Nigeria is a country blessed with an abundance of human and natural resources. The last census, conducted in 2006, put the population at 160 million, which is the largest in Africa. The country also contains large deposits of crude oil, making it the ninth largest oil exporter in the world. There are also other mineral resources in abundance, such as iron ore and gold. Nigeria has an excellent climate suitable for agriculture and produces cash crops like sugarcane, palm oil, groundnut, rice, soybeans, yams, and potatoes.
The population is sharply divided along religious lines; more than half (at least 80 million) are Muslims, and the rest are Christians. Muslims are found in large numbers in the northern part of the country, and Christians dominate the southern part of the country. However, Muslims are also found in the southwest region, and in fact are even dominant there.
Nigeria has about 25 commercial banks, but none provided Islamic banking products or services before 2012. Banking services provided by these commercial banks were all interest-based and thus not patronized by some Muslims. Many individuals, especially those in the remote areas of the north, were also excluded or unable to access banking services because of their locations.
All these factors made the introduction of Islamic banking in the country a welcomed event. Besides being an alternative banking system from the conventional interest-based ...