Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the evolution of Islamic banking in Nigeria. Design/methodology/approach – The paper adopts a qualitative approach using 25 semi-structured interviews together with documentary analysis in order to analyse how Islamic banking has evolved in Nigeria. Findings – The paper demonstrates that the evolution of Islamic banking in Nigeria arose from a relationship between various human and non-human actors. The development was shaped by the Nigerian socioeconomic environment, particularly the wealthy Muslim segment and the poor performance of the economy. Originality/value – The paper differs from previous studies on the development of Islamic banking in two ways. First, it provides a contextual account of the various factors that have influenced the development of Islamic banking in Nigeria, a sub-Saharan Africa country for which research on Islamic banking is sparse. Second, the paper is unique in analysing how Islamic banking emerged as a process of actor-network formation.