The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has said if children in schools are made to study indigenous languages of their immediate environment, the ethnic and cultural differences that often result to crises in the Nigeria will be greatly reduced.
This was one of the key points raised during an interview in the studios of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) HQ, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, where Ayakoroma played guest to Abiodun Akanmu, the anchor of the programme: “On The Spot,” on Monday, February 25, 2013.
According to the NICO boss, if the enabling environment is created for a child to learn an indigenous language from the basics, to enable that child speak the language, it will help such a child to gain indigenous knowledge: learning the culture of the people and their environment, and in doing so, imbibe everything about the people’s culture.
His words: “If a child is schooling in Abuja, he should learn Gbagyi and Hausa. If he is schooling in Lagos, he should learn Yoruba, compulsorily. If he is in the Niger Delta University, he should learn Izon language. In doing so, by the time a child leaves the university, he or she would have been able to speak two or three Nigerian languages; and that way, some of these differences we have can be reduced.”
He reiterated the need for Nigerian universities to also make the study of indigenous languages compulsory, stressing that after all, when Nigerian children who school in other countries are made to learn their languages for one year before proceeding to study their courses of choice.
Speaking further, Ayakoroma decried the fact that Nigerians are fast losing touch with their cultural backgrounds, particularly with regard to the native languages, as young people tend to think that speaking of an indigenous language means one is not educated, not enlightened, or not civilized.
“We have our own way of life, the totality of our way of life, in terms of our dressing, food, language, and so on; these are things that we need to be proud of. But unfortunately, people are no longer proud of our own culture, which is very unfortunate,” he said.