (€63m) and the Kayseri Light Rail Transit Project (€30m). I think Nigerian Muslims should be insisting that $20bn be made available to fund a Lagos to Abuja high speed rail link

[7] Do you know that in the UK, there are five licensed, fully Sharia-compliant banks, with more than 20 other banks offering some form of Islamic banking. Across the UK, there is more than £500m of Islamic funds, hosting the issue of 65 sukuk (bonds), worth £35bn. Just imagine if we had access to that £35bn in Nigeria. We need at least that annually to fund our infrastructural deficit

[8] One of the beauties of Islamic Finance is that the interest on its loans are very low. I love Islamic Finance because their banks do not charge exorbitant rates as they only cover their costs. Under no circumstances will repayments enter into double digits for instance

[9] Post-Brexit, Islamic Development Banks are all targeting the UK for investment because they believe all the European investors will pull out of the country. President Buhari should look to use the opportunity to attract them to Nigeria too. The best time to talk to banks is when they are in a spending mood

[10] I am now throwing down the gauntlet to the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the president of the NSCIA. He should set an annual investment target of at least $20bn. Every genuine Nigerian Muslim should see it as their patriotic duty to bring Islamic investment into the country if we are to overcome our infrastructural deficit. Surely, that is more important to them than the US and Iran slugging it out.