In a rare display of tolerance, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, at the weekend, launched the New Testament Bible in Tera language, the local dialect in Lubo community of Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of Gombe State.
The Speaker, a Muslim, however, expressed concerns over existential threats to indigenous languages in the country and urged leaders to evolve ways of preserving indigenous languages.
He, and members of the House who accompanied him also pledged to purchase 500 copies of the Bible for Christians in the locality who could not afford to acquire one.
He urged Christians in the locality to embody scriptural injunctions, and expressed confidence that a Bible in their language would help the achieve just that.
In statement by his special adviser on media, Mr. Hassan Turaki, the speaker said: “I believe that for Terra-speaking Christians this endeavor will make them better Christians as they seek to reflect Christ in character, content, discipline and in profession, it’s a commendable thing.”
The Speaker, who made several analogies from biblical narrations, including that of the tower of Babel, stressed the importance of preserving local languages as doing so has a great impact on unity and identity.
Referring to scriptures, he said: “In the early time when God wanted to disperse people, He took their language, and that has been included here in the story of the building of the tower of babel. We all know what happens when people set their hearts to achieve, and God said if I leave them, perhaps they might get to me, and the only way to scatter their determination was for God Himself to scatter their language, and that was the end of that project.
“And then when God sought to bring back his people and reunite them, he restored the language. It therefore means anyone who steals your language has stolen your unity, and you need unity to make progress. It was lack of unity on the account of the lack of the common language that destroyed the project of the tower of babel. So if Terra language were to go into extinction, I tell you it will affect the unity of the Terra people which is God-given.”
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