The 7th edition of the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) began on Monday, 1st August, 2016 at the North-Central Zonal office, Ilorin, Kwara State, with an impressive turn-out by external participants.

In his opening address, NICO’s Executive Secretary, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said the language programme is as relevant now, as it was when it began, adding that understanding a language other than one’s mother tongue is a great advantage in cross-cultural relationships, marriage, and various professions like the police, the armed forces and the federal public service, who get transferred to various parts of the country and need to effectively communicate with members of their host communities.

Prof. Ayakoroma, whose address was read on his behalf by the North-Central Zonal Coordinator of NICO, Mr. Ohi Ojo, further stated that doctors and lawyers need to learn other languages, when dealing with their patients and clients without recourse to interpreters; and therefore enjoined participants to take full advantage of the one month-long free language programme, as they may not easily have such an opportunity.

In a question and answer session, one of the participants, Mr. Joseph K. Alabi, a Deputy Director with the Kwara State Ministry of Education, wanted to know how NICO was helping in advocacy and sensitization of people on the importance of our indigenous languages, also asking how people with hearing impairment could benefit from the programme.

In his response, the Coordinator, North-Central Zonal Office, Mr. Ohi Ojo, said the one month-long Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) was part of the sensitization efforts, expressing dismay at parents, who do not encourage their children/wards to speak their mother tongue, stating that research has proved that a child can easily comprehend up to five (5) different languages.

On the question of people who have hearing impairment, the Zonal Coordinator observed that it was an issue to be considered at a higher level in order to get such persons covered in the programme.

This year’s edition will feature only Hausa and Yoruba languages to be taken by Samuel Hedima and Olaniyi Aweda, respectively, both from the ICT/ Corporate Affairs Unit of the zone.

Samuel Hedima

Corporate Affairs/ICT Unit