Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Two groups from the host community of the National Institute for Nigerian Languages (NINLAN), Aba, have pledged to partner the Institute to reverse its many years of neglect and engender improved status for the indigenous language development centre.
The groups – Akumaimo Indigenous Forum and Onuoru Asaa Obikabia – gave the assurance when they paid separate visits to the Executive Director of the Institute, Prof. Obiajulu Emejulu and members of his management.
Chief Rowland Otete, Chairman of Akumaimo Indigenous Forum, who led the delegation, said his group would support NINLAN in its bid to solve the myriad of hurdles it is facing to enable it foster academic and physical development.
He said the Forum would set a machinery in motion to engage Federal and State political office holders from Obingwa Local Government Area, where NINLAN is sited, with a view to urging them to actively influence the upgrade of the physical and academic status of the institute.
Otete assured Professor Emejulu that they would get National Assembly members and other politicians from their area to be practically committed to helping the Institute get out of its present financial doldrums, academic programmes approval problems and infrastructural quagmire.
The chairman lamented that 40 years after the land was given to the Federal Government, the permanent site had remained largely undeveloped: ‘We don’t want these bushes to remain here, the land was not given for cultivation of crops or for growth of vegetation, but for academic purpose.’
The leader of Onuoru Asaa group, the land donors, Chief Friday Nwakamma, said it was necessary to interface with the Institute so that both would exist in peace and the land donors would enjoy more benefits, as a result of the existence of the Institute in their community.
Receiving the visitors, Prof Emejulu intimated them with the many challenges the Institute has been facing such as non-grant of takeoff fund to NINLAN at inception, inheriting a near-virgin 209.5 hectare premises to operate from and develop almost from the scratch, with little infrastructure.
He also intimated them of the difficulty in getting the National Universities Commission to permit the Institute to run degree programmes as enshrined in its Act and the ceding of the Institute to the UNN for seven years.