The death of a people’s culture amounts to the death of the people’s cultural identity, so says the General Secretary of the Bible Society of Nigeria, Dr. Dare Ajiboye. Ajiboye stressed this point during a press conference held at the Bible Guest House, Lagos on Tuesday, to announce the completion of the translation of the New Testament Bible into Epie and Ogbia languages, two native languages spoken in the present day Bayelsa State.
The Cleric emphasised the need for Nigerians to ensure that the mother tongue and culture does not go extinct. His words: “I want to use this opportunity to call on the government at all levels to make effort to preserve our languages by enforcing its usage, especially in schools.
“Our language is our identity and an integral part of our culture. By translating the Bible into Nigerian languages, we are helping to preserve the languages and cultures of our people.
The death of a language is the death of a culture.” He also declared that the BSN has set aside May 5 as a day to celebrate the Bible annually while advising Nigerians to treasure and inculcate the habit of reading the Bible regularly pointing out the such habit will lead to transformation of lives and eliminate corruption, violence and.
“It is known as Bible Day. We encourage all Nigerians to read and meditate on the word of God as a transformed soul will shun corruption, violence, banditry, kidnapping and other social vices, which are prevalent in our country today.
He insisted that Nigerians and governments at all levels need to involve God in the nation’s search for lasting solutions to the challenges bedevilling our country. “And the Bible will help point us to God, who can turn around things in Nigeria,” Ajiboye contended.
The General Secretary recalled that in 2018, the BSN announced the completion of Kalabari and Okrika Bibles, adding: “To the glory of God, I wish to inform you that we have achieved another significant milestone. “Today, I am glad to inform you that we have successfully translated the Bible into New Testament [NT] in Ogbia and Epie Languages. These languages are spoken in Bayelsa State.
“By the grace of God, the Ogbia NT will be dedicated on September 22, 2020, at the Brotherhood Hall, Ogbia Town, while the Epie NT will be dedicated on September 23, 2020, at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Yenagoa. The speakers of these languages are joyfully looking forward to the dates.”
According to Dr. Ajiboye, the Bible Society of Nigeria exists to make the Word of God available and accessible, through Bible translation, publishing, distribution, programmes and fundraising.
He explained; “We are a member of the United Bible Societies, a world fellowship of 146 National Bible Societies, working to place God’s Word in the hearts and hands of the people they serve across 200 countries and territories.’ “We are irrevocably committed to breaking any known barriers that make the Bible inaccessible to people.
We have the Proclaimers, an audio Bible device in different Nigerian Languages for those who cannot read or understand the English Language; Braille Bible for those with visual disability and Nigerian Sign Language Bible for the deaf.
“This is in pursuance of our mission to meet the scriptural needs of every Nigerian and to help them interact with the Word of God. So far, we have the full Bible in 26 Nigerian Languages, while translation/revision is ongoing in 10 Nigerian Languages. It costs us a minimum of N72 million to complete a Bible translation project if completed in 12 years. Dr Ajiboye further explained.