The group also claimed that the Jonathan administration deliberately removed the Arabic Ajami inscriptions on the Naira notes.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked the Federal Government to withdraw the ₦100 notes printed under former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The group, in a statement by its director, Ishaq Akintola, said besides the fact that the ₦100 notes of Jonathan government were inferior, they did not have Arabic Ajami inscriptions.
Akintola claimed that removing the inscription suggests a form of “ethnic cleansing” aimed at discouraging the learning and use of Arabic language in Nigeria.
What is Ajami?
The term Ajami comes from the Arabic root for foreign or stranger and has been applied to Arabic alphabets used for writing African languages, especially those of Hausa and Swahili. It is considered an Arabic-derived African writing system. Since African languages involve phonetic sounds and systems different from the Arabic language, there have often been adaptations of the Arabic script to transcribe them, a process similar to what has been done with the Arabic script in non-Arab countries of the Middle East and South Asia and with the Latin script in Africa or with the Latin-based Vietnamese alphabet.
MURIC said the Ajami was also removed from N5, N10, N20 and N50 denominations under former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, insinuating that the action is synonymous with Christian presidents.
The group said, “It was not the first time this would happen. Arabic inscriptions which have always been on Nigerian currency since independence were unceremoniously removed in 2005 from ₦5, ₦10, ₦20 and ₦50 denominations during the reign of Olusegun Obasanjo.
“But Nigerians need to know that this move was calculated to hurt the Muslim population and may end up as a disservice to the nation.
“The average northerner cannot read any other script except in Arabic Ajami and anyone who wants to communicate with him effectively must use the Ajami, not even writings in Hausa language can help in this matter.
“Millions of northerners have therefore been marginalised by removing the Arabic Ajami. Currencies worldwide are designed to suit each nation’s culture and history. Incidentally, Nigeria is a multireligious entity. In this case, therefore, our cultural and religious homogeneity should be the criteria, particularly when designing our banknotes, our stamps, etc.
“We are all taxpayers and to that extent we all deserve representation.”
MURIC stressed that the ₦100 bank not, which was issued on December 19, 2014, by the Jonathan administration, is of low quality.
“Nigerians consider Jonathan’s ₦100 note inferior to others printed earlier. It is of very low quality. It tears easily. It lacks second-hand value. It grows soft and fragile with time, thereby making it difficult to handle or fold in people’s pockets or wallets,” the statement read.
“It has therefore failed as a veritable means of exchange. Placed side by side with the old ₦100 note which still has the Arabic Ajami inscription and which is still in circulation, Jonathan’s ₦100 shrinks into oblivion.”
The group, therefore, demanded that the ₦100 note be withdrawn from circulation and asked for the reinstatement of Arabic Ajami on ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 denominations.