Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo cultural organisation has urged the Anambra State House of Assembly to enact law to make Igbo language a compulsory subject in all primary and secondary schools in the state.
The Anambra State chairman of the body, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, said this in Awka at the grand finale of Igbo quiz competition organised by Otu Igbo Adigo for all primary schools in the state.
He regretted the steady decline of Igbo language among the people of the area, describing the trend as a serious threat to their root and identify.
He said making the subject compulsory in all primary and secondary schools would save the language from going into extinction.
He said, “Igbo people are experiencing a gradual decline in the use of their mother language and culture.
“Enacting law that will make Igbo language a compulsory subject in all primary and secondary schools in the state will go a long way to checkmating the trend.”
Also speaking, Chairman, Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB), Chief Patrick Ugboaja pledged the board’s readiness to partner Otu Igbo Adigo group in its quest in promoting Igbo language.
He called on teachers and parents to encourage children to speak the language with pride at home, in schools, worship centres and other places to enable it assume its rightful position in Nigeria.
On his part, Head, Department of Linguistics Igbo, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Dr. Obiageli Nsolibe, explained that the Igbo quiz competition would inculcate the culture of Igbo language in the pupils.
She added that her department had Igbo books for use at different class levels to promote and preserve the language.
Earlier, the President, Otu Igbo Adigo, Lady Jane Chukwujindu said the competition was targeted at rekindling and sustaining children interests in Igbo language.
“We need to do something urgently before Igbo language will go into extinction within the next 50 years as predicted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).