Many Nigerians have continued to express their reservations over the new naira notes. According to some of them, the retention of the Arabic sign is an indication that Islam has a strong grip in the scheme of things in the country despite the fact that the country is regarded as a secular nation.
What is the Arabic sign on some Naira notes?
For the sake of clarity, the proper term for this ‘Arabic sign’ is Ajami. It is an Arabic-derived African writing system. The Hausa people used the Ajami script to write in Hausa language — hence the confusion that it is ‘Arabic’.
What is Ajami to northerners?
According to The Cable, a typical northerner can read Ajami even if they do not understand the Latin script that is used for English. Most northerners are versed in Ajami, having undergone Arabic-based Quranic education as children.
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Argument in favour of Ajami
Since Ajami script is in the Hausa language and is not a symbol of Islam or any religion, many will argue that no law has been violated.
Argument against Ajami
The argument against the Arabic inscription on the naira notes is that it is a violation of sections 10 and 55 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which states that the federation or a state shall not adopt any religion as state religion.
The notion is that Arabic and Islam are the same, and this has led to accusations that the Arabic “symbol” on the naira connotes religion and promotes Islamisation.
Is Ajami on all Nigerian money?
The federal government, in February 2007, removed Arabic script from some lower-denomination notes. According to the FG, Ajami was no longer necessary because most Nigerians could now read and write in English.
A suit in court
However, the federal government, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and attorney-general of the federation (AGF) are battling with a suit filed by Malcolm Omirhobo, a Lagos-based lawyer, seeking the removal of the inscriptions from naira notes because they “represent Islam”.
"It's only colour change": Nigerians react as photos of the new naira notes trends
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, November 23, unveiled the new naira notes at the state house, Abuja.
The new notes presented to the public are 1000, 500 and 200 naira notes.
Naira redesign: Why Arabic language? Nigerians question Ajami sign in the new currency
Following the unveiling of the new naira notes, some Nigerians have once again questioned the retention of the Arabic symbol on the new naira notes.
"New Naira will be unveiled today. We don’t speak Arabic language here but have it inscribed in all our currency. Forcing Islamic nation on us all."
ỌMỌ ỌBA asked:
"Why does a currency have an Arabic inscription on it? If a tribe speaks Arabic and it's on the Naira note, then every tribe in Nigeria should have their language inscribed on the Naira note."