Prof. Andrew Haruna, the General Secretary, Linguistics Association of Nigeria, has urged the Federal Government to empower universities to carry out survey on Nigerian languages.
Haruna of the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Jos, gave the advice on Tuesday in Abuja, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that Nigeria has over 500 languages, but that only 232 of them have some elements of data, while others are not traceable owing to lack of statistical data.
“We can have a comprehensive data by empowering the various universities in the various zones and states to carry out surveys.
“For example, the Ministry of Information and Culture can vote certain amount of money to the University of Jos to give it the statistics of exact languages in Plateau,’’ he said.
The don said that the ministry can mandate its own coordinator who will now work with professors within the university.
“So, the university is working as expert and the coordinator will monitor how the ministry’s money is being used and at the end of the day, the result presented,’’ Haruna said.
The don said one of the best ways of obtaining a comprehensive data of Nigerian languages was through National Census.
He added that Nigeria could also compile comprehensive data of its indigenous languages through the National Identity Card registration.