The North-Central Zonal Coordinator of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mallam Ibrahim Lawal, has said that, understanding a second indigenous language was of critical importance, stressing that, it had become imperative for Nigerians to learn and understand a second language other than their own to reduce the threat indigenous languages are currently facing.

Mallam Lawal stated this at Olumawu College, No. 2 Onikanga Street, off Police Road, GRA Ilorin, Kwara State, venue of the flag-off of NICO’s Weekend Indigenous Language Programme, a platform of Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP).

The Zonal Coordinator appreciated the efforts of NICO’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, for taking positive steps to effectively revitalize Nigerian indigenous languages in the country, so that native people who wish to preserve their languages can get some impetus from the current efforts by the Institute.

He urged the participants not to only see the free weekend programme in Nigerian indigenous languages offered by NICO as an effort to keep indigenous language alive just for them not to disappear, but to rather see the languages they are learning as conduits for indigenous culture that have real value in our modern world.

According to him, the importance of learning a second language is not only in the psychological aspect of direct communication during business transactions, but to enable individuals connect with other people and make sense of experiences.

Also speaking, the Head of Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mallam Ahmed Mohammed, who is the Coordinating Officer of the programme in the zone, also advised participants to take the lectures seriously, as language is the expression of our culture and our land.

In all, eighty eight (88) nominees were received from various organisations and the languages to be taught are Batonu, Hausa, Igbo, Izon, Nupe, Tiv and Yoruba.

Naseer Saeed Ategba