The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), South-East Zone Owerri Office, on 31st of August, 2023, closed this year’s August edition of the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) at its Zonal office Owerri-Imo State.

In his welcome remarks, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Mallam Ado Mohammed Yahuza, who was ably represented by the Zonal Director, NICO South-East office Owerri, Mrs. Chioma Duru, heartily welcomed everyone to the event and used the medium to highlight in details the activities of NICO. According to him, the language program which has different editions is one of the activities through which NICO achieved its mandate of training and orientation in Nigerian cultural matters with the objective of effecting a sense of cultural direction among the citizens. This he said is to meet the challenges of living in a multi ethnic and multi linguistic setting like Nigeria.

Speaking further, he stressed that for NICO, language goes beyond being a mere communication tool. It is a culture instrument that is very strategic in establishing relationships, fostering peaceful co-existence and essential in the achievement of social cohesion and national integration.

while still highlighting the essence of NICO’s Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme, he cited several relevant examples where one’s ability to speak and understand other indigenous languages has succeeded in creating strong bonds among the people of different cultural backgrounds. He also pointed out that it equally provides one with uncommon bargaining advantages in marketplaces outside one’s cultural territory.Not only this, he emphasized that knowledge of indigenous languages goes a long way towards enhancing quicker settlement, prompt adaptation as well as smooth and easy ,penetration into different cultural societies.He pointed out that language unarguably remains a reliable identity factor.

In conclusion, Zonal Director equally used the medium to ask the participants to outline the gains they garnered from the programme.
The participants in their responses highlighted several gains associated with the programme and their responses were in tandem with the underlying objectives of the programme. They were therefore encouraged to take what they learned in this programme with every seriousness it deserves by subjecting them to regular practice to avoid having what they have learnt going rusty.

The participants and resource persons were appreciated for their commitment which he pointed out was part of the success story of the language programme.

In theur response the Resource Persons for Igbo,Hausa,Yoruba and Efik took their turns to also bring to bear some advantages associated with Indigenous Languages and encouraged the participants not to relapse in learning them even as they close today recalling that effective learning processes demand a continuous practice

The highlight of the occasion was the presentation by the participants, showcasing the effective mastery of the various indigenous languages learnt.

At the end, certificates of participation were issued to all the participants while special packages were given to the best students in various Language classes as mark of recognition for their outstanding performances therein.

The participants on their side also commended the Management of NICO for putting up such a lofty Programme; stressing that they enjoyed every bit of it

The event finally came to a successful end with a vote of thanks by the Head of Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mrs Onwochei Adeline who appreciated the participants and the Resource Persons for their maximum co-operation during the period of the Program.She also expressed her unalloyed gratitude to the MDAs for responding very positively to their invitations.She also urged them to feel free to call her if need arises.She therefore encouraged them to respond in a similar manner when invitations would be issued to them for NICO’s subsequent Nigerian Indigenous Language Programmes.

Henry Ofoegbu
Corporate Affais Unit