Nigerian languages could be at risk of going into extinction.
To curtail this, linguists in the country have called on the Federal Government to undertake a language survey, documentation and analysis of oral legislature and lexicon to have a correct statistics of languages in the country.
This was made known at a National Consultative Forum on Nigerian Endangered Languages which had in attendance, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed amongst others.
The event which had the theme, 'Creating Strategies for Preventing Language Loss in Nigeria', also had former President of Linguistic Association of Nigeria, Prof Ahmed Amfani and Professor of Linguistics from the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Jos, Prof Andrew Haruna in attendance.
Haruna revealed that Nigeria is the third richest country in the world in terms of language, as it has about 500 languages out of 7,000 languages in the world.
Unfortunately though, he noted that Nigeria's linguistic diversity is riddled in controversy, as there's no specific figure of languages in Nigeria due to lack of survey.
He added that the disappearance of language is the disappearance of culture, meaning that the country would be witnessing depletion in its cultural heritage as languages disappear.
Lai Mohammed also said "it is unfortunate that 80% of Nigerian youth, especially those between the age bracket (12-18) years, find it difficult to speak their mother tongue fluently or do not speak them at all."
He further said western education and globalisation had set Africa back significantly in the area of linguistics, which pertinently is the cornerstone of every nation’s development.
He therefore proposed language imperialism which causes the abandonment of cultures and traditions should be discouraged through international legislations and proclamations by UNESCO.