Applause and commendations from participants and guests on Thursday, 31st August, 2023 trailed the end of the maiden edition of the Nigerian Indigenous Languages Programme (NILP) organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Jos office, Plateau State.

Speaking at the closing ceremony the Secretary General of Plateau Initiative for Development and Advancement of the Natives (PIDAN), Comrade Nanle Gojur, who is the special guest of honour, commended NICO under the Leadership of the Executive Secretary, Mallam Ado Mohammed Yahuza for its continued efforts towards promoting and projecting the Nation’s Indigenous Languages and Culture closer to the people.

Gojur said he was delighted over NICO’s efforts because it was the right step that would see that Nigerian languages and culture are not relegated to the background. This is in recognition of the fact that language plays a pivotal role in the promotion, preservation and propagation of culture and it is one of the veritable means by which our intangible cultural heritage can be transmitted.

He however called on the participants and relevant stakeholders to pay attention to the numerous indigenous languages going into extinction, noting that “all languages across the length and breadth of the country, particularly minority languages are gradually going from vulnerable to endangered to extinct”. He called on the public to make use of this rare opportunity to learn a language other than their own to help them integrate and live peacefully with each other.

In a separate remark, the representative of the Plateau State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) DCC Sambo Joseph Peter, emphasized the importance of language as a veritable tool for promoting unity, peace and understanding in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria. DCC Peter stressed that the importance of the mother tongue in a society cannot be overstated as it binds people together and also plays a vital role in peace negotiations and conflict resolutions.

Earlier in his remark, the the Executive Secretary, who was represented by the State head, Mr Ibrahim Malgwi commended participants for their active participation, particularly with the impressive turn-out throughout the four-week intensive programme. He also applauded the resource persons- Mallam Usman Nanfwang Audi the Hausa, Miss Adaeze Okafor Igbo and Mr Adeyemi Emmanuel Yoriba for their commitment to teaching the various indigenous languages. He encouraged the participants to put into practice what they have learnt as constant use of the language will make them perfect it.

Mr. Ekanem Nnamsowo a staff of the National Gallery of Art, and Mr. Zandi of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps who spoke on behalf of the participants expressed their appreciation and satisfaction with the programme. They said the languages learnt will help them in discharging their duties and integrating with different nationalities.

The one-month intensive language programme witnessed participation from agencies such as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Federal Ministry of Environment, the National Gallery of Arts (NGA) National Archives, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other individuals.

The high point of the event was the Participants thrilling the audience with songs and playlets in the three indigenous languages namely, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Certificates were presented to the participants and prizes were given to the Best in each of the languages taught and the most punctual.