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Igbo language is under threat, Oxford Igbo Union take action

MEETING OF MINDS: Members of the Oxford Igbo Union

THIS YEAR'S Oxford Igbo Union Annual Lecture has been highly praised by delegates.

The lecture, which was entitled 'Is Igbo Language in Danger of Extinction?' was held on Saturday August 26 at Oxford Brookes University. The lecture explored the reasons why Igbo language is in decline, what efforts are currently being made to keep it and what needs to be done in the future to ensure the continuation of the language.

Speakers included the President of OADC UK & Ireland Kanayo Akabuike, Igbo writer Ezike Bon Ugwu and senior academic researcher Professor Joe Ukemenam.

Of the many issues discussed, the following key themes arose:

- Igbo State Governments are not doing enough to sustain Igbo language. There is a lack of funding to encourage people to study and research Igbo and also a lack of incentive for teachers to specialise in Igbo.

- Some progress has been made with Governments instructing traditional rulers to be speaking Igbo language and mandating school children to wear Igbo traditional dresses to school every Wednesday. However, overall these initiatives will do little to save the Igbo language from extinction. Igbo State Governments have a responsibility to implement effective policies to sustain Igbo language.

- Dr. Eke who was one of the many people that attended the lecture from London, stated that the Igbo language is indeed in danger of extinction as the language is not used in the study of science and there are no efforts in growing the language by officially recording the evolution of new words.

- A lack of respect for the language, even amongst Igbos. Priority is often given to other languages within families and organisations.

Chairman of the Oxford Igbo Union Chukwudi Okeke said:

"The Oxford Igbo Union Annual Lecture aims to bring together different organisations to raise awareness and discuss the issues facing the Igbo region.

"The 2017 Annual Lecture has been outstanding.

"Firmly-rooted action should be taken to ensure that the Igbo language does not become extinct. Language embodies the unique cultural wisdom of its people. A lost language is a lost culture and a lost identity. One of the aims of Oxford Igbo Union is to promote and maintain the Igbo language, culture and tradition."

For more information on the Oxford Igbo Union, click here.

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