Itsekiri Language Initiative Launched by Warri Kingdom and Ugbajo Itsekiri UK

By Chuks Peter, DELTA

In a significant move to preserve and promote the Itsekiri language, the Warri Kingdom, in collaboration with Ugbajo Itsekiri UK, has launched the Itsekiri Scheme of Work and developed a curriculum for the study of the Itsekiri language in primary and junior secondary schools across all Itsekiri communities, as approved by the Delta State Government.

Speaking at the event held on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at Nana Model College, Warri, the President of Ugbajo Itsekiri United Kingdom, Mr. Mejebi Eyewuoma, urged Itsekiri language scholars to leverage the resources of Ugbajo Itsekiri UK to establish an Itsekiri Linguistics Centre.

This centre aims to enhance the learning and preservation of the Itsekiri language.

Mr. Eyewuoma revealed that the project was inspired by the visit of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, CFR, and Olori Atuwatse III to London last year.

During the visit, the monarch unveiled roles Itsekiris in the diaspora can play in the health and educational development of the Warri Kingdom.

He appealed to the Delta State Governor, Elder Sheriff Oborevwori, and the State Commissioner for Education to support the initiative by recruiting and posting Itsekiri language teachers to areas where they are needed.

This would ensure the effective utilisation of their skills and promote the teaching of the Itsekiri language.

Mejebi also highlighted the necessity of supporting teachers in rural areas by providing relevant Itsekiri language textbooks and workbooks to facilitate learning and accelerate the development of the language.

In his address, Chairman of the occasion, Engr. Gbesimi Akperi, called for the establishment of an educational institution dedicated to the development, study, and teaching of the Itsekiri language and culture.

He expressed concern over the decline in the use of indigenous languages in society, noting that many local languages are becoming extinct, with younger generations unable to understand or speak their native tongues.

He stressed that government efforts to revive these languages in schools often face opposition from students, teachers, and ministry officials.

Engr. Akperi commended Ugbajo Itsekiri United Kingdom and Senator Daisy Danjuma for their contributions to the scheme.

He also praised officials from the Delta State Ministry of Secondary Education and the team from Ugbarajo Okwoneko Itsekiri for their technical support in completing the project.

He therefore urged all Itsekiri sons and daughters to support the initiative.

The Chief Launcher of the occasion, Senator Daisy Danjuma, represented by Chief Misan Okotie-Eboh, pledged a support of five million Naira to the project, to the appreciation of all present.

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