DELTA State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has advocated strident efforts to preserve African languages.
Governor Okowa made the call on Saturday in Owa, Ika North-East local government area of Delta State at the launching of Ika Dictionary (Ekukwo Oku Nkowa) and lecture at the 19th edition of Ogwa Ika organised by Onu Ika Nigeria.
According to the Governor, “I am excited to be here today, we should make efforts to preserve our culture and preserving our language is very important; I am sure that with this dictionary, many people will develop interest in Ika language and will help to preserve the language of the people.”
Governor Okowa lauded Onu Ika Nigeria for deepening Ika culture observing that the annual Ogwa Ika has provided a forum for the people of the area to meet annually and discuss issues of common interests.
He also, used the occasion to state what his administration was doing to tackle herdsmen menace, observing that while there are genuine herdsmen, there are criminal elements among them who carry AK 47 assault rifles.
The Governor disclosed, “a lot of those who are involved in kidnappings have been arrested, they will be tried at designated courts, unfortunately, some of our people connives with them to commit crime, they will all be tried.”
“Most states are affected by the activities of herdsmen but, with the massive land in the north, through irrigation, they can have enough land for grazing with ranches,” he stated and used the occasion to assure Deltans that harassment of developers by unscrupulous youths in the name of levies popularly known as deve would soon be a thing of the past as anyone caught extorting money from the people would be prosecuted.
In a lecture titled, “the paradox of nomadic fulani herdsmen and host communities,” Prof. G.G. Darah said, “the ultimate solution to the terror of herdsmen is in the restructuring of the political and economic systems in Nigeria; the popular demand is for the country to be run according to the principles of federalism which Nigerian nationalists agreed upon at independence in 1960.
“The conflicts generated by the nefarious activities of nomadic herdsmen are symptomatic of a larger structural and ideological crisis in Nigeria; the systems of power and authority in the country do not serve the interests of the vast majority of the people,” he said, reiterating, “the Nigerian government’s plan to establish grazing reserves and ranches is part of the modernization efforts, but, the government should not impose a law to dispossess communities and individuals of lands for the purpose.”
Earlier in an address, Daniel Usifor, Head, Collective Leadership, Onu Ika Nigeria asserted, “Onu Ika has largely enflamed, sustained and enlarged the frontier of Ika identity and the mantra of Ika unity … and the launching of the first edition of Ika Dictionary of over two hundred pages is a collective efforts to ensure that Ika language is not lost in the debris of history.”