BARCLAYSThe dwindling level in the use of indigenous languages in Nigeria for daily communication has been blamed on the lack of interest in the speaking of these languages by Nigerians.

Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma made this disclosure while fielding questions from Assumpta Onwegbule, a Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) reporter on Tuesday, 7th July, 2015 in his office.

According to him, it was unfortunate that there were predictions that in no distant time, some Nigerian indigenous languages may be facing extinction, saying that NICO’s efforts at promoting the use of Indigenous languages through its Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) platform is just but a drop of water in the ocean, unarguably minute and insufficient.

His words: “Our indigenous languages are dying because of the reduction in its usage. Parents no longer take pride in teaching their children how to speak and write indigenous languages; our teachers in the schools system are not helping matters also. If the school system is made to lay emphasis on the use of our indigenous languages, our children will be learning such in schools.”

While maintaining that indigenous languages are veritable instruments the nation can use to bring peace in the country, Ayakoroma further called for the inclusion of indigenous languages as General Studies courses in our institutions of higher learning, saying, for NICO, there is the NILP platform where children come to learn indigenous languages for a month while the weekend edition is made available for adults who cannot make it due to the exigency of work.

On the impact of the National Institute for Nigerian Languages (NINLAN) in the promotion of indigenous languages, the NICO boss maintained that although the Institute is still trying to find its feet, it remains a veritable platform for the teaching of indigenous languages.

“In my opinion, the Institute is still trying to find its feet. I believed that when it is positioned, it will be a veritable platform for the teaching of indigenous languages. Remember, NICO is just doing the teaching of indigenous languages on a small-scale; but it is possible for NINLAN to handle it on a larger scale in the sense that people will be going there to get certificates in any Nigerian language and such graduates will be those who will be teaching these languages in schools so it is a very good platform for government to use in the promotion of indigenous languages in the country.”

He reiterated that NICO’s role in promoting indigenous languages is complimentary because the Institute does not look in the direction of indigenous languages alone but also dressing, and children.

“Most of our programmes are targeted at catching the children young because we believe that once a child is made to understand that learning and speaking of indigenous language does not make him/her a bush boy or bush girl, it will change their mindset; that is what we do through the NICO Cultural Clubs platform. We do things that will give the children a sense of pride in Nigerian culture and, of course, that sense of pride is through indigenous languages, dressing, food, dances, and so on,” he said.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja