I think this is one of those instances where CAN has gotten it sadly wrong. A cursory study would have seen that the FGN’s SUKUK Road Development Fund is for the purpose of building selected roads, which are specific and have been listed. Secondly, it is structured to appeal to Muslims especially in only one key matter—the issue of interest which they are forbidden to earn. To do this, what is earned is not in fact interest but a profit—which is called jara (in my Jos Hausa) and is perfectly allowed for them. How is this profit generated? By building the roads from the proceeds of the subscription and then leasing these roads for a seven year period for which FGN pays a rent. It is this rent that is then divided to all subscribers in proportion to the number of units they bought. Thirdly, what happens after seven years? The roads become the property of FGN and your initial subscription is returned to you.
Now, to the gravy. The rate of return on the subscription is set at 16.47% and is compounded twice a year no questions asked. Even the best alternative funds give, currently, around 18%, compounded quarterly, and you are at the mercy of the markets.
When CAN takes up the trumpet that the FGN SUKUK Fund is to “islamize” Nigeria, I ask whether the roads built with the funds will be used by Muslim travellers only? When it speaks of foreign Arab investors buying subscriptions, I ask whether they did not read that the roads revert to the FGN after seven years? When the full details are HERE?
The effect of this time of unintelligent criticism is that gradually one stops being taken seriously. And this would be a sad, sad place for an organization like CAN. We saw this process happen when the Pentecostals were busy yelling their heads off about the former administration being a god-sent. We have seen it with the inevitable loss of relevance when earlier, extremely blind and partisan criticism from the North attended the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, with the wholesale manufacture of conspiracy theories. We have seen it too, not two years in, in the criticism currently attending the Buhari administration. We see it most shamelessly in the quite comical opposition of the thoroughly incompetent and delusional Shehu Sani in Kaduna State. Why court this disastrous effect?
Me, I bought my fifty kobo units because even though it does not yield me the best returns in the interim, I think it is important to put my fifty kobo where my mouth is regarding support for this government (despite my disappointments) and development for the country. My thinking is, if we cannot help, let us not hinder. And that is the core of all that is sad about this criticism from CAN.
NB: 1. I presently identify as an Unbeliever, with no religious beliefs whatsoever, even if my background is one acutely familiar with the issues of indigenous protestant Christianity, Pentecostal Christianity and all the country’s variations of Islam from Sufi to the Wahabis.
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