The annual 4-week long vacation Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), on Tuesday, 1st August, 2017, began at the Institute’s headquarters, No. 23 Kigoma Street, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The language programme, which started simultaneously nationwide in all the Institute’s Lagos Liaison Office, the six (6) zonal and the four (4) state offices, is in furtherance of its mission statement: ”To consistently spearhead the provision of innovative training, research and documentation of our cultural heritage and assets (indigenous languages inclusive), aimed at making culture the vector for national development.”

In his opening remark, the Assistant Director, Orientation and Coordinator of the NICO Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), Pastor Segun Adegbaju, welcomed the students, who made out time to register and attend the first lecture, urging them to work hard to achieve the purpose for which they enrolled in the NILP.

Adegbaju also noted the essence of the programme to Nigerians and why it was usually conducted from 1st to 31st August every year, saying it was geared towards educating people on the need to be fluent in at least one Nigerian indigenous language so that they could make use of it when the need arises.

Also bearing in mind that Nigeria is a multi-linguistic nation, Pastor Adegbaju said Nigerians could reside anywhere in the country, especially civil servants, who could be posted to remote areas to work, adding that the knowledge of an indigenous language is a neccessity for effective job performance for such category of people.

His words: ”For instance, the National Population Commission (NPC) needs the programme, especially when they are working in other parts of the country. The staffers are sent to remote areas and you need fluency in the indigenous language of that environment to communicate to the rural dwellers where you are posted for census assignment. The weekend indigenous language programme runs for six (6) months on Saturdays and Sundays. We have it in all NICO offices in the six geopolitical zones.

Meanwhile, NICO’s Executive Secretary, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, went round the different language classes to see the number of registered students in each of the languages being taught, how the lectures were going on, just as he interacted with the students in different indigenous language classes.

In all, fifty-eight (58) students had registered as at the time the programme started, showing the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria having the highest number of students participants, specifically, thirty-one (31) students for Hausa language, twenty-two (22) students for Yoruba, and seventeen (17) students for Igbo language. Other languages being taught in the Institute include Gbagyi, Tiv, and Efik.

Njideka Dimgba
Corporate Affairs Unit