Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos will on March 16 commence hearing in a suit filed by a right activist, Malcolm Omirhobo, challenging the legality of Arabic inscriptions on naira notes and logo of the Nigerian Army flag.
The judge fixed the date Tuesday after granting a motion by an Islamic group, Muslim Rights Concern Association (MURIC) and its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, seeking to be joined as a party in the suit. The court granted the motion for joinder in the absence of any opposition from other parties in the suit.
In an affidavit in support of the motion, Akintola averred that the claims contained in Omirhobo’s affidavit are falsehoods and deliberate misrepresentation in respect of Islamic faith and the Arabic language. He said Arabic inscriptions do not render Nigeria a secular or non-secular state.
He further averred that the inscription on the Army logo sounds “Nasiruminallah” which translates in English to mean “victory comes from God alone”.
He added that the said inscription does not represent in anyway, the religion of Islam but rather constitutes part of the rich historical heritage of Nigeria, as it dates back to the colonial era and had aided many illiterate Nigerians to know the value of the currencies in Hausa.
He said that neither the Nigerian constitution nor any statute makes English the official language of the Army, adding that there is also no provision which states that Nigeria is a secular state.
Besides, Akintola argued that the Holy Bible which is the scripture for Christians all over the world is printed in Arabic in countries like Israel, Egypt, Palestine, Libya and Syria, while church services are also conducted in Arabic in those areas.
He further averred that Arabic language is an indigenous language of the ‘Shuwa Arab’ ethnic group of Nigeria, and is not synonymous with Islam which is a Muslim faith.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Army, Ministry of Defence and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) were joined as co-defendant in the suit.