Some beneficiaries of the annual four weeks’ indigenous language training organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) have lauded the programme.

They said the training would help resuscitate the indigenous languages among native speakers and non- speakers alike willing to acquire them.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in separate interviews in Lagos that the outcome of the mother tongue training was satisfactory and worth the while.

They explained that language was too complex to be understood in four weeks or three months suggesting that the training should be extended to six months or a year.

The training usually in two sections: both the full time which lasts four weeks and the three months part-time classes had trained 194 students between 2013 and 2017

NAN reports that NICO commenced training on mother tongue languages since 2008.

Mrs Hajara Umar, one of the students who works with the University of Port Harcourt, said that the training facilitators were hospitable and accommodating.

Umar, a speaker of Hays, but learnt Igbo, said that she wanted to build a business empire and needed to improve her communication skill as well as learn other languages.

She said that this prompted her to enroll in the institute for the programme and be able to speak Igbo fluently.

“I wish I could come back and learn more, they made the learning of Igbo easy for me.

“Now, I will be able to communicate in that language with residents of Port Harcourt better when I returned there,” she said.

Mrs Omowunmi Ugoro, a civil servant who also learned the Igbo language, said that the instructors were patient and friendly enough to impact knowledge on their students.

Ugoro urged the management of NICO to increase the duration of the training to a year for proper comprehension and increase in speech ability.

“The training duration of four weeks is short to learn a language and be able to speak it fluently. I believe what is worth doing at all, is worth done well.

“The institute should think of how it can extend the the duration for us because we want to know how to speak the language properly, ‘’she said.

Mrs Adenike Olasheinde, also a graduate, urged the institute to ensure textbooks were made available for students so that they could read on their own.

Olasheinde said that each lecture was a period to look forward to as the lecturers were jovial, making learning more interesting.

“I look forward to the class always but the institute should ensure that textbooks are provided for students to read after lecture.

“This will facilitate learning, even if the students will have to buy it, it will go a long way in helping our understanding, ‘’he said.

Mr Prince Edoka, a staff of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), expressed excitement over the knowledge acquired during the training.

Edoka said he could buy things in the market successfully now, speaking the Yoruba language.

Edoka wanted the institute to create more awareness for the free mother-tongue training because the attendance was not too encouraging.

He believed that a lot of people did not know about the programme.

“I enjoyed every bit of the lecture, the lecturers were quite hospitable but NICO needs to create more awareness about the programme.

“I know more people will get themselves enrolled this year if they are aware on time,” he said.

Mrs Emme Akande, a graduate of Igbo language at the institute said that she learnt a lot about the history of the Igbo people during the training.

Akande said that had endeared her more to the language, urging the institute to make fliers and distribute to organization’s to enable more people to benefit from the programme.

“The history of the Igbos has endeared me more to learning the language.”

“The training was interesting and I want the institute to make fliers that can be distributed in organizations,” she said.

Mr Louis Eriomala, the Acting Executive Secretary, NICO, said that the training was designed for students to come back to re- enrol after the completion of their initial programme.

Erilomala said the students could do this until they were satisfied and could speak fluently the local language they had chosen to acquire.

He said that handouts were made available for the students, and we’re usually advised to make photocopies for their personal use.

He urged students to put into practice the language they had learned so as not to forget it.

“Every student of the yearly-mother-tongue training is allowed to return to NICO and re- enrol for as long  as they want to learn more.

“The four weeks’ duration for full time and three months part time might not be enough that is why we give room for re- enrolment, at no cost to the students.

“The institute is not collecting money from anybody for all these.

“Our students should by make sure they speak that language they have learned so that they do not forget it. It should be part of them.

“This is one of the contributions of the institute toward guiding against any language from going into extinction in the country,’’ he said.


Taiye Baiyerohi