Danjuma commissions Jukun Bible Institute, wants language preserved
Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Theophilus Y. Danjuma, has warned that Jukun language might go into extinction if urgent steps were not taken by the indigenes.
Danjuma gave the warning yesterday while commissioning the Jukun Bible Institute (JBI) in Takum local council of Taraba State.
The project came into fruition 66 years after the idea of translating the Holy Bible from English language into Jukun was conceived.
Speaking at the ceremony, Danjuma said the Institute would enhance the translation of the holy book into Jukun language.
He explained that the idea of the JBI was conceived in 1956 by an American lady, Margaret Dykestra, who was assisted by a Nigerian, Mallam Jeol Omiri, to translate the Bible into Jukun language.
According to him, before leaving Nigeria for America, Dykestra approached him (Danjuma), handed the completed New Testament of the holy book to him and pleaded with him to continue with the translation project.
He urged the Jukun to endeavour to use the translated version of the Bible to spread the gospel of God in Jukun language to promote peace and unity in the land, adding that they must ensure that Jukun language does not go extinct.
“We cannot continue to teach our children foreign languages. I always found myself guilty of speaking English with my children; let us imbibe the spirit of speaking our languages with the children, that is our identity.
“Translating the Bible in Jukun language does not mean we are competing with any church, we are only consolidating the efforts of Christendom to spread the gospel of God in local languages.
“My advice is to you the Jukuns Worldwide is do not let the Jukun translated Bible remain in the bookshelves; get it and use it by teaching your children the gospel of God and need to speak their language,” he said.
Citing the UNESCO prediction of the possibility of some Nigerian languages going into extinction in 2025, the former COAS urged religious leaders, educationists as well as parents to go extra miles in ensuring that the language (Jukun) continues to gain prominence in Nigeria and Africa at large.
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