The Edo State office of the National Institute for Cultural Orientaion (NICO) on Wednesday 30, 2023 closes the maiden edition of the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) held at Ogbe Primary School, Oredo Local Government Area, Benin City, Edo State.
While welcoming invited guests and participants, the Executive Secretary, NICO, Mr. Ado Mohammed Yahuza, who was ably represented by the Edo State head of the Institute, Mrs. Ramatu U. Edegbe, observed that there is a serious desertification in the linguistic landscape of the nation due to lack of use of some indigenous languages and the nonchalant attitude of the speakers. He affirmed that the panacea to this anomalies is training in indigenous languages.

The State head asserted that it is incontrovertible that the loss of some indigenous languages is an irretrievable loss of the people’s collective wisdom. That is: their cultures, traditional occupation, medicine, technology, among others.
She stated that consequent upon the aforementioned, the institute is engaged in the training and retraining of Nigerians particularly in our indigenous languages towards a culture oriented lifestyle. He added that the One-month long Indigenous laguguage programme is one of many language training programmes embarked upon by the institute to ameliorate the challenges faced by our indigenous language. She uses the opportunity to informed participants to avail themselves for the weekend language programme coming up on October.

Giving a goodwill message, the Executive Chairman, Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs. Eyitayo Ozavize Salami who was represented by two senior officers from the board, Mrs. Unyime Ajah and Mrs. Molly Asalu appreciated and thanked the Institute for the laudable programme and made in clear statement that putting up a programme of this nature is not an easy task due to the economic realities in the country. She emphasied that SUBEB give premium to languages in schools at the early stage. She therefore encouraged the beneficiaries of the training programme to keep practicing the languages they have been taught as that it is the only way gain mastery of the language. She opined that when you practice what you have learnt, you gain more prowess and knowledge of it. She promised to collaborate with NICO in their future educational programmes.

Mrs. Aidamebor Florence, a representative of the Edo state ministry of education praised the initiative of the institute and thanked NICO for running the programme through to Four weeks despite the economic realities. She maintained that effort of this nature will not only keep and preserve our indigenous languages but also to sustained their usage and keep them from going into extinction.

The Curator, National Museums, Benin City, Mr. Mark Olaitan, give kudos to NICO and parents for availing their children and wards to participate in the language programme. According to him, it is quite unfortunate that Nigerians struggle to speak their dialects, he encourage everyone present to take pride in speaking their indigenous language, that a loss of ones language, is a loss of his or her identity.

Still on a goodwill, the Edo language facilitator, Mr. Abusomwan Clement, spoke succinctly on the success and benefit of the programme but advice for adequate publicity in subsequent editions. He therefore used the opportunity to plead with the authority of SUBEB to pay more emphasis to Edo language teachers for its sustainability.

As part of activities to round off the language programme, the curator of the National museums, Benin City, Pastor Mark Olaitan, who is also participants of the maiden edition, studying Edo language, had graciously given approval to NICO for an excursion to the museum, this saw
participants and NICO staff on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 visiting the National Museums, Benin City where they were taken on a guided tour of the museum. A tour guide at the museum, Mrs. Faith Ehigwese took time to explain various monuments found at the museums as participants took turn to ask her questions in relation to some relics found in the museum.

Speaking on their experience, Miss Sarah Eghosa Aiguobarueghion, expressed happiness for being part of the excursion to the museum, that she never dreamt of visiting the museum in the nearest future. ‘NICO have actually added a feather to my cap, I am highly elated’, she added further by thanking NICO Edo state office for the rare opportunity given to her and other participants to visit the museum in Benin City.

Highlights of the occasion were class presentations by various languages and issuance of certificates to deserving participants.

Dignitaries present at the occasion were the Representatives of the Executive Chairman, SUBEB, Mrs. Umjime Ajah and Mrs. Molly Asalu; a representative of the ministry of education, Mrs. Aidamebor Florence; representative of Oredo Local Government Area, Mrs. Mercy Iladosa and Mrs. Stella Uwadiae; a prominent Chief in Benin, Chief Osagie Korensi and the Curator, National Museums, Benin City, Mr. Mark Olaitan among others.

Corporate Affairs Unit
NICO, Edo state office