The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. Ado Muhammed Yahuza has expressed worry over the likely extinction of Nigerian languages, saying if urgent measures are not taken to reverse the trend, some of the languages may not survive in the near future.
Yahuza who made this call on Monday at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Headquarters, Abuja, venue of the 2nd edition of the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) in the Barracks, said there are speculations that some major and small languages in Nigeria may not survive the next fifty years.
His words “the alarm has been raised in socio-linguistic circles that over 90% of the world’s 7,000 languages are likely to go into extinction in the next century. The situation is not different in Nigeria. According to experts, more than half of over 400 languages in Nigeria are endangered. More alarming is the speculation that some of these languages may not survive the next fifty years if urgent measures are not taken to reverse the trend”.
He however said the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) in the Barracks is one of the Institute’s platforms to address the critical issue of language extinction and promote interest in the use of our indigenous languages.
“The barracks, as we all know, is home to officers, men and family members of the military, police and several para-military establishments. The barracks is a mini-Nigeria as occupants are from different parts of Nigeria with diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. The programme would be of enormous benefit in fostering peace, unity and social integration. It will also enhance espirit-de-corps, promote cordial relation between officers and their host communities and finally through their understanding of the indigenous languages, intelligence and information gathering would be enhanced”.
In his speech, the Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Alhaji Abdullahi Gana Mohammadu commended NICO for their choice to train officers of the corps in the major indigenous languages in Nigeria. He said the Corps relates directly with the grassroots and the learning of languages would help officers in intelligence gathering as well as assist them in the discharge of their duty.
He expressed confidence that with the core mandates of the corps which are intelligence gathering, disaster management, provision of security among others, the knowledge of indigenous languages will help officers in their different states of posting around the country.
Mohammadu however, acknowledged that there are culture variations and cultural differences which if well tolerated and harnessed, will bring about unity in diversity and peace.
He said NICO has a lot to offer in the promotion and preservation of Nigerian diverse cultures which are embedded in indigenous languages and so should through its various advocacy programmes, orientate the youths about the negative effects of drug abuse, addiction and bad foreign culture of nudity which has infiltrated our culture in recent times.
Similarly, the Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Haruna Tanko Jubrin emphasized the need for officers to speak languages other than their own, considering the challenges being faced by the country in the area of insecurity, stressing that the language programme will go a long way in helping in the area of surveillance and information gathering where necessary as well as encourage the security institutions towards a culture oriented life style.
He therefore enjoined officers of the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps to take advantage of the opportunity by availing themselves with the rich content of this programme as it will help in fostering a better relationship between the military and the citizens in their domain.
Other dignitaries present at the opening ceremony were: Deputy Commandant General, Operations, Mr. Kelechi Hillary Mmadu; Deputy Commandant General Administration, Alhaji Adamu Soja; Deputy Commandant General Intelligence, Mr. Idris Haruna; Assistant Commandant General, Finance, Mr. Fabian Ejezie; Assistant Commandant General, National Assets and Critical Infrastructure, Mr. Jonathan Yogo; Director, NICO Training School, Mrs. Brigette Yerima; Director Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie; Director Research and Documentation, Mr. Michael Ekoko; Deputy Director & Head, Orientation Unit, Mrs. Franca Okoro.
Caleb Nor & Njideka Dimgba
Media Assistant(s) to ES