Arabic script on the Naira note and Army Coat of Arms, much ado about nothing or a valid need for removal ? | - Awareness Media Ng Arabic script on the Naira note and Army Coat of Arms, much ado about nothing or a valid need for removal ? 2022 - Awareness Media Ng
Arabic script on the Naira note and Army Coat of Arms, much ado about nothing or a valid need for removal ?

Arabic Script On The Naira Note And Army Coat Of Arms, Much Ado About Nothing Or A Valid Need For Removal ?

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has  rubbished the recent lawsuits by a Lagos-based lawyer, Malcolm Omirhobo (below) arguing that the Arabic inscription on the the Naira note portrays Nigeria as an Islamic state contrary to the country’s constitutional status of a secular state.

The lawyer  has also filed a similar suit against the Nigerian Army seeking the removal of Arabic inscriptions from its logo. The cases are being heard before Justice Mohammed Liman at the Lagos High Court.

MURIC has defined the suit as nothing more than  ‘acrobatic religiousity’ and called on Nigerians to understand the true matter at hand.

As we know the Nigerian Naira replaced the country's use of the British pound in 1973 and MURIC  tarted off by noting that it was not Nigerian Muslim leaders who brought the idea of Arabic in the Nigerian currency in post-independence Nigeria,  but rather it was a Christian, an Urhobo officer by  the name General David Akpode Ejoor who served as Chief of Army Staff from January 1971 to July 1975. 

Here are some excerpts from the rather lengthy statement signed by its Director and founder, Ishaq Akintola that supports MURICS's position.

“Ejoor was the one who introduced the Arabic inscription and the Star emblem into the Nigeria Army crest. He was given the assignment and research led him to pick the Arabic words ‘nasrun minallahi’ (meaning ‘victory is from God’) and a committee made up of three ministers of the First Republic : Muhammadu Ribadu (Defence), Festus Okotie-Eboh (Finance) and Yar’adua (Works and Housing) approved his choice. Ejoor confirmed this in his book ‘Reminiscences’. This same them was also adopted for the Naira.

 " How many times do we need to tell our Christian neighbours that Nigeria is not a secular but a multi-religious state. A secular state is one that does not recognize religion as in communist states. But Nigeria recognizes all the religions in the country and the Constitution also begins with the words ‘under God’. Secular states do not recognize the existence of God.

 “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 says inter alia at its very beginning, ‘We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: having firmly and solemnly resolved : to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign Nation under God…’

“So how can Nigeria be a secular state when we are ‘under God’? In addition, nowhere in the whole constitution was the word ‘secular’ ever used and we challenge anyone who can find that word from the constitution to mention the chapter, section and sub-section.

“Seeking to remove Arabic from the naira is the height of ignorance because Arabic is just a language like English or French, not a religion. By the way, what is on the Naira is not even Arabic. It is ‘Ajami’ using Arabic letters as a form of transliteration.

“ Furthermore the removal of Arabic from the naira is that a large percentage of the Nigerian population will be cut off from our monetary system if Arabic is removed from the naira because Arabic is one of the local languages in Nigeria. It is used by the Shuwa Arabs in Borno State (below). Therefore Arabic cannot be a foreign language.

 “The truth is that religious fanatics have grown paranoid about Islam and they arrogate the Arabic language to the religion alone whereas this is not true. Their hatred for Islam and the Muslims is transferred to the Arabic language. This transferred aggression beclouded their perspicacity to the extent that they fail to realize that Islam is not synonymous with Arabic language

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“For instance, Israel’s currency (above) has Arabic inscription on it. Nigerian Christians who go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year spend Israel’s money and see Arabic on it. Did they tear it into pieces in anger? They did not ask the Israeli authorities to remove the Arabic on their currency but when they return to Nigeria they maintain their hard-line opposition to Arabic on naira. Where is objectivity? Is this not articulated religiousity?

 “Omirhobo’s argument that Arabic on naira notes portrays Nigeria as an Islamic state holds no water because if Arabic is Islam, then English is Christianity. Hence if Arabic on the naira note is Islamisation, non-Arabic letters on the same naira is Christianisation. By extension, if the use of Arabic is Islamisation, the use of English language in Nigeria, particularly as a lingua franca, is the mother of all christianisation.

 “MURIC appeals to Nigerians not to allow the fear mongers and merchants of hate continue to spread fear and sow discord among us. Many of those saddled with the task of uniting us have become instruments of division. Ex-President Jonathan is an example. He removed Arabic from the naira because he listened to hate preachers whom he took along on his futile but numerous trips to Jerusalem.”

MURIC was referring to the new centenary N100 bank note conceived and introduced  under former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 which removed the Arabic script and replaced it with  Hausa  Yoruba and Igbo, in small Roman letters, to the right of the larger centered text in English.

 “We charge Nigerians to open up their minds in order to avoid becoming victims of accidental civilisation or, worse still, educated illiterates. Arabic is not Islam and Islam is not Arabic. One is a language, the other is a religion. Let us learn to understand, to tolerate, to give, to forgive and to love.”

Photos > Courtesy NAN, CBN, NDA and AP

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