Nigeria’s telecommunication company, 9mobile has thrown its weight behind efforts to preserve Nigeria’s indigenous languages and cultural diversity with the celebration of the International Mother Language Day, a United Nations initiative to encourage the preservation and protection of all languages.
Riding on the year’s theme ‘Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society’, 9mobile, a wholly Nigerian communication company, is creating awareness of the need to preserve and protect Nigeria’s indigenous languages.
According to 9mobile’s Executive Director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Abdulrahman Ado, it is important that Nigerians are proud of their rich cultural heritage and multilingual diversity. ‘‘As a leading communication brand focused on communication, 9mobile recognizes the need for society to ensure the survival of our native languages. Indigenous languages are an essential aspect of the collective symbol of our National identity and portray us as culturally vibrant people to the rest of the world. There must be structures in place to ensure the preservation of all languages to protect the socio-cultural rights and dignities of all people.”
Ado further stated that “Mother languages play a key role towards every child’s cognitive development especially at the early stage of development and in the full inclusion and integration of all persons into society. Therefore, Parents should ensure the smooth passage of their local languages to their young ones as a key aspect of their self-identity and pride. Our educational system must also begin to prioritize the orthography of our various languages in curriculum design.”
The International Mother Language Day initiative was designed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 to promote the preservation and protection of all languages. International Mother Language Day recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind.
Nigeria is home to over 250 ethnic groups with even more diverse languages and dialects in different states of the federation. Although English, a colonial bequest, is the nation’s official language, the three major language groups in the country are Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, with several other languages and dialects spoken by various ethnic nationalities across the country.