Wikimedians User Group Moves to Protect Igbo Language

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Igbo Wikimedians User Group has taken several initiatives towards the protection of the Igbo language and culture.

The Igbo Wikimedians are a group of people committed to working on various wiki projects related to Igbo language and culture, which is spoken by the Igbo people that are native to the present day South-Nigeria, with an estimated population of 34 million people, including those in Diaspora.

The Igbo Wikimedians user group aspires to leverage on this large number of people that speak the Igbo language to ensure that content production and consumption in the various Igbo language platforms of Wikimedia is given front row focus.

The Wikimedians affiliation committee officially granted the group recognition on May 5, 2018 as a user group to work towards the growth of other Igbo Wikipedia projects and encourage Igbo people that are literate in the language at any level to become contributors.

Since the affiliation, the group had been producing several contents, including Igbo Wiktionary and the Wikipedia Igbo Women Edit-a-thon project, to improve the presence of notable Igbo women on Wikipedia Igbo language platform by translations and creating new pages all in Igbo language.

One of the founding members, Blossom Ozurumba disclosed that the Igbo Wikimedians group is seeking collaboration with critical partners to ensure that the Igbo language does not go into extinction.

She revealed that the partnership targets Anambra State government and different universities in the South- east, where Igbo language is either offered as a course or a degree programme.

The design is to get the students of higher institutions to use Wikipedia for their project and material source for articles.

Ozurumba stressed that the collaboration will project Igbo language and culture, adding the Wikipedia foundation is a worthy partner supporting their passion for the Igbo language and culture.
“Igbo is one of the most spoken ethnic languages in Nigeria. We made a decision to expand the scope of work and embark on massive recruitment of Igbo editors that live in Nigeria and significantly improve the contents on Igbo language Wikipedia platform by translations and creating new pages in Igbo language, through the entire Wikimedia value chain,” Ozurumba said.

The prospect of Igbo Wikipedia going forward, according to another founding member, Ozurumba Uzoma, is bright.
Uzoma said the group is seeking more people to join Igbo Wikimedia and have Nigerians especially those of Igbo stock become Wikimedia residents – bringing articles about Igbo language and culture.