Centre for Social and Inter-Ethnic Cohesion, CENSIC has condemned the use of vernacular language during the Press briefing by the presidential task force on COVID-19.
The group in a press statement signed by its Director of Public Relations, Wellington Olaiya, noted that though the communication was done in the three major languages in the country, it is not appropriate to address issues affecting all Nigerians.
The statement read in part that, “we abhor the indifference to the multi-ethnic composition of Nigeria during the press briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19. We condemn questions asked by various reporters in Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo in a national setting that address issues affecting all Nigerians.
“The Minister of Interior, Minister of Environment, the Secretary-General of the Federation and the DG NCDC who should know better did not address this flagrant disregard of the official language of Nigeria.
“We wish to remind these members of the execute arm of government and the reporters involved that there are over five hundred indigenous languages in Nigeria, and the elevation of any native language above others is a threat to inter-ethnic cohesion.”
The group thereafter appealed to all government agencies and officials to denounce any action that could directly or indirectly seem to elevate any language or ethnic group above others.
“There are many print and electronic media to cater to the needs of Nigerians who do not understand the official language of Nigeria, and the use of a national press briefing to communicate in select languages is unfortunate, especially when the matter at hand is of utmost importance.
“We shall not fail to undertake court action against any government official or agency that continues to disregard the official language and multi-ethnic composition of Nigeria in the course of their official duties”, it added.
CENSIC is an advocacy tank established in 2017 to propagate the benefits of a cohesive multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.