Nigeria’s indigenous languages are endangered

May 16, 2017

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has recently said the country’s indigenous languages could go into extinction in no distant future if urgent steps are not taken to preserve them.

In the 2017 Annual Round Table on Cultural Orientation, the Minister said that ”there is a remarkable decline in the usage of our indigenous languages by our children and youth; many of them cannot read or write in their mother tongue.” He said concrete measures must be taken to preserve indigenous languages, including the need for parents to ensure that their children are taught their indigenous languages.

Nigeria is a country where more than 500 languages coexist, although English is the official language, as it facilitates the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. As far as local languages are concerned, the major languages spoken in Nigeria represent three major families of languages of Afric: the majority are Niger-Congo languages, such as Igbo or Yoruba; Kanuri, spoken in the northeast is part of the Nilo-Saharan family; and Hausa is an Afroasiatic language.