As a follow up of the draft framework for Islamic banking issued in March 2009 by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the CBN issued final guidelines pertaining to Islamic banking in June this year. The CBN stated that the introduction of Islamic banking in the Country is part of its drive to stimulate financial inclusion for a larger proportion of Nigerians by introducing alternative financial services/products.
The announcement by the CBN generated significant controversy among the public and the business community; while receiving support from sections of the country it has also be roundly denounced by others (particularly some Christian groups) who argue that the policy is capable of exacerbating interreligious tensions in the country.
Consequently, NOI Polls decided to conduct a survey to find out the views of Nigerians on Islamic Banking. The poll results show a high level of awareness of the issue amongst Nigerians, with just over three quarters (76%) responding ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Are you aware of the CBN’s proposal to introduce Islamic Banking in Nigeria?
Respondents were then asked if they were in support of Islamic Banking. Just over half (53%) of the respondents quizzed said they were not in support, while nearly one quarter (23%) were in support. Another 24% did not provide an opinion for or against the introduction of Islamic Banking in Nigeria.
Support for Islamic Banking was highest In the North East, with 56% of respondents in the region answering ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Do you support Islamic Banking?’. On the other hand, 60% of respondents from the North East were not, while nearly 1 in 3 (33%) of respondents in the South South were neither for or against Islamic Banking.
Respondents were further asked to give their reasons for supporting/not supporting Islamic Banking.
Of the 23% of respondents in support of Islamic Banking, the majority (53%) simply said they thought that ‘It’s a good Idea’. Another 25% were in support because of its non-interest nature while 16% said they were in support because it would be good for national development.
Of the 53% of respondents who were not in support of Islamic banking, nearly 1 in 3 (31%) said they were not in support because it could lead to religious bias against non-Muslims while 25% simply do not like this type of banking. In addition, 17% of respondents said they believed that Islamic Banking could lead to riots while 5% said they believed that it could lead to the Islamization of Nigeria.
Respondents for the snap polls were randomly selected from a database of phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 and above across the six geopolitical zones in the country, compiled by NOI Polls. 1155 people took part in the telephone interviews conducted from the 3rd and 8th of August, 2011. For a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
This poll is part of the ongoing snap poll exercise conducted by NOI Polls to rapidly assess public sentiments following various social, political or economic events. NOI Polls is a Nigeria based opinion research organization, which works in technical partnership with Gallup Polls (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls on various socioeconomic issues in Nigeria.