A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, also called on the group and its director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, to apologise “for the very unwarranted attempt to cause disaffection against President Jonathan amongst a major religious group in the country.”
Below is the full statement as signed by Abati:
Our attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by the Muslims’ Right Concern (MURIC) in which its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola made a number of allegations against the President Goodluck Jonathan, including the mischievous and false claim that there is a Jewish symbol in the new commemorative N100 note which will be officially issued on December 19.
President Jonathan is certainly not anti-Muslim as Prof Akintola alleges. As we have often said, the President knows very well that he was elected to office by a representative majority of all Nigerians and he continues to deal with all Nigerians fairly and equitably irrespective of their personal or group religious beliefs.
The allegation by MURIC that President Jonathan is using the highest office in the country to promote Zionism and the state of Israel is completely spurious and unfounded.
The symbol Prof. Akintola refers to in his statement is the Star of David which cannot be found anywhere on the widely publicized specimen of the new 100 Naira note.
The symbol that he erroneously claims is the Star of David or a Jewish symbol is actually a spark security feature which is an optical magnetic feature that enables the public to determine if a currency note is genuine or counterfeit.
The design of the spark security feature on the new N100 note is not in any way associated with Israel or Zionism. It is two squares merged into one with a Manila briquet, which is a symbol of the cowrie money used during the colonial era.
The value of the new N100 note is written in the three major Nigerian languages – Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa. No attempt whatsoever has been made to use the N100 note to discriminate against any group of Nigerians.
The MURIC Director’s claim that Muslims were marginalized in the recent National Conference is also untrue.
Contrary to Prof. Akintola’s allegation, the National Conference organised by the Jonathan Administration has been widely praised and acknowledged as one of the best of such conferences ever held in this country. It was a purposeful conference, a conference in which a lot of maturity was displayed and at which religion never became a big issue.
MURIC’s allegation that the security system in Aso Rock is saturated with Israeli security operatives is another blatant lie. There are no Israeli security operatives in Aso Rock. We invite Prof. Akintola to visit the Presidential Villa and see for himself that there are no foreign security operatives on the premises and that the only security operatives in the Villa are Nigerians.
It is most unfortunate that such divisive falsehoods could have emanated from a supposedly knowledgeable man like Prof. Akintola and we demand an unreserved apology from him for the very unwarranted attempt to cause disaffection against President Jonathan amongst a major religious group in the country.