A bill for a law to establish a Centre for Igbo Language, Research and Development for the purpose of promoting, preserving and restoring the use of Igbo language in Imo State, has passed second reading at the floor of the state House of Assembly.
The bill, sponsored by Hon. Ekene Nnodumele, member for Orsu state constituency, which sought to amend Law No. 9, 2010 of the state, may be cited as the Center for Igbo Language Research and Development (amendment) Law, 2020.
Also, according to the proponent, the law when passed into law would make teaching and learning of Igbo language compulsory in schools across the state and for the students.
It would equally encourage the preservation of other aspects of Igbo culture and traditions, which many believe, would soon go into extinction if something is not done fast.
Speaking on the bill at the plenary on Tuesday, Nnodumele canvassed the need to, “promote the understanding and appreciation of Igbo language by organizing lectures, discussions, refresher courses, symposia, exhibitions, performances, demonstrations, quizzes, debates and other cultural activities to further keep Igbo language alive in the state.”
He further highlighted the importance to, “reach out and sensitize all Imo State Indigenes at home and abroad as well as donor agencies on the need to raise funds for the sustenance of the Center, the promotion and preservation of Igbo language.
“To encourage corporate bodies as part of their Social Corporate Responsibility in communities where they are sited to initiate programmes and educational activities aimed at advocating and promoting the use of Igbo language, and developing Igbo language further.”And to provide incentives for workers, teachers and leaners who have distinguished themselves in Igbo language studies and development.”
The Orsu lawmaker also urged the Speaker, Rt Hon. Paul Emeziem and the House to to adopt one day in a month wherein all the deliberations at the plenary shall be done in Igbo language; and the Traditional Rulers in the state, to ensure that all the deliberations at their respectives palaces are also done in Igbo language.
Adding their voices, co-sponsors of the bill among other lawmakers including Rt. Hon. Amara Iwuanyanwu – Deputy Speaker (Nwangele), Hon. Barr. Arthur Egwim (Ideato North), Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins (Isiala Mbano), Hon. Amb. Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru), Hon. Michael Onyemaechi (Ihitte-Uboma), Hon. Emeka Nduka (Ehime Mbano), and Hon. Amb. Uju Onwudiwe (Njaba), all commended the bill chief sponsor for his ingenuity while describing the bill as apt and pertinent.
They opined that the importance of the bill cannot be over-emphasized, and solicited that the bill should be accelerated into law, because of its obvious inherent benefits and importance.
“Igbo language, just like every other language is an identity. It helps to build togetherness, brotherhood, peace and harmony among the people.” Chiji Collins said”Igbo language is our heritage and should be preserved. We should be proud of our culture and also ensure that our children and generations yet unborn do so too. We must do our best to ensure that this bill is passed into law as soon as possible because of its obvious benefits and importance.” Onwudiwe added.
Thereafter, the bill was moved to the committee stage and it may be the first among other non executive bills at the committee stage that would be passed into law by the 9th House, giving the collective nods it received at the floor of the house.