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Protests in sector over operation of Islamic insurance in Nigeria



Protests in sector over operation of Islamic insurance in Nigeria

Operators in the sector are questioning why the authorities have licenced two Islamic insurance companies to operate in the country.

This at a time the Nigerian business community is yet to fully accept the appointment of CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to head an international Islamic banking institution, the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation.

The brand of insurance, known as Takaful which has been offering services in most Islamic countries, have their corporate headquarters in Abuja and Lagos with branches in major business centres.

Jaiz Takaful Insurance Company has located its head office in Abuja, while Noor Takaful Insurance Company will be in Lagos State, said a source.

According to the promoters of this brand of insurance, Takaful will introduce some businesses that are absent in conventional insurance operations in Nigeria.

According to an expert in Islamic finances, Mohammed Tawafik; “Countries that have been opportune to embrace this aspect of insurance don’t have the trait of conventional insurance, where a policy holder is denied of his right at the verge of drawing benefits at point of maturity. Also in the conventional insurance business, some people often corner the profits made from it, whereas the Islamic insurance shares profits evenly.”

He was however silent on how the two systems could interact when fully established, but noted that Takaful is more people oriented than conventional insurance.

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However, other commentators on the new outfit condemned its emergence at a time government has been accused of indirectly introducing Islamic culture into the business community without caring how the rest of the people feel.

An insurance broker, Godwin Eze, said the introduction of this aspect of insurance in an economy that is capital-driven will not lead to any growth in real terms.

“To me, there is no environment that an insurance professional cannot work in, but tagging a religious belief into an aspect of business is not going to have many of us go into it.

“The best the authorities could have done is to licence as many insurance firms as possible but without having them classified as either Islamic, Christian or any other religion. But we are still watching the event to fully unfold”, Eze said.

However, the chief executive officer of one of the new firms in the scheme, Noor Takaful Insurance, Shuaibu Ahmed, said the brand of insurance will primarily target idle funds and investment opportunities from the North and the Muslim communities in Nigeria, though it would be open to participants outside the region.

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