The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Hassan Barata, has commended the management of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), for constantly drawing attention of Nigerians towards cultural re-orientation in the country.
Senator Barata, who gave this commendation in Abuja on Monday, July 23, 2012, when he led members of his Committee to the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), to perform their constitutional oversight function, expressed satisfaction that NICO, as a Training Institute, is working hard towards promoting reading culture in Nigeria and constantly engaging Nigerian youths on cultural identity.
He maintained that sustaining reading culture is very important to national development, and charged NICO to work harder in promoting Nigerian cultural values that are going into extinction, adding that the languages of many ethnic groups in the country are fast phasing out and the only way to encourage the people to participate in their culture is to find ways of reviving their dying languages, since language is a factor that binds a people together.
Barata, who had earlier expressed fear that if the trend of dying languages continues without being arrested, it may get to a time when people from these ethnic groups will no longer be proud to be associated with their tribes or languages, but rather claim to be from other tribes, further called for more programmes designed to encourage people to speak their languages as well as other languages of interest.
The Distinguished Senator therefore charged NICO to produce books on different languages by identifying the languages by zones or states, since some of the tribes may be cut across three or more states, and also commended NICO on its National conference which centred on the culture, peace and national security, saying it is one of the issues in the country that we need to focus attention on.
He therefore called on NICO to capture the issue of peace and security in its cultural clubs in all the states by liaising with state Ministries of Culture and Tourism to include same in their schools curricula, so that our children will be able to understand that if we really go by our culture, then there will be peace in the country.
According to him, “The culture of our forefathers did not say they should not accept strangers if you come to any house; they will accept you and give you accommodation. It was as a result of that good culture that we are able to get non-indigenes in our midst. Today, people are always talking about others not being indigenes, while they do not ask how they came to settle here.”
He added that, “most of our traditional rulers used to travel then and invite strangers to come and stay in their places. The belief was that the more you get strangers in your place, the more you get developed.”
Other Distinguished Senators, who are members of the committee, that accompanied Senator Barata on the oversight function visit, were the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Hosea Agboola, Senator Abubakar Sadiq Yar’Adua, and Senator Abubakar Tutari.