The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has said there is need for government to embrace a deliberate policy to encourage the speaking and reading of our indigenous languages.
Dr. Ayakoroma said this in Abuja on Kakaaki, a breakfast television show of the Africa Television Authority (AIT), to mark the 2012 International Mother Language Day tagged “Protecting Our Local Languages” on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.
According to the NICO Boss, who is widely known for championing the cause of reviving interest in indigenous languages in Nigeria, especially among children, the teaching of local languages remains a vital tool to enable children keep in tune with their culture, if they must be truly Nigerians.
Ayakoroma, who maintained that “for a child to be truly Nigerian, you have to teach him his indigenous language to know much about his culture,” described as unfortunate, the situation where in many urban cities in Nigeria, majority of the people prefer speaking Pidgin English, which he described as an adulterated version of English Language.
He however expressed optimism that if Nigerians can direct half of the zeal they exhibit in patronizing the use of “broken English” towards the learning and speaking of our indigenous languages, we will save our local languages from going into extinction.
Other guests on the programme were Mr. Abdulmalik Ofemile, a lecturer with the School of Languages, Department of English, College of Education, Zuba and Mr. Denja Abdulahi, an Abuja-based culture expert.
It will be recalled that on November 17, 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), declared February 21, every year, the International Mother Language Day.