The Zonal Coordinator, National Institute for Cultural Orientation, (NICO) South-West Zonal Office, Akure, Ondo State, Mr. James Imohiosen has identified language as the bedrock of National Development, especially in a multi-cultural country like Nigeria.

Imohiosen made this assertion in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at the commencement of the one month long Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), organized by NICO. He said it is important for Nigerians to speak and master indigenous languages other than their mother tongue as it will help in promoting unity.

The language programme, according to Mr. Imohiosen, is one of the institute’s flagship programmes designed to among others, encourage Nigerians and non-Nigerians, resident in the country to learn at least one Nigerian indigenous language and serve as a panacea to threat of extinction of indigenous languages.

According to him, parents and guardians should be held responsible for their children’s inability to speak their mother tongue, stressing that the failure to speak local languages to children as they grow up is responsible for the lack of interest and gradual extinction of our indigenous languages. He warned that unless conscious steps are taken to stop the trend, our children will continue to place preference over foreign languages and take no pride in their indigenous languages.

One of the participants, Mrs. Bolaji Aina, applauded the programme, saying it is a veritable platform for uniting the nation. She expressed optimism that the opportunity to learn Hausa language will help her to communicate and express herself with most of her Hausa customers.

In attendance at the opening ceremony were participants from Ministries of Information; Education; Science and Technology; Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC); Nigeria Police Force; Nigeria Prison Service; Court of Appeal; Chapel of Grace as well as Secondary School Students who are on holiday among others.

Ehis Kingsley

Corporate Affairs unit

NICO, Akure