Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Gov. Diri warns cultural terrorism threatening Ijaws’ language, identity

“We are suffering from what is called environmental terrorism, mainly caused by the oil companies. But there is another terrorism that is threatening us is cultural terrorism.”

• August 14, 2022
Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri
Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri

The Bayelsa government has called on community leaders in the state to take deliberate steps to preserve their cultural values to fight moral decadence in society.

Governor Douye Diri made the call at the Onopa community while speaking as guest of honour at this year’s Uge-Adiafa (Yam) Festival of the Atissa people in the Yenagoa local government area.

Mr Diri, represented by Deputy Governor Ewhrudjakpo, expressed concern that the rich cultural heritage, including the language of the Ijaw, was threatened by western values and alien practices.

According to the governor, most of the dialects in the Ijaw land will be extinct if deliberate steps are not taken to safeguard them. He warned that when people lost their indigenous language, their culture and identity would also be lost.

He noted that although festivals constituted an expression of culture, the erosion of language could eventually lead to the extinction of the culture in the long run.

Mr Diri reminded parents and elders about their social and moral obligation to tell their children to be of good character and behaviour and that a culture without respect for elders is no culture at all.

“As a people, we are suffering from what is called environmental terrorism mainly caused by the oil companies. But there is another terrorism that is threatening us is, cultural terrorism. We must know and realise that it is being threatened every day by westernisation. When people lose their culture, they lose their identity. When they lose their language, they have lost their identity,” the Bayelsa governor explained.

He added, “The Ijaw nation, which also consists of the Epie and Atissa kingdoms, should know that we are on the verge of losing our language. So, I want to use this opportunity to call on all of us parents to teach our children our language. Let me also urge our youths to learn how to respect. They must know the boundary between illegality and morality.”

The governor stressed that “a culture without respect is no culture.”

(NAN)

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