When some renowned Nigerian intellectuals like Prof. Pat Utomi were describing Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as emotional, reckless, with a penchant to play to the gallery over his banking reforms about a year ago, I was inclined to give Sanusi the benefit of the doubt. When Sanusi himself gave the terroristic antics of the Western dominated, racist, obtuse, morally delinquent IMF leadership’s destructive economic recommendations against African best interests a TKO, in March, 2011, I was completely bowled over to Sanusi’s side. I started seeing him, along with Prof. Attahiru Jega, as the first two potential Nigerian presidential materials to blossom out of the North in our recent history. Sanusi’s dumb announcement in April, 2011, to limit individual customers’ daily money bank withdrawals and lodgments to N150,000.00 confirmed beyond doubt that our Pat Utomis were right all along about their assessment of Sanusi as being bereft of substance and full of drama, hyperbole, and with a dangerous streak of misplaced arrogance.
May be his recent award as the World’s Central Bank Governor of the year got into his head and he decided to play God. He even boasts about not going back on his plans as if his mandate as the Nigeria Central Bank Governor stretches to the point of limiting how much cash an individual bank customer can withdraw from or lodge daily in money bank accounts. No Central Bank Governor in the world has such a mandate. No head of state has such a mandate either, definitely not the Nigerian President. Our National Assembly could make such a law only after declaring a national emergency as a consequence of a debilitating war situation perhaps.
Instead of evolving people friendly policies as is being done in civilized nations of the world, our square pegs in round holes’ policy formulators are thinking of how to return us as a people to the Stone Age. Will cash withdrawal and lodgement restrictions improve our inadequate energy and drinking water supply situation, or bad roads, road network, density and accessibility problems? What about our primitive transportation system, lack of shelter, food, endemic poverty and the incapacitating hunger in the land, or the ever spiralling unemployment rate, or poor educational and health facilities? The list is endless and in all the indices of civilized modern living, we are not only the most backward on earth, we are moving further backwards into self-imposed anarchy and oblivion. Does this policy suggest a thinking government?
Our National Assembly mob are too busy stuffing their pockets from our patrimony that has already been grossly whittled down by them, to care about formulating people friendly policies. Our president appears compromised by his zoning scar promoting myopic, sectoral distortions in our body polity as exemplified by the greedy regional hijack of the presidency and speakership positions in the National Assembly.
Emboldened, Sanusi pushes for Islamic banking in Nigeria, obviously to heighten religious tension, division and intolerance in the land. There is no Islamic country in the world today not suffering from severe civil strife. They export their senseless, myopic wars around the globe and developing countries are their most vulnerable victims. The process starts from seemingly innocuous beginnings such as an Islamic bank that discriminates between Muslims and non-Muslims in functions and products, and introduces separate queues for Muslim men, women and non-Muslims, in banking halls.
The separate queues’ culture soon begins to be taken for granted and to spread quietly into the public domain. An ultimate recipe for disintegration in a secular country like Nigeria which is already a melting pot of bitter non-native religious rivalries and acrimonies, and where an Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram, with the active support of Maghreb’s Al’-Qaida sects from neighbouring countries, is throwing bombs daily, killing dozens of innocent people in public places and sacking churches and police stations to precipitate a jihad. The timing to introduce the bank in Nigeria is not only extremely troubling; it is an affront to the collective ambition and acumen of a people struggling desperately to evolve a common destiny.
The creeping illegality began germinating in Nigeria with the introduction of sharia laws in a few states smitten with Arab supremacy. Interestingly, Arabs call Blacks and Africans abeed, (meaning slaves, their slaves), and treat all Blacks as such. By the default of not being challenged, sharia in Nigeria metamorphosed national dimension in the guise of a ‘do good’ Islamic bank that doles out interest free loans to all and sundry. An irresistible bait in poverty stricken, alien mentally and religiously enslaved societies. The truth, however, is that the bank has not impacted positively on the lives of Arabs’ indigenous poor who are the derelict Black original owners of all Arab countries, including Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan etc., which is why we have South Sudan now, with Darfur in toe. The Islamic bank, charges interest by non-conventional formats and names, to remain in business. The bank’s debtors end up paying higher interests by whatever Arab names called, than what operates in conventional banks, because the Islamic bank becomes a fortune sharing part-owner of the businesses of its loans, until the loans are liquidated.
Why do we keep pursuing things that divide rather than unite us as a people? Sanusi says he is doing so because there is Islamic banking in Britain. Britain is not a secular country, Nigeria is. Britain has the resources, sufficiently sophisticated intelligence gathering mechanism, intimidating security efficiency and might, to quickly isolate their small Muslim population and nip whatever threats they pose in the bud.
Civilization is hurtling away on a supersonic train. We are not on the train, we are on the side walk, hanging on to stupid, mundane, outmoded, barbaric, demonic pre-occupations, imposed by some archaic era alien illiterate ruler, monarch, dynasty, as if our lives still depend on our selfish, exploitative, self-centred past masters who abandoned us naked on the by-lane of wretched existence. In an exciting new age of Barack Obama, unlimited possibilities, robust inclusiveness and collective responsibilities for decision making for our common future, regardless of gender, race or tribe, women are still being flogged or buried alive for adultery; husbands are still divorcing wives by simply pronouncing “I divorce you” three times, and wives cannot do the same; people’s arms and legs are still being brutally amputated for stealing an egg or a chicken.
An ex-governor turned senator, recently married and is sleeping with the baby wife aged ten years and we are told not to scream, not even when potentially destabilizing Islamic bank is being foisted on our secular and fragile climate. When are we going to get on the moving train and contribute something of our own to human caucus and progress, outside of our Arabic and Caucasian influences and mind control? What would our contributions be? Surely, cashless society cannot be one of them? Our great Sanusi, a sucker for controversy, says why not, and to up his ante, has threatened to limit daily individual cash withdrawals and lodgements to N150k.
The relationship between a bank depositor and his bank is predicated on the trust that the customer can withdraw his money at will and without penalties the next minute aregardless of the amount involved. In other words, he can close his account any minute and any day, no matter the amount in the account. This law is sacrosanct and is the most important one in the relationship between banks and their customers. When you withdraw this rule, you destroy banking. You are telling customers not to trust their banks, or that our banks are financially stressed and unreliable, and that customers should keep their cash under their pillows at home. Eighty percent of the money in circulation in Nigeria is outside the banking system. With this Sanusi’s scare, the twenty percent domestic activities money in banks is being asked to join the eighty percent cash outside the banking system.
The safest time-proven way to withdraw money from a bank account is with signatures and physical appearances before bank cashiers. The system is not hundred percent theft proof but is a long way more secure than using ATM machines or POS terminals or credit cards, which are extremely unsafe and untried in our environment. Electronic money is propelled by electricity. There are several communities in Nigeria that have never enjoyed electricity use. Even in our urban areas, we often do not have electricity for days, weeks and even months at a time. Would buying and selling businesses have to stop when there is no electricity?