The 2016 edition of the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), organized by the South-East Zonal Office of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Owerri, Imo State, has been officially declared open.
This is at a time stakeholders have condemned the inability of young Igbo children to speak the language and attribute it to the failure of mothers to teaching their children the Igbo language, as the phrase, “Mother tongue”, implies.
The one-month intensive language programme, which is the 8th edition in the zone, kicked off on Wednesday, the 3rd day of August, 2016, with an in-house opening ceremony, at the office complex of NICO South-East Zone, located at Plot 9a Works Road, off Bala Junction Owerri, Imo State.
While declaring the programme open, the South-East Zonal Coordinator of NICO, Ms. Justina Akhilome, said that the Institute initiated the language programme in response to the disheartening situation concerning the status of Nigerian indigenous languages and that the programme was designed to create awareness on the need to speak our indigenous languages.
Noting with dismay the predictions by experts the rising rate at which Nigerian indigenous languages were steadily being endangered and that most Nigerian languages will be extinct in the next three decades, she called on parents, stakeholders and culture practitioners to acknowledge their responsibility in preventing the demise of our indigenous languages.
Ms. Akhilome also said that there is no culture without a language and any group or people that allow their language to go into extinction have totally lost their pride of place in the human society.
The Zonal Coordinator congratulated members of staff of the zonal office for the achievements in the last couple of years, acknowledging the fact that a lot still needed to be done to save our languages from extinction, and finally advised parents to send their children/wards to the NICO Owerri training centre, located at the office complex, to save our languages from going into extinction; thus, promoting our rich cultural heritage.
In her vote of thanks, the Head of Orientation and Cultural Affairs of the zonal office, Mrs. Adeline Onwochei, expressed her immense gratitude to the audience for their cooperation towards the success of the opening ceremony, and appealed to the guests, parents and members of staff to nominate at least one candidate for the programme.
The NICO South-East Choral Group and Cultural Troupe thrilled the audience with cultural choruses and performances; just as the drama group of the zone, presented to the audience a drama, entitled, “The Importance of Indigenous Language”, which showcased the advantages of understanding more than one language.
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