As various countries around the world mark the International Mother Language Day (IMLD) 2015, as declared by UNESCO on the 21st February every year, stakeholders in Nigeria, on 24th February, 2015, converged at the Language Conference Room of the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to deliberate on the celebration of this year’s event.

Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Director, Nigerian and Arabic Languages, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Rosetta Nneoma Ofor, stated that stakeholders had met twice previously and that the meeting was to fine-tune preparations for the celebration of the IMLD now scheduled for 19th March, 2015, further disclosing that major stakeholders like the Linguistics Association of Nigeria (LAN) and TELL Communications have already shown commitment and called on other stakeholders represented to make serious commitments to make the programme a success.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Barr. Chike Nwaezeoke, Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, represented by the Deputy Director, Basic and Secondary Education in the Ministry, Mrs. Angelina Madueke, stated that the importance of celebrating the IMLD cannot be overemphasized, as it helps to protect, promote, teach and expand the scope of Nigerian Languages in the country, also calling on all stakeholders to make contributions towards it.

The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, represented by the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie, affirmed NICO’s commitment to the celebration of the IMLD and hinted that the Institute’s contribution to the programme will be mainly in the aspect of Cultural display by NICO Troupe.

Stakeholders present at the meeting included UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja; Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO); National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE); Linguistics Association of Nigeria (LAN); National Educational Research & Development Council (NERDC); National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO); TELL Communication; and Officials of the Federal Ministry of Education.

It will be recalled that the International Mother Language Day (IMLD) has been celebrated as a United Nations Day since year 2000; but its celebration was domesticated in Nigeria in 2009 when stakeholders resolved to protect Nigerian indigenous languages as a valuable cultural heritage of the people.

Arnold Elue
O&CA Dept.
NICO HQ, Abuja