Dr Mitchel Onugbolu, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Gov. Willie Obiano on Social Re-orientation, has tasked parents and guardians on the responsibility of teaching thier children and wards their native language.
Onugbolu, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Awka, said that parents had a huge role to play in ensuring that the native languages did not go into extinction.
She urged them to take seriously the speaking and teaching of such languages to their children.
The SSA said that the Igbo language, as a native language, should not be allowed to be “swallowed” by foreign languages.
According to her, neglecting the native language is detrimental to the the ethnic group.
Onugbolu said that the decline in youths speaking their native language was primarily a function of parents and guardians’ neglect to speaking and teaching it to their wards and children.
She however said that the situation could be remedied if parents went back to the rudiments of speaking, teaching and exposing their children to the language by proudly speaking it.
Onugbolu added that Igbo language could be promoted beyond its present status through giving children Igbo names and explaining their meanings to them so that the bearers would be proud of such names.
“We need to dress in our cultural attire, act dramas, sing songs and write books, among other things to sustain and project the beauty of the Igbo ethin group.
“People from the Igbo speaking part of Nigeria need to be proud of their language as other ethnic groups and project their food values and customs to draw the attention of the youngsters.
“Giving children Igbo names and teaching of Igbo beliefs, through folklore and other acts, will make meaning to the youths in their bid to embrace their culture,” she said.
Onugbolu also urged parents in the diaspora to promote Igbo language and culture where they reside to prevent their children from being completely “taken over” by foreign cultures.
Similarly, she called on writers to put more effort in the writing of books in Igbo to encourage reading and learning of the language in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
She further appealed to the National University Commission (NUC) and other stakeholders in education to also design a curriculum in Igbo language as done in other subjects to promote the language.