Sunday, October 4, 2015


30th September, 2015  


Nigeria will mark her 55th independence anniversay tomorrow 1st October, 2015 in the midst of socio-economic, political and security challenges. Although the military has succeeded in taking the battle to the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, kidnapping and armed robbery remain pains in the neck in the South. Electricity is gradually stabilising and signs of change are beginning to appear in the oil sector.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) feliciates with the Federal Government as the nation marks its 55th independence. We lay emphasis on the need to fully integrate various ethnic and religious groups in the country in order to enhance lasting peace and speedy economic growth. Every group must be given a sense of belonging so that all can consciously contribute its quota to the development of the country.

In this respect, we call for the reinstatement of the Arabic Anjami which was removed from the naira by the last administration of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan after subterranean pressure from some unpatriotic religious leaders. Nigerian Muslims regard the removal as an act of hostility taken to spite Muslims. We consider it as a step taken to satisfy a section of Christians who had been secretly agitating for the removal of Arabic graphics from some official emblems used in Nigeria. Above all, we see the removal of Arabic from the naira as absolutely unnecessary and an action taken by Jonathan to spite Nigerian Muslims.

We hereby state without any fear of contradiction that the use of Arabic as part of the graphics on our emblems does not in any way portray the imposition of Islam or its landmarks on Nigerians. This is so because Arabic stands parri pasu with English graphics wherever the former is used.

English graphics represent Westo-Christian civilisation while Arabic graphics symbolise Islamic culture. Those who insist that Arabic must be removed from our emblems nurse an agenda of domination by elimination. They are repressive elements who are not ready to coexist with Muslims as free Muslims. Rather, they are only prepared to coexist with Muslims as brain-washed, enslaved, subjugated and half-baked Muslims.

  MURIC affirms clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that Nigeria belongs to us all. Christians and Muslims must learn to coexist peacefully on equal footing.

We must learn to respect the culture, freedom and fundamental human rights of each other. Arabic or Anjami and English must be allowed on our naira notes and other emblems because they both signify the cultures of Christians and Muslims respectively.

Whoever insists on the removal of Arabic Anjami from the naira and from other emblems must accept the equal removal of English graphics from the same materials.

After all English is the language of the Bible as we know it in Nigeria and it is on our naira and all other emblems. In the same vein, Arabic is the language of the islamic scripture, the Glorious Qur'an and any opposition to its use as symbol in a multi-religious society like Nigeria implies deep hatred for Muslims, intolerance of people of other religions and lack of readiness to integrate muslims in the system.

  A large number of people in the North rely on the Anjami to read and write. English language means nothing to them. Arabic is used by the Shuwa tribe in Nigeria and removing it from the naira constitute a breach on their Allah-given fundamental human right. The removal of Arabic from the naira by the Jonathan administration caused a lot of havoc because it marginalised this section of the population from economic activities in the country.

Apart from this, Nigeria's West African neighbours use the Anjami to transact business with their Nigerian partners. This has been rendered futile since the arbitrary decision to remove Anjami from the naira was taken thereby affecting our balance of trade.   Jonathan was grossly unjust by removing Arabic from the naira. It was one of his worst moves.

As the first form of education in the whole of West Africa and as the first written and read language in Nigeria, Arabic deserves better treatment.

Arabic language was used in Nigeria as early as the 11th century. English language did not arrive until the advent of the British colonialists in the 19th century. That is a wide marging of 800 years. Is there justice in removing Arabic where English is retained?  How can Jonathan twist history with such reckless abandon? We demand justice. We demand parity. Here is an example of such issues over which Muslims nurse grudges. We are articulating it today because we believe in dialogue. It is our hope that the new Buhari regime will not allow extremists to hijack it before addressing it.  

In the true spirit of independence, Nigerian Muslims hereby demand the reinstatement of Arabic on all naira denominations from which it has been removed. In the interest of peace, we warn that Arabic Anjami should no longer be removed from any other naira denomination in futute. By the way, apart from massaging the ego of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and satisfying the narrow interest of Muslim-haters, what has Nigeria gained from removing Arabic from the naira? We appeal to the Federal Government to redress this wrong.

For meaningful progress to take place, post-independence Nigeria needs leaders who are blind to ethnic and religious prejudices. Religion is supposed to unite people and inspire love. It becomes a curse when leaders misuse it for personal gains. Any good Christian leader can take Nigeria to El Dorado so long as he does not marginalise Muslims. Ditto for any good  Muslim leader who treats Christians as equal partners in the Nigerian project.

In conclusion, we appeal to the Federal Government to quickly revisit the issue of the removal of Arabic Anjami from the naira. We reaffirm the readiness of Nigerian Muslims to coexist peacefully and on equal terms with their Christian neighbours. We urge Nigerian Christians to embrace their Muslim neighbours with open arms and vice versa. Unless we eschew subjectivity, Christians and Muslims will not be able to join hands with the Federal Government in its fight against corruption. Both the church and the mosque have vital roles to play in cleansing this country because 99% of Nigerian politicians and leaders belong to one religion or another. We must change them kneeling down or catch them while prostrating.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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