by Peregrino Brimah
In 2013 when I wrote the article, “CBN: The Poverty In Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Legacy,” apart from discussing how the charismatic bank manager-turned Central bank governor had played a central role in the Jonathan regime’s impoverishment of Nigerians, I tried to explain how the governor’s “Islamic banking” proposition was not what it seemed. Many thought Sanusi was trying to introduce Sharia banking to Nigeria. I painstakingly in the article explained that this was not the case. The World Bank protégé remembered for being behind Jonathan’s New Year fuel subsidy removal “gift” that led to protests across the nation, was only trying to introduce regulation of the questionable “Islamic”profiteering banking products, and to open them up for non Muslim banks to benefit from the ability to sell the “Shariah” services. Quoting from that article:
“Shariah banking has always been offered in Nigeria. Sanusi did not introduce Shariah banking as many were pissed thinking he did. All Sanusi introduced was “regulation of Islamic banking.” That entire rigmarole and squabble which had a prominent northern Muslim declaring to wage war, and had Christian leaders promising brimstone, had little to do with Islam or Islamic finance and everything to do with CBN control, big bank opportunity and global regulation of all people including all Muslims’ money.”
On A Mission To Deconstruct Islam
Today, as Emir of Kano and Nigeria’s Number two Muslim leader, his royal highness Muhammad Sanusi II seems inadvertently on a mission to reform Islam in tandem with World bank policies. I will not judge the Emir’s intentions, that God alone should and can. However, the implications of his continuous zealous utterances cannot be debated. Everyday, it seems the Emir releases a new ambiguous statement that stabs at the heart of conventional Islamic thinking and offers solutions based on western societies and the World bank. Being a man of very high intellect, I find it hard to imagine the Emir does not realise the likely (mis)interpretation of his loose statements via the press.
Recently the Emir inadvertently associated the Islamic and African cultural practice of polygamy with poverty. I found it necessary to contest that association and debate his proposed pauper polygamy ban. Last week, the Emir discounted what I believe is the religiously accepted understanding that afflictions are a punishment for the sins of humanity. While we all appreciate the necessity for governments to properly prevent and rapidly manage disease outbreaks at the focus of Sanusi’s concerns, it was again necessary for me to challenge the Emir’s invalidation of the spiritual dimensions of suffering and death.
But hardly had the dust settled than the Emir in today’s news, linked Shariah law with poverty. Headlines in the dailies carry the caption, “Zamfara started Sharia, today it has highest poverty rate —Sanusi.”
The Emir allegedly made this utterance at the Mo Ibrahim Forum in Marrakesh, Morocco this weekend. He said, “Zamfara State started Sharia in Nigeria; it has the highest rate of poverty in the country today.”
Again, I am not judging the Emir’s intentions, but the negative impacts of his statements cannot be denied. Shariah is linked with poverty, is the message most readers will take away from this. I am not sure this is what the Emir thinks, but either way this is another hard blow at Islam’s core, delivered by the nation’s #2 Muslim leader.
I believe there is no ambiguity in the fact that Islam recommends Quran-based law among Muslims (Quran 24:2; 5:48). Likewise, the Bible advocates Bible-based judgement among its adherents over the patronage of public courts, as is read in 1 Corinthians 6:1-9: “If any of you has a legal dispute against another, do you dare go to court before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?…” Thus it would be unusual for a Muslim or Judeo-Christian leader to prefer, propose or promote otherwise among his own. Get another job.
A Statistical Analysis
Certain associations are meaningless. What does it mean to say that Zamfara state started Sharia first and is the poorest state? This is like saying that Ghana got independence first in West Africa, three years before Nigeria and thus should not be poor. Most northern states introduced Shariah law within a span of just one year, from 2000 to 2001. Does this meaningfully put any state ahead in a so-called race in a way of any analytical relevance for discussions on the impact of the law and possible associations with poverty? Most certainly not. Zamfara state might be poor for 100 different reasons.
Again, while the Emir relied on statistical data from the World Bank which puts Zamfara just marginally ahead of Yobe state in some (not all) indices of poverty, statistics from Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics puts Sokoto state as the poorest state with Zamfara nine states richer. Again checking the same World bank data, just two years earlier, Bauchi and Kebbi states were poorer than Zamfara state. Would this mean that for the initial 14 years, being the first to introduce Shariah law was beneficial to Zamfara state? Of course not. This is senseless and a harmful, corrupt application of data.
Statistically, the alleged association of the timing of the introduction of Shariah law to Zamfara state and poverty is unfounded and meaningless and only ends up creating an unevidenced negative perception of possible economic impacts of Shariah law in the minds of Moroccans, Nigerians and all other foreign listeners and readers. I believe it would be the first time in popular knowledge that Shariah law gets associated with poverty. Rather there are links of Muslim “Golden age” economies with prosperity as against today’s debt-drenched colonialism-grown economies, with team leader USA owing over 19 trillion dollars (each citizen’s portion being about $60,000). This is why any such inference from Sanusi’s latest statement is misguided and unfortunate. Indeed it is easier and perhaps more accurate to say that Zamfara is poor because its name starts with alphabet “Z” or because two out of three of its governors’ names start with the letter “Y.”
Perhaps the respected globally knowledgeable Emir would rather be in the World Bank or back at Nigeria’s Central bank where he is supremely skilled at setting interest rates – denounced in the Bible and Quran (references below) – and managing related globalist services which God’s law discourages. There is little doubt that many of his utterances are more in line with these agencies, with more quotes and details from them than from the Muslim Quran. This perhaps is one of the reasons why Islam is not believed to support dynasty rule.
“Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity.” (Quran 2:275)
“(If a man) lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:13 ESV)
Is there a conflict of interest here?
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian