Some experts of diverse careers on Friday urged parents to teach their children and wards indigenous languages peculiar with each child early in life to uphold their identity and nation’s cultural heritage.
The experts made the call during the 2020 commemoration of the International Mother Language Day organised by Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) in collaboration with the Nigerian Film Corporation and Voice of Nigeria (VON).
The event was held at the Nigerian Film Corporation Cinema Complex, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The International Mother Language Day was earmarked by the United Nations General Assembly to promote awareness of linguistics and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
The theme for the year’s commemoration was: “Safeguarding Linguistic Diversity’’.
According to a movie producer, Olamilekan Ojo, parents should begin to sensitise their wards on the need to speak the mother tongue as it served as a means of identity.
He further said that every aspect of the nation’s culture including the multi-lingual feature was greatly admired by the western world that appeared to appreciate the culture better than Nigerians.
“We need to consciously promote our culture most especially our indigenous languages for posterity sake.
“Most of our indigenous languages have been reported to have gone into extinction; this is bad. We must collectively ensure none goes into extinction again,” he said.
Mr Abdulrazak Abdulsalam, a Deputy Director, Voice of Nigeria (VON), said it was important for parents to teach their wards local languages in order to fit into the society and stay relevant in the family circle.
Abdulsalam lauded the advent of community radios in the broadcasting scene which had helped in disaster management.
“Our mother tongue must be taken seriously. It should be given its pride of place,” he said.
Also a Veteran Actor, Olu Okekanye, said that when children were taught in their language, they comprehend better than when they were taught in English language.
He said it was observed that globally, people were going back to embrace the mother tongue, urging Nigerians to do same.
“Teaching the children in indigenous language distinguishes them. They will be the best, because they will comprehend more.
“As parents, we must teach our children the mother tongue so that it may be well with us all in the future,” he said.
The acting Director-General, CBAAC, Osaro Osayande, urged Nigerians to research on language diversity.
She said this should be aimed at the maintenance and development of Nigerian languages to conform to the dictates of the 21st century.
“Linguistic diversity should be encouraged at all levels of education.
“We should all encourage one another to uphold our mother tongue to enliven our culture,” Osayande said.