Stakeholders Chart Course for Sustenance of Igbo Language

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By David-Chyddy Eleke

Stakeholders in the South-east region yesterday came together to harp on the need to keep the Igbo language alive, decrying the nonchalant attitude about Igbo people on the fast disappearance of their language.

At a colloquium held in Enugwu-Ukwu Civic Centre in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, several personalities gave ideas as to how to keep the language from going into extinction, enjoining all to ensure they always speak the Igbo language.

President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Anambra State, Damian Okeke, who was also at the event, called for a law that would compel the Igbo people to speak the language and also dress in its cultural attires as a way of encouraging the customs and traditions of the people.

“We can start with the Enugwu-Ukwu which has held a yearly colloquium on this topic by asking that the traditional ruler of Enugwu-Ukwu, Ralph Ekpeh, makes a law that would encourage all members of the community to speak Igbo language.

The lead speaker at the event, a Professor of African and Contemporary studies at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Prof Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, spoke on the theme: ‘Community-based approach to promoting and sustaining Igbo Language’.

She queried Nigeria’s colonial masters for their disregard for Igbo language as well as the imposition of the English language on the people.

“The white man did well by coming to give us civilisation, but in teaching us what they know and what they want us to learn, they should have looked well to see what we have that is worthy of preservation.

“Our language is our pride. Our people must learn to speak our language so that the prediction of UNESCO that Igbo language is among those that will go extinct in 2050 does not come to pass,” she said.