By Taiye Baiyerohi
Lagos – The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) on Friday urged Houses of Assembly in states to conduct plenary sessions using indigenous languages to boost the nation’s culture.
Mr Louis Eriomala, the Acting Executive Secretary of the institute, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said the institute was worried by the rate at which indigenous languages was losing value due to negligence.
“ Language is one of the most valuable possessions of the human race because it encapsulates the roots, philosophy and culture of its native speakers.
“ The state houses of assembly would be playing important role in ensuring that indigenous languages gain prominence among the speakers when they engage such during plenary,’’ Eriomala said.
He added that this would be easy in states where there are dominant languages.
Eriomala, however, said in cases of many languages, they could be rotated and the services of interpreters engaged.
“This will encourage cultural integration and diplomacy among the house members and Nigerians generally because they will begin to see the importance of embracing the indigenous languages.
“Language is the vehicle through which culture rides through; our indigenous languages must be in use for such languages not to have a natural death over time.
“Not only does language define us, it is also the essence of our being and identity on the global playing field.
“The use of our native languages for serious matters of state by our legislature, executive and judiciary will enable our people to be able to dig deep into the knowledge,’’ he said.
The cultural ambassador urged parents to consistently engage their children and wards in their indigenous languages at home so as to properly familiarise them with the language.
“At a tender age, a child could learn five to six languages at the same time and would have good comprehension and mastery of the languages,’’ Eriomala said.
According to him, when children are groomed in the indigenous languages early enough, they become good ambassadors of the language and the nation as a whole.
“Our language is the tool for developing our self-image and self-worth, not only as individuals, but as a nation, a people and a civilization.
“Parents must insist on children speaking indigenous language at home and make them proud of it because it is a means of their identity,” he said.