The Federal Ministry of Education has assured the public that the standardised and harmonised orthography of four Nigerian languages would be effectively used by teachers, researchers and students to advance the teaching and learning of indigenous languages so as to preserve the country’s culture.
Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who announced this during the handing and taking over ceremony of the harmonised and standardised orthography of four Nigerian and other related languages, noted that orthography helps in the preservation of local languages by making them amenable to further improvement through research and documentation.
The Nigerian languages that had their standardised and harmonised orthography handed over to the Federal Ministry of Education are: Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Ijaw.
According to Wike: “Societies that have documented their indigenous languages continue to influence other societies in a manner that ensures the dominance of their culture and languages. The development of harmonised and standardised orthography in Nigerian languages should be viewed against this background and taken more seriously by all stakeholders if we must curtail the cascading influence of foreign cultures and values on our youths.”
The minister stated that the most practical strategy to check the decline in the study, knowledge and usage of indigenous languages is to have them documented.
“The need to do so as a country is strongly supported by the fact that we are a multi-ethnic nation. Consequently, our national literacy and education models must inevitably reflect the extant linguistic and ethnic pluralism.”
In his remarks, Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, declared that if Nigeria fails to promote the use of her languages, she risks stagnation, backwardness and amnesia.
Director-General of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, (CBAAC), Prof. Tunde Babawale, said the organisation worked on the harmonisation and standardisation of the four Nigerian languages to preserve, promote and propagate the country’s cultural heritage.