Lai Mohammed urges African writers to explore indigenous languages 

Lai Mohammed
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By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called on African writers to embrace the continent’s rich indigenous languages in their works.
The former minister made the call on Friday at the World Organisation of Writers Congress, held in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mohammed chaired one of the sessions at the congress with the theme, “Africa Meets the Writers of the World”.
Mohammed, the Managing Partner of Bruit Costard, a lobbyist and public relations firm, said in a global landscape dominated by dominant languages, the voices of indigenous communities should be heard and their stories told.
“As writers, you have a unique opportunity and responsibility to amplify these voices, to breathe life into languages that are at risk of fading into obscurity.
“Our pens, our keyboards are not just tools of expression; they are instruments of preservation and empowerment.
“When we write in indigenous languages, we are not just creating literature; we are reclaiming history, honouring tradition, and empowering communities.
“We are also giving voice to those who have been silenced,” he said.
Mohammed noted that from available statistics, about 90 per cent  of those who won the coveted Nobel Prize in Literature, especially from the non-English-speaking countries, wrote their books in indigenous languages.
He said the statistics underscored the richness and depth of indigenous languages in shaping global literary landscapes.
“It highlights the importance of preserving and promoting linguistic diversity, as well as the invaluable contributions of indigenous writers to the world of literature.
“Let us seize this opportunity to amplify diverse voices, challenge prevailing narratives, and champion the transformative power of literature to shape hearts and minds,” he said.
While commending the organiser of the event, Mohammed said the panel session provided a unique platform for writers from Africa and beyond to converge, collaborate, and celebrate the power of words to transcend borders and unite humanity.
He also seized the opportunity to commend some notable literary giants for putting Nigeria on the global map of literature.
Specifically, the former minister commended Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Chinua Achebe; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Buchi Emecheta; Ben Okri; Abubakar Gimba, among others for their contributions. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
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Edited by AbdulFatai Beki/Folasade Adeniran

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