From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
Prof. Umaru Ahmed, a retired Professor of language from Nasarawa State University, said on Tuesday, that only the use of indigenous language in academic institutions would liberate Nigeria from abject poverty.
Ahmed stated this in a Keynote address, presented at the 1st International Conference with the theme, “Humanities and the Challenge of Poverty in Africa in the 21st Century”, organised by Faculty of Arts, Kaduna State University (KASU).
He said that poverty could be material and non material, describing non material poverty such as intellectual poverty, lack of skills and initiative as the main driver of poverty in the country.
According to him, education is the key to ending poverty in Africa and Nigeria in particular, adding that the use of indigenous language will make it easier to educate the country’s population.
“A child learns better and faster in his mother’s tongue because it flows naturally and enables a child to express himself better than foreign language.
“This is evident in the developed countries of the west that uses indigenous languages in educating their population.
“Unfortunately, African countries adopted foreign languages as main means of communication and teaching, which remained a hindrance to effective transfer of knowledge in our schools.
He called on governments at all levels to institute policies that allow the use of indigenous language in educating the people.
One of the lead paper presenter, Prof. Okpe Okpe, of History Department, Federal University, Lafiya, said that poverty is multidimensional and should not be viewed only on the bases of how much money a person has.