There are about 526 living languages in Nigeria, most of which are going extinct. One of them is the Izon language, spoken by a majority of the Ijaw people of Nigeria.
In order to save it from extinction, Bayelsa State Government has employed 30 teachers to teach the Izon language in primary schools in the state.
Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolo, announced this yesterday in Yenagoa, during the formal presentation of Izon language books to the management of schools in the state.
According to him, several books had been written in Izon dialects to actualize the government’s determination to preserve the language.
“A situation where Pidgin English now takes the place of the Izon language from individual families is a danger signal which, if not decisively handled now, may lead to the extinction of the language. In order to revive the language, Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration embarked on the training of Izon language teachers, 30 of whom passed out successfully and were automatically engaged by the state government,” Tuodolo said.
He added that the teachers specialized in the teaching of Epie/Atissai, Nembe, Ogbia and Kolokuma which formed the Izon traditional language.
Tuodolo said the state government had met all the requirements of the National Council for Education for Izon to be taught in primary schools in the state and called on parents and wards to take it as a responsibility to ensure that their children and wards were taught the Izon language at home and not Pidgin English.
Presenting the letter of appointment to each of the newly employed teachers, the Executive Secretary of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Walton Liverpool, said three primary schools were selected from each of the eight Local Government Areas as pilot schools where the teachers would teach the native language.