By Chief Malcolm Emokiniovo Omirhobo
The Arabic inscription on the redesigned 200-, 500- and 1000-Naira notes is not only a clear violation of the provisions of sections 10, 42(1)(2) and 55 of the Nigerian 1999 constitution but inimical to the unity of Nigeria.
Arabic is not one of the four official languages of Nigeria namely English, Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo. It is not indigenous to Nigeria and therefore to have it on our country’s currency offends the clear provisions of section 55 of the constitution.
Bearing in mind that Nigeria is a multi religious secular state, the Arabic inscription on the redesigned Naira notes is a flagrant violation of section 10 of our constitution because it is tantamount to the Nigerian government adoption of Arabic language which is the official language of Islam as an official language of Nigeria and by so doing propagating Islam and Arabic language over and above other religions and indigenous languages in Nigeria.
The Arabic inscription on the redesigned Naira notes is a gross violates section 42 (1)(a)(b) of constitution because Nigeria is multiethnic country with over 500 indigenous languages and so to single out only Hausa language to be written in Arabic for the benefit of the Hausa man who does not have Western education is discriminatory to Nigerians of other ethnic nationalities of other languages who are not equally educated in Western education.
The argument that the Arabic inscription on the Naira notes is to help majority of the population of Northern part of Nigeria who are not educated in Western education to accept the face value of the Naira notes can not hold water, 62 years after Nigeria’s independence. because practically every Nigerian even the blind knows the face value of 200-, 500- and 1000-Naira notes. Again, the arguement is preposterous when the so called uneducated Northerner Knows the face value of all the denominations of the British Pounds Sterling and America Dollars without the aid of Arabic inscription on them, and effectively control foreign currency black market to the exclusion of other Nigerians
To put Arabic inscription on the redesigned Naira notes for no just cause without considering national interest is inimical to the unity of Nigeria and It is about time for every Nigeria to insist on the secularity of Nigeria because it is one of the Pillars of our unity. Taking away the secularity of Nigeria simply means that we are already at the bridge to renegotiation the unity of Nigeria through a referendum.
It is about time we realise as Nigerians that no religion is superior to the other, no ethic nationality is superior to the other and no language is superior to the other and that we are all equal before the constitution and our creator. The Arabic inscription on the Naira notes in modern day Nigeria serves no purpose other than to be placed in our museums as historical relics and artefacts no apologies to religious bigots who are fanning the embers of religious discord based on parochial sentiments aimed at promoting disunity among Nigerians.