ABUJA (SundiataPost) – President Goodluck Jonathan has debunked claims made by the Muslims Right Concern (MURIC) that he hates Muslims and that he is using the highest office in the land to promote Zionism.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, reacting in an interview with State House correspondents on Monday, said the President is the president of all, demanding an apology from the group for accusing Jonathan wrongly.
Director of MURIC, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, had noted that there is a Jewish symbol in the proposed commemorative new N100 note which will be officially issued on December 19, while the Arabic signs on the naira have disappeared.
He also alleged that the concluded National Conference deliberately marginalised Muslims and that Aso Rock is saturated with Israeli security personnel.
But Abati said “Our attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by the Muslims Right Concern and signed by Prof. Ishaq Akintola who is the director of the group which made a number of allegations against President Jonathan while alleging that there is a Jewish symbol in the proposed commemorative new N100 note which will be officially issued on December 19.
“I find Prof. 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. President Jonathan is the President of all Nigerians, whatever may be their beliefs.
“It is not true that President Jonathan is using the highest office in the country to promote Zionism. I think that is a most unfortunate statement coming from Prof. Akintola of MURIC and for which they owe President Jonathan an apology.
“Two, the MURIC’s director also alleged that Muslims were marginalised in the national conference. Again, this is a very unfortunate thing to say. The truth is that that national conference organised by this administration has been praised and described as probably one of the best of such conferences ever organised in this country. It was a purposeful conference, a conference in which a lot of maturity was displaced.
“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 that was a very successful conference.
“Three, MURIC is also alleging that the security system in Aso Rock is saturated with Israeli security operatives. This again is a blatant lie. There are no Israeli security operatives saturating the security system in Aso Rock. To convince himself that this is true, we will like to invite Prof. Akintola on a visit to the Presidential Villa, to see whether indeed it is Israelis that are in charge of security.
“The security operatives in the Villa are not foreigners, they are Nigerians and there is no connection with Israel whatsoever.
“The premise of the issue that formed the basis for Akintola’s vituperation is wrong and he is misinformed.
The symbol his statement is referring to is the Star of David. There is nowhere on that proposed 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 an 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 briquet, which is a symbol of the cowrie 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.
“No attempt has been made to use this proposed naira note to discriminate anybody and the attack on President Jonathan is undeserved, unwarranted and totally unkind.
“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”.