The Tanzanian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Benson Bana, has called for proper teaching and learning of Kiswahili language in Nigeria.
Bana gave the advice in his address at the inaugural ceremony of the “Kiswahili Club 2″ Kiswahilli capacity building programme”, for Voice of Nigeria (VON) staff in Abuja.
The envoy described Kswahili language as a veritable tool for communication and instrument that could boost diplomatic relations.
According to him, diplomats do engage in negotiations, persuasions, presentations and communications, all of which necessitate language skills for the effective conduct of diplomatic work.
Baba said: “The event we are launching today has got to do with culture diplomacy.
“Tanzania is home to Kiswahili, when I travelled to north part of Nigeria, some of the words and behavioral patterns do not differ from Kiswahili.
“Kiswahili is the language of the African Union and liberation struggles, Tanzania has been a source of political liberation through Kiswahili.
“It is a vehicle for cultural interchange and tool for bringing people together for liberation countries; no fewer than 100 universities teach Kiswahili.
“We will do whatever it takes to deliver the intent of VON’s management and staff, and at the end of it, VON staff will be competent to read news in Kiswahili”.
The envoy said that such intent would be in areas of development of programmes in Kiswahili, which can be possibly done.
He promised the mission’s efforts to make the teaching and learning of Kiswahili very effective to meet the yearnings of interested learners.
Speaking at the event, the Director-General of VON, Mr Osita Okechukwu, expressed appreciation to the envoy for fulfilling his promise.
“We are thanking you, because a lot of people made promises in the past, but they were never fulfilled.
“VON will remain eternally grateful, we already are broadcasting in eight languages, whereas, we started with the home front in Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.
“We also did not forget our African brothers and that is where Kiswahili comes in.
“We also broadcast in Fulfude but why Kiswahili is important to us is that every continent in the world has one dominant or pan-language.
“I think that is the position Kiswahili is taking in Africa, by the time we finish this training, in the next few year, VON will not lack variants”, he said.
He promised to leave no stone unturned in achieving targets through constant capacity building of VON staff.
He further promised to promote the tenets of cultural diplomacy as well as encourage use of Kiswahili language in the organisation’s programmes.(NAN)