All candidates seeking admission into all tertiary institutions in Lagos State must henceforth possess credit in Yoruba Language, the state Yoruba Language Preservation and Preservation Law has said.
The law, which became effective last Thursday, would now make compulsory for all primary and secondary schools – private or public – in the state to include teaching of Yoruba Language as a core subject at all levels.
The state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, had formally signed a bill into law “to provide for the preservation and promotion of the use of Yoruba Language and for connected purposes,” thereby making it the first state to enact law seeking to preserve and promote its indigenous language.
He signed the law alongside the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo, his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan and the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, among others.
He equally signed six other bills into laws: the Amended Land Use Charge bill, School of Nursing bill, Cooperative College bill, Cancer Research Institute bill, Amended Customary Court bill and the State Electric Power Reform Law on the same day.
However, the Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion law provides that all the laws in the state “will be translated into Yoruba Language. Moreso, all state-owned tertiary institutions are to incorporate the use of Yoruba Language in the General Studies (GNS) courses.
“The use of Yoruba language shall be an acceptable means of communication between individuals, establishment, corporate entities and government in the state if so desired by the concerned. It shall not be an offence for a person to speak Yoruba language by the state government,” the law reads in part.
Specifically, the law stated that any school in Lagos State that “fails to comply with the provisions of Section 2 commits an offence and is liable on first violation to issuance of warning and on subsequent violation be closed down and also pay a fine of N500,000.”
After the governor approved the legislation, Bamigbetan explained the socio-cultural value of the Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion Law, 2018, which according to him, is the first of its kind in Nigeria.
With the new law, Bamigbetan said Yoruba language “has become mandatory for all candidates seeking admission into our tertiary institutions. Yoruba will now become a major requirement to engage in normal business communication in Lagos State.
“This is a clear and conscious commitment to the position which Lagos State prides Yoruba language as the cultural vehicle for us to be able to articulate our position and it also shows that Lagos has further recognised the importance of language as a vehicle for development.”
He said anyone seeking admission into the Lagos State University, Lagos State Polytechnic, Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Lagos State School of Nursing and Lagos State College of Health Technology, among others must have credit in Yoruba language.