The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Weekend Nigerian Indigenous Languages Programme commenced in the South-South Zonal Office of the Institute on Saturdaay, 23rd November, 2013, at the zonal office complex, located at No. 41, Imgbi Road, Amarata, Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.

The programme recorded commendable turn out of participants drawn from federal and state agencies, schools, businessmen and the general public, amidst heavy down pour in the early morning hours of the day in Yenagoa.

Welcoming participants, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of the Institute, Mr. James Imohiosen, informed participants that the programme was going on simultaneously in all the six NICO Zonal offices, four state NICO State Offices, NICO Lagos office and NICO headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He explained that the Institute, as a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, had the mandate of promoting, preserving and developing our positive cultural practices as well as harnessing culture for national development, saying that the weekend programme was introduced in response to the yearnings of the general public for the Institute to have a continuous language programme different from the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), which takes place in the month of August annually.

He stated that the weekend programme in Nigerian indigenous languages was one of the Institute’s programmes aimed at the revival and restoration of our indigenous languages, which are at the verge of going into extinction, noting with regrets that children in many Nigerian families cannot speak their indigenous language and that parents are equally guilty of this offence as they do not speak their indigenous languages with the children at home.

It will be recalled that the annual Nigerian Indigenous language programme (NILP), which has attracted commendations from the general public is one of NICO’s programmes that has really offered Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike the opportunity of learning and speaking Nigerian indigenous languages, popular among this group are federal civil servants, who avail themselves the opportunity to learn and speak indigenous languages of the states they are posted to serve outside their localities.

The weekend programme, which started in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state will run for nine calendar months; and the languages taught are Izon, Efik, Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.

Clifford Ugwu
Corporate Affairs
NICO South-South Zone