A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday, declared the non-interest financial institution operating under the principles of Islamic jurisprudence as illegal and unconstitutional.
Delivering judgement, in a suit filed by one Godwin Sunday Igboji, challenging the licence issued to Jaiz Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Justice Gabriel Kolawole, held that had it not been that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to institute the action, he would have nullified the licence issued to the Jaiz International Bank Plc to carry out Islamic banking in the country.
According to him,”There are no provisions in the CBN Act and the banks provided for in the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) that empowers the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to issue license for non-interest financial institution to operate under the principles of Islamic jurisprudence without the approval of the Head of State through the Minister of Finance.
‘’Unlike the other specialised bank, the Jaiz International Bank Plc can only be established in the country with the intervention of the National Assembly by amending the BOFIA Act.
‘’If not that the plaintiff has no locus standi to maintain this action, I would have nullified the illegal license issued to the Jaiz International Bank PLC by the CBN to operate non-interest banking under the principles of Islamic jurisprudence.
‘’This case is hereby struck out for lack of locus standi, but the AGF should take steps to remedy the situation, and further ensure that the CBN carries out its duties within the provisions of the law establishing it,” he argued.
Ogboji had asked the court to declare a license issued to Jaiz International Bank Plc by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) illegal, null and void.
The plaintiff had joined the CBN Governor, and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as co-defendants.
He asked the court to hold that the CBN’s guidelines for the regulation and supervision of institutions offering non-interest financial services in Nigeria under Islamic commercial jurisprudence published in the Thisday newspaper of June 23, 2011 is ultra vires, illegal, null and void.