Reports had emerged on Monday, November 24, 2014 by the Director of the Muslims Right Concern (MURIC), Ishaq Akintola asking the Federal Government to explain the Jewish symbol on the new centenary 100 Naira note unveiled on Wednesday, November 12, 2014.
In a statement signed by Akintola, MURIC wondered why the Arabic writing in Hausa language (the Ajami script) that read ‘Naira Dari’ (i.e. one hundred naira) on the N100 note had been removed and replaced with the Jewish symbol, the Star of David on the new note.
Part of the statement said, “Arabic inscriptions which have always been on Nigerian currency since independence were unceremoniously removed in 2005 from N5, N10, N20 and N50 denominations. They remained on N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations.
In reaction, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Reuben Abati during a press brief with the state house correspondents in Abuja on Monday, November 24, 2014 waded off assumptions that President Goodluck Jonathan was running an anti-muslim administration.
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by the Muslims Right Concern and signed by its Director, Ishaq Akintola which made a number of allegations against President Jonathan.
“I find Akintola’s allegations rather curious and they can be dealt with as follows: first, he needs to be told that President Jonathan is not anti-Muslim as he alleges’’.
“Jonathan is the President of all Nigerians, whatever may be their beliefs’’.
“It is not true that the president is using the highest office in the country to promote Zion nation.’’
“I think that is a most unfortunate statement coming from Akintola of MURIC and for which they owe President Jonathan an apology.
Abati further disclosed that the Star of David Jewish symbol claims on the new note was actually a special spark security feature.
He said, “The symbol his statement is referring to is the Star of David. There is nowhere on that note as indicated in the specimen that has been widely publicised where there is any Jewish or Zionist symbol or the Star of David.
“The Star of David is a hexagram which is two triangles of equal lines superimposed on each other. The hexagram is a very popular symbol but it is not on that naira note.
“The symbol that he is referring to is not a Jewish symbol. It is what they call spark security feature.’’
“It is an optical magnetic feature which enables the public to authenticate a currency note whether it is genuine or counterfeit. That is the function of that particular design.’’
“That design is not a hexagram and it is not in any way associated with Israel or Jewish or Zionism.
“It is two squares merged into one with a Manila briquette, which is a symbol of the cowry money used during the colonial era.
“It is an attempt on the part of MURIC to cause disaffection, because on the design of that note, the value of that note is written out in the three major languages in Nigeria, recognised in the constitution: Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.’’
Furthermore, the presidential spokesperson faulted the allegations by the Muslim group that Muslims were marginalized in the last national conference.
“It was a purposeful conference, a conference in which a lot of maturity was displayed. Religion did not become a big issue in that conference.
“Rather, the conference became a platform for addressing many issues of general concern to various groups, ethnic or religious.
“MURIC cannot claim not to know that was a very successful conference,” Abati explained.
He further demanded an apology from the group for attempting to constitute more nuisance to the already troubled nation.
He said, “I believe that MURIC will see the need to quickly apologise for misleading the public and for issuing that kind of statement that can cause disaffection against the president.’’