James Emejo in Abuja
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III has commended the management of Jaiz Bank Plc for obtaining a national banking Licence to administer Islamic banking services across the nation.
The apex bank’s final approval was granted the bank last Friday.
He, however, challenged the bank not to drop the guard but strive to meet the expectation of Nigerians.
Speaking in Abuja when he received top management staff of the bank, led by its Chairman, Alhaji Umaru Abdul-Mutallab, the Sultan enjoined the bank to justify the license by offering innovative products and services to customers.
He said: “And I challenge you that the real problem starts now…achieving a national license is just one thing and meeting the demands of the people is another.”
Nevertheless, he commended the management for achieving the milestone after a long wait.
Noting that islamic banking is anchored on ethics and morality, he said it’s rules and regulations were meant to suit both Muslims and Christians, and urged them to take advantage of the services.
Abubakar said: “So it’s not only for Muslims but for everybody but we follow the rules and regulations of Islam which I believe all of us here know what Islam is as regards relationship between all of us as human beings and the one who created us.”
He pledged his unflinching support and cooperation with the bank adding that with the array of experienced top management staff “I believe the sky is the limit” for the bank.
He said he would also call the bank to order at “any point we believe the bank is not doing well.”
Speaking earlier, Abdul-Mutallab said with the new national license granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last Friday, “we can now operate in all the different states of the federation.”
He describe the license as “a great achievement because we’ve been looking for this for quite some time.”
He noted that part of the purpose of the courtesy call on the sultan, was to show gratitude for his support and further seek his guidance and cooperation from time to time as a revered spiritual leader.
According to him, three years after it was established, the bank now had 25 branches in 12 states of the federation.
He said it would gradually expand operations to the Southwest including Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kwara States and open additional branches going forward, stressing that “We hope that in the next three years, we would cover the whole of the federation.”
He also informed the sultan that the bank had established three additional companies to cater for other areas of interests.
These include, the Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation, a corporate social responsibility arm of the bank to address interventions in disaster stricken geographical locations-including palliatives to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north and other parts of the country.
Others are the Jaiz Takaful Insurance Company and the Jaiz Zakart Trust Fund.