The House of Representative Committee on Culture & Tourism, on Monday, 3rd March, 2014, expressed satisfaction with the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), saying the Institute should take adequate measures to sustain and further develop the programme.
Committee Chairman, Rt. Hon. Ben Nwankwo, who gave this commendation at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, while responding to the proposed 2014 budget defence by the NICO’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said the committee was impressed with the language programme, suggesting that it could be made mandatory for all civil servants to partake in.
The committee chairman said, “It will be very important that we should be able to speak at least a little bit of other languages spoken in Nigeria other than your language. I can say again that the Indigenous Language Programme is very beautiful and you can multiply on it and make people have access to it. Even me, if I have time, I can learn a little bit of Hausa, Yoruba or Ijaw.”
Nwankwo further urged the leadership of NICO to develop software on the indigenous language programme as a way of modification where parents would be interested to introduce their children to participate, emphasizing that it is indeed a programme that the Institute can actually develop and that the committee will be ready to explore avenues through which budgetary provisions could be made.
Earlier in his presentation, Ayakoroma decried the paltry provision in the proposed budget for the Institute in year 2014, particularly in the capital budget, saying, “We are really handicapped and I must mention at this point that I appreciate the comment of the Chairman before now and I have already noted that actually we too can make a case for funding from SURE-P, especially with our Training School complex and I believe we are going to pursue it vigorously to see how we can get the access road constructed this year for the complex to be commissioned.”
Continuing, Ayakoroma said, “I also think another area will be that of hostels for the Lagos Training centre because even if our Abuja complex is put into use, we will still maintain the Lagos Training School just as we have realized that prospective students up-north are very reluctant going to Lagos and we know that if it is in Abuja, there are some persons down south that may not be comfortable coming down to Abuja for the training programme. So, by the time the two campuses are running concurrently, it will help us to enhance the capacity building in the culture sector.”
He further decried that with the paltry provision, the Institute was not been in a position to organise its National Conference for Traditional Rulers, a key programme of the Institute, just as the NICO National Media Workshop series which had become a veritable capacity-building platform for the culture sector cannot be sustained.
Other areas of challenge highlighted by the ES included lack of operational vehicles both at the head office and all the zonal and state offices, as well as the matriculation and convocation programmes of the Training School, which Ayakoroma maintained, were cardinal in the effective performance of the Institute but do not have the budgetary provisions because of the envelop system, adding that if these issues were looked into dispassionately by the committee, it will go a long way in enhancing the operations of NICO in Year 2014.
Other Honourable members present at the defence were Hon. Abdul-Malik Usman, Dr. Abdullahi Balarabe Salame, Hon. Moh’d Sani Idris Kutigi, Hon. Robinson Ajiboye, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, Hon. Haruna Musa, Dr. Sekonte Davies, Hon. Jephtha Foingha, Hon. Tom Zakari, Hon. Abiodun Akinlade, Hon. Bassey Dan-Abia, Hon. Makinde Rotimi and Hon. Hassan Adamu.
On the entourage of the Executive Secretary was the Director, Finance & Accounts, Mr. Godson Ordu, Acting Director, Office of the ES, Mr. Nelson Campbell and Acting Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie, among other support staffers in the Office of the ES.