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Group calls for use of indigenous languages in airport flight announcements

Chibuzo Ihegboro

The Federal Ministry of Aviation, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other relevant airport authorities have been urged to consider the introduction of the three main Nigerian indigenous languages- Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, with pidgin English, alongside English language, in making announcements for passengers at the various airports.

This call came from a social group- Ambassadors for Peace and Enlightenment Foundation (APEF) during their recent awareness campaign held around the Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos state.

According to the group’s national president and founder, Prince Savior Iche, their campaign is to draw the attention of relevant airport authorities to how announcements at most Nigerian airports have left travellers more confused than help with their flight schedules. He lamented at how many Nigerians miss their flights because they do not understand the diction of the announcer.

“We have noticed that people do miss their flights because of the English language spoken at airports. Airport authorities seem to forget that not all airport users understand the English language. That means communication in airports has not been effective. So, this campaign seeks to get the government to see the problems associated with the use of English, and the merits of using indigenous languages so that air passengers will have value and experience quality service.”

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Prince Iche said they would not relent in their campaign until the airport authorities and stakeholders heed to their pleas. “We have staged protests in Abuja, Lagos because of this, and have also written FAAN and several airline operators in Nigeria see reasons with us and adopt Nigerian languages in making announcements for passengers.”

Also speaking, Mr. Kingsley Muoneke, APEF’s secretary argued that it would be a good innovation adopting the use of indigenous languages by the announcers because “it goes a long way in curbing a lot of issues regarding missing flights.

“Our indigenous languages are on the verge of extinction because we neglect and negate them to the background, and prioritize English language over them. With this campaign, we are advocating for our languages to be kept alive and cherished. 

“The authority needs to do something about the announcers. Because one could hardly pick the flights they announce sometimes not all passengers understood English language and even at that, the English used by the announcers seems alien to most passengers,” he said.