Prof. Abdulqadir Abikan of the Department of Islamic Law, University of Ilorin (Unilorin), has advised the Federal Government to adopt the Islamic equitable wealth distribution mechanism, known as Zakat.
Abikan made the call in his paper presentation at the 206th Inaugural Lecture of the university, entitled: “Not without the owner’s manual: Your right to share of the global wealth”.
The don who explained that the system shares wealth rather than the income of the rich, however advised that the system should not be called “Zakat” because of its religious sensitivity and sensibility.
“Just like in the case of Sukuk, investment of funds mobilised through Hajj Savings Scheme in the deficit side of the economy would be for the benefit of all, irrespective of religious orientation,” he said.
Abikan, who teaches in the Faculty of Law of Unilorin, observed that human beings fashioned a wealth distribution method that did not only give the early comer property owners, advantage over other participants in the economic activities but also exploit them.
“The system allotted a fixed and secured return to the capital component called interest and allocates profit to the entrepreneur as the risks taker in the enterprise.
“The natural consequence of the interest system is distributive injustice and wealth inequality.
“The interest system is per the contrary, designed as modern enslavement of man by fellow men and has become the greatest expression of inhumanity in man,” he said.
According to him, interest requires endless economic growth even when actual standards of living remain constant.
“It encourages competition among participants in the economy and concentrates wealth in the hands of a small minority by taxing the majority.
“The interest system also causes economic dislocation and instability that further aggravates the conditions of the vulnerable.
“Most of the developing nations, including Nigeria, became entrapped in the web of international debt of World Bank, IMF and Paris Club and in recent times China to remain perpetually indebted and impoverished,” he said.
Abikan stated that Islamic Finance does not require interest as dictated by the injunctions of Islam.
He explained that the Islamic Financial Service Industry (IFSI) has consistently maintained growth momentum and is now estimated to be worth $2.44 trillion across its three main segments.
The expert therefore advised that these initiatives were not to Islamise Nigerians, but developmental ideas and innovations to ensure equitable distribution of wealth in the country.
He also called on the government to eschew interest systems in their national, regional and international financial engagement.(NAN)