Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has urged for collective effort among relevant stakeholders in preserving local languages in Nigeria to promote social integration and prevent loss of identity.
The governor said this on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Mother Language Day, marked by the United Nations.
Obaseki decried the lackluster attitude to the preservation of languages, challenging linguists, parents and other concerned stakeholders to coordinate efforts in regaining the fast receding fortunes of Nigerian languages.
According to him, “it is imperative to celebrate a day like this. This will draw attention to the issue of loss of languages. In Edo State, we have taken deliberate steps to ensure that we preserve our local languages by engaging dedicated teachers.”
He added, “We are committed to revamping the basic education sector. This is why we are working hard to ensure that dedicated teachers for languages are provided for in the Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme.
According to the United Nations, “Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear. Globally 40 per cent of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Nevertheless, progress is being made in mother tongue-based multilingual education with growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling, and more commitment to its development in public life.”
The UN added that, “Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way.”