Bayelsa Makes Ijaw Language Compulsory


The Bayelsa House of Assembly has passed a resolution to make the study of the Ijaw language compulsory in all public and private schools in the state.

The adoption of the resolution followed a motion by Hon. Jonathan Obuebiteh, representing Nembe 1, that western culture was eroding the local languages of the people.

The motion was supported by the majority of the 24-member House.

It sought to compel the ministry of education to develop a new curriculum for the teaching and learning of a common Ijaw language to preserve the culture of the people.

The Ijaw ethnic nationality is believed to be the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria after Hausa,Yoruba and Igbo.

The House, presided over by the Speaker, Nestor Binabo, expressed its determination to project the Ijaw language as a subject in schools within the state in a move to guide against its extinction.

Obuebiteh had argued that there was the urgent need to include the study of indigenous language in the primary and post-primary school curriculum.

In their contributions to the motion debate, Kombowei Benson and Peter Akpe, expressed fear that the indigenous languages were going into extinction.

They said that if indigenous languages were made compulsory in schools, pupils could have better knowledge transfer through their mother tongue.

Ebamugha Empere, in supporting the motion, added that  no nation could develop by throwing away its own language and culture, which represented the identity of the people.

Parts of the resolution also include a directive to the ministry of information, strategy and orientation, to carry out a sensitisation campaign to encourage the speaking of the Ijaw native languages in homes.