UNESCO has commended the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), for its Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), saying UNESCO and NICO share the same initiative because what the National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO) does with indigenous languages at international level is what NICO, established as a joint initiative of the Nigerian Government and UNESCO in 1993, is doing at the national level.
The Secretary-General, NATCOM-UNESCO, Mrs. Magdalene Anene-Maidoh, who made the remark at the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), on Thursday, August 2, 2012, in Abuja, stated that her Commission was promoting indigenous languages worldwide through conferences, working on orthographies of the languages, and creating awareness on the need for people to embrace them, among others, recalling that in a national conference on “Youth Literacy and Special Education,” recently, NATCOM-UNESCO laid emphasis on the need for Nigerians to intensify efforts in speaking their mother tongue.
Observing that NICO’s NILP has been making in-roads, since inception, she asserted: “The languages need to be encouraged. NICO is trying. I commend them. The programme is growing. I implore parents to allow their children to be part of it. The parents too should be part of it. That was why when we got the invitation for this event; we made efforts to inform many parents about it. We harped on the need that they all take part. Please, NICO should carry on with the laudable programme. It is a necessary advocacy and the people need it.”
On her part, wife of the Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to Nigeria, Her Excellency Mrs. Dela Obika, said she realized the benefit and power of language and that was why the moment she came to Nigeria, her preoccupation was to learn Yoruba language, a quest, she said, that had driven her to the NICO NILP: “To let you know how serious I am, I have come to this event with my N10.000 registration fee. I am determined to learn, because language was the first thing I said I must learn. I am proud of Nigeria. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is in Trinidad and Tobago right now. We have many Nigerian in my country. They speak our language. So, I want to speak Nigerian language too. The way I am seeing the NICO indigenous Language Programme, it will really spread to the Diaspora. It has potentials.”
The intensive one-month NILP, where Efik, Fulfulde, Gbagyi, Hausa, Igbo, Izon, Nupe, Tiv and Yoruba, will be taught in the Abuja study centre, takes off immediately.