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Parents, guardians urged to guard against extinction of Nigeria languages

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Some of the students dressed in their ethnic attires.

The Principal of Neander International School, Epe, Mr. Idris Agbaje, has called on parents and schoolteachers to teach Nigeria children their mother tongues, as the country is fast losing its unique cultural value.

He said Nigeria has the largest number of languages on the verge of extinction and canvassed the need to reverse the trend.

Agbaje spoke at the school’s cultural day cerebration held in the school playground, where he stressed the need for Nigerian children to understand their culture, which could only be transmitted through the various mother tongues.

He stated further that language is an indispensable tool for human communication and people who lose their language also lose their identity. Agbaje said it is the duty of everyone, including teachers to teach children their culture and language and make them to be proud of it.

According to him, “Some students can speak their languages very well but because they don’t want to appear local, they want to hide and not speak it, but when you bring up this kind of programme, they see that there is nothing bad in speaking our languages.

“So, it is everybody’s job to teach our children our languages. It is because of the way we have carried ourselves as a country. If you can learn how to speak English, a foreign language, you should also learn how to speak your own language.

The little one you can speak you inherited from your parents. Some of you will tell me, ‘I can understand but can’t speak!’ How can you understand and not be able to speak? So, how will you teach your own children?”

He added that there was no conflict or harm for children who could speak an international language and their mother tongues. He explained that Russian professors who lecture in English universities speak with Russian accent and aren’t abused but they cannot still pronounce ‘Adejire’ even when Nigerians are experts in pronouncing Russian names.

Meanwhile, the students marked the 2018 cultural day event with chains of spectacular expositions, as they displayed various ethic groups’ customs and norms. The students shone in their colourful attires that reflected their Urhobo, Efik, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, and Esan ethnic origins.

Students from the North Central presented a drama piece on how the Hausa perform marriage rite, showcasing their simple but rich traditional attires and the cuisine found in the region which the students also prepared.

A Yoruba cultural group also cast news and performed their presentations in Yoruba. They educated fellow students on ekun iyawo, egungun festival, Yoruba proverbs while Damilola Adeoluwa did ise loogun ise. They also displayed beautiful Yoruba attires made of lace and aso-ofi and a presentation of their indigenous food – amala and ewedu.
 
The students also did a presentation from the South South region in terms of their way of dressing, marriage rites, manner of communication and greeting, religion, types of food, norms and values. The group danced, sang and spoke Urhobo.


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