Group offer scholarship to Igbo indigenes to study Igbo language in Unilag



Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia

In her efforts to save the Igbo language from going into extinction the Igbo Woman Assembly (IWA) has offered to sponsor any Igbo indigene who will apply to study the Igbo language in the University of Lagos.

The National President IWA, Mrs Nmeka Chimezie, who announced the offer in Umuahia the Abia State capital shortly after the organization’s economic summit on Wednesday, said the move is intended to stop the Igbo language department in the institution which currently has no student from being closed down.

She revealed that a research conducted by IWA has shown that the Igbo language was at it eighth stage of extinction, pointing out that if urgent step is not taking to preserve the language it will die a natural death if it crosses to stage nine to eleven.

Chimezie said the group has established seven schools to encourage the teaching of Igbo language and tradition exclusively.

She said,”Our language if care is not taking will go into extinction very soon, there are eleven stages in which a language can go into extinction, from our own researches we have discovered that Igbo language is at the eight stage of extinction.

“Most young men and women that are of child bearing age in the South-East don’t speak the Igbo language to their children. If we have about 1000 children in the South-East, 80 of them don’t speak nor understand the Igbo language. Then for people of child bearing age that were born outside the South-East, most of them don’t speak nor understand the Igbo language, not to talk of teaching their children the language.

“If there’s no transference of the language from generation to generation, it will die automatically.
For about 30 years we carelessly slipped into speaking the English language to our children and I have asked a lot of people why they speak English to their children and they don’t have any answer to it.
motive was simply inspired by inferiority complex because people think the English language is superior to the Igbo language”.

The IWA president said the group will take advantage of the 2024 United Nations World Mother Tongue day to drive their fight to restore the speaking of Igbo language among Igbos children home.

“We key into the UN’s “Mother Tongue” day which is marked on February 21 every year.
We will hold this year’s celebration in Owerri the Imo state capital.
We intend to use the opportunity to speak to our lawmakers, clergymen and the academia on the need to restore the Igbo language.

“Our vision is to ensure the sustainability and propagation of the Igbo language and cultural values across generations”, she said.

Chimezie also added that IWA is passionate about restoring the glory of the Igbo women through economic empowerment, promotion of Igbo language and reviving the rich Igbo culture.

“We want to provide educational and community based program that will forster the understanding and appreciation of the Igbo language and tradition.

“We also want to empower women economically by providing low interest loans and skill acquisition to ensure every Igbo child is raised using Igbo language in our homes.

“We are going to establish Igbo training centres in all the thirty six states in Nigeria and in the diaspora, to revive and reform our native laws and customs.
This includes but not limited to defining the role of wives in our homes.
Protecting wife’s right to own property and control their earnings.
Promoting and protecting widows rights and reviving the custom of collective child training (Oha nwe nwa).

“We will also encourage inter-marriage among Igbos. To promote Agriculture through corporative society, mechanize farming and providing equipment for enhanced productivity.
To establish food processing factories for example rice processing, gari processing palm processing and converting our raw materials into finished products.

“We have observed that things have fallen apart in the Igbo nation because women are not actively involved in nation build