The Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) gained international attention at the African Theatre Association Annual International Conference taking place at the Hiddingh Campus of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, as the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, presented a paper, titled, “Reviving the Use of Indigenous Languages in the Contemporary Nigerian Society: The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Initiative.”

Making a PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Ayakoroma stated that there is urgent need to revive the use of indigenous languages in Nigeria, as the place of a native language in any society, especially in Nigeria, where there are multi-ethnic nationalities with many languages, cannot be overemphasized, stressing that Nigerian indigenous languages can be veritable media in engendering unity, cultural identity, and national pride in the people.

According to him, indigenous languages can also impact positive values in children and the youth, in addition to facilitating and sustaining national development and that their non-revival, in the Nigerian context, means such indigenous languages going gradually into extinction.

Admitting that there have been attempts by successive governments to make the teaching and learning of Nigerian indigenous languages compulsory in the educational system, sadly, such policies have not been implemented, just as parents are not encouraging their wards to speak their mother tongue at home, to the effect that there have been no visible impacts.

The ES then highlighted the initiative of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) to ameliorate the situation through its Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), submitting that if there is strong political will on the part of government to give vent to the implementation of the National Language Policy, the situation will improve.

Reacting to questions on one of his submissions on the need for some State Houses of Assembly to conduct their legislative businesses in indigenous languages, Dr. Ayakoroma stated that that would only be feasible in some homogenous states, and that it is not be feasibility in states that have many ethnic groups as well as the National Assembly.

The AfTA Annual International Conference, which opened on Wednesday, July 12, 2012, ends on Sunday, July 15, 2012.

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