By Ugochukwu Alaribe
UMUAHIA- The National Institute for Nigerian Languages, Aba, Abia State, has urged the National Universities Commission, NUC, to allow the institute to commence awarding degrees as stipulated in the Act that established the institution.
NINLAN was set up by Decree 117, of 1993, now Act 50, as a research centre to train and award degrees in Nigerian languages.
Briefing the media at the Institute located at Ovom along Opobo –Azumini road, Executive Director, NINLAN, Prof. Obiajulu Emejulu, explained that NUC was yet to permit the institute to award degrees because of issues it had raised in the NINLAN Act.
He stated that NINLAN has the capacity to award degrees in Nigerian languages as it boasts of highly trained staff in relevant subjects. Emejulu, however, disclosed that NINLAN had secured the approval of the National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, to commence National Certificate in Education, NCE, programmes for the 2019/2020 academic year
“The most glaring area the institute has met a stumbling block in its quest to award degrees as stated in its Act is the refusal by NUC to allow NINLAN award degrees in Nigerian languages. The delay in commencement of the institute’s degree programme is a huge setback for the institute because it is the degree programme that will boost the student population. NINLAN has all it takes to award degrees in the relevant subjects, including qualified academics. In 2017, the NUC asked us to go for affiliation with the University of Uyo.
“We expended our lean resources to achieve the affiliation, only for the NUC to refuse to endorse on the ground that UNIUYO does not offer Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.Now, the NUC has directed us to seek affiliation with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka for Igbo, Lagos State University for Yoruba and Bayero University, Kano, for Hausa.”
“They always give one excuse or the other. At one time, they said Institutes doesn’t award degrees. We said no, that such is not correct, because all over the world, there are lots of institutes who award degrees. What the Act that established you say is what you do. They said the academic body that runs NINLAN is named Academic Board and not Senate. They said Senate are the ones that award degrees, but we said it was not true because NINLAN was set up to award degrees and that the body was named Academic board isn’t a problem. Any day, NINLAN starts awarding degrees; the institute will be born anew.”
He lamented that the institute was yet to get take off grant or any special capital grant since it was set up in 1993, stressing that the institute is in dire need of funds to develop its expansive premises.
Emejulu called on South East governors, federal lawmakers and well meaning individuals and corporate bodies to support NINLAN to actualize its core mandate of training and research in Nigerian languages.
He lamented that the lack of interest by Nigerians in speaking, learning and promoting native languages had affected the public recognition of the institute.
In his words, “NINLAN needs at about N20 billion to address the problem of poor infrastructure. The exclusion of NINLAN from Tetfund is affecting the institute. Take off grant or any special capital grant has never been released to the institute since inception in 1993. NINLAN lacks perimetre fence, literature and language laboratory, vehicles and office equipment. The institute is in dire need of funds for infrastructural development.