HOST COMMUNITY TO PARTNER WITH INSTITUTE TO UPGRADE ITS STATUS
Two groups from the host community of the National Institute for Nigerian Languages (NINLAN), Aba have pledged to partner with the Institute to reverse its many years of neglect and engender improved status for the indigenous language development centre.
The groups - Akumaimo Indigenous Forum and Onuoru Asaa Obikabia - gave the assurance when they paid separate visits to the Executive Director of the Institute, Prof. Obiajulu Emejulu and members of his management.
Chief Rowland Otate, Chairman of Akumaimo Indigenous Forum, who led the delegation, said his group would support NINLAN in its bid to solve the myriad of hurdles facing it and enable faster academic and physical development of the Institute. He said the Forum would set a machinery in motion to engage Federal and State political officers from Obingwa Local Government Area, where NINLAN is sited, with a view to urging them to actively influence the upgrade of the physical and academic status of NINLAN.
Otate assured Professor Emejulu that they would get National Assembly members and other politicians from their area to be practically committed to helping the Institute get out of its financial doldrums, academic programmes approval issues and infrastructural quagmire.
The group expressed disgust with the little attention given the Institute by the Federal Government and the near-zero support it gets from political leaders from the state, and promised to meet with the influential stakeholders and to urge them to play the role expected of them as people from the area.
The chairman lamented that 40 years after the land was given to the Federal Government, the permanent site had remained largely undeveloped: "We don't want these bushes to remain here, the land was not given for cultivation of crops or for growth of vegetation, but for academic purpose".
Speaking on behalf of the Onuoru Asaa group of land donors, Elder Friday Nwakamma said it was necessary to interface with the Institute so that both would exist in peace and the land donors would enjoy more benefits, as a result of the existence of the Institute in their community.
Welcoming the community neighbors, Prof. Emejulu intimated them with the many challenges the Institute has been facing such as non-grant of takeoff fund to NINLAN at inception; inheriting a near-virgin 209.5 hectare premises to operate from and develop almost from the scratch, with little infrastructure; difficulty of getting the National Universities Commission to permit the Institute to run degree programmes as enshrined in its Act; the ceding of the Institute to the UNN for seven years; delay in getting NUC approval for affiliation, among others: "We are plagued by poor funding", the Professor lamented.
However, the Executive Director, told the visitors that, inspite of the foregoing hurdles, his Adminstration had made real and steady progress, and achieved much within a short period. He cited the new asphalted road running through the campus as a very important development.
Professor Emejulu said that the Institute's recently approved NCE programmes would be in their second year in the 2020/2021 academic year, as soon as Federal Institutions resume from the COVID-induced holiday. Moreover, five more Nigerian languages - Fulfulde, Kanuri, Tiv, Ibibio and Urhobo - are to be offered in addition to Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba at NCE level.
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