CBAAC DG, Dr Ferdinand Anikwe

As part of plans to prepare for the resolution on the “Rights of the Indigenous Peoples” adopted at the 55th meeting of the 3rd Committee of the UN General Assembly, the Centre for Black Arts and Africa Civilisation (CBAAC) on Thursday said that organising regular inter-school language competitions, debates and quiz would promote the use of African indigenous languages among students.

This was stated by CBAAC’s Director-General (DG), Dr Ferdinand Anikwe, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. prizes and awards should be given to winners of such competitions to encourage others.

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He said prizes and awards should be given to winners of such competitions to encourage others.

This suggestion would prepare owner-speakers of indigenous languages for 2019 which the United Nations has declared as the year of indigenous languages.

The United Nations on Nov. 22, 2016 adopted the resolution on the “Rights of indigenous peoples”. This is after the UN member-states discussed and noticed the death of indigenous languages and recognised an urgent need to preserve, revitalise and promote them at both national and international levels.

The resolution stressed the urgent need to preserve, promote and revitalise endangered languages. It invited UNESCO to “serve as the lead agency for the Year.”

Anikwe said, “We the third world countries have more challenges in sustaining and reviving our indigenous languages because of the viral nature of colonialism.

“This has distorted the growth of some of these languages but prevented some of them at infancy.

“I call on Nigerians to organise as many competitions as possible before 2019 and give the winners awards and scholarships so as to gear them to speak our indigenous languages.

“So that by 2019, we will have minimal work to do,” he said.

The DG also said that it was pertinent to encourage the use of these indigenous languages as they would have their contributions to human development.

According to him, this would be revealed when the ideologies, philosophies and historical imperatives hidden in those languages are unveiled.