Speaker of House of Representative, Hon.Yakubu Dogara, on Saturday urged minority tribesmen in the country to device ways of preserving their languages to guard against extinction in future.
Dogara spoke in Lubo community of Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of Gombe state during the launch of New Testament Bible, which was translated to ‘Tera’ language.
The Joshua Project (JP) reports that numerous issues negatively impact Tera (sometimes called Pilimdi) families: farms are damaged when natural disasters strike, Western and other cultures introduce unwanted social ills …It adds that Christians and churches have become complacent over the years.
JP states further: “When missionaries brought the Gospel in 1930, they translated John’s Gospel. Recent mother tongue translators completed the Gospel of Luke and produced the “JESUS” film. Tera farmers in northeastern Nigeria practice traditional African religion and Islam….
“Few Tera speakers understand God’s Word in the available regional language. Today 40 percent are nominal Christians, they’ve requested mother tongue Scripture to read and share.”
Dogara commended the effort of Tera speaking people for taking a bold step to translate the Bible into their dialect, adding that the move would go a long way in preserving their language.
“Language that is not preserved may likely go into extinction and this will affect the unity of the people.
“If you can reason in your own native language, you will interpret the gospel better because the gospel is meant to be preached,” he said.
In his speech, Deputy Governor, Mr Charles Iliya Gombe commended the Tera speaking people for translating the Bible to their language, saying the measure would help preserve their dialect and called on other communities to take a lead from the Tera people.
In his remarks, chairman of the occasion, Dr Musa Moda, said there was nothing that could be more satisfying than reading the word of God in the language one understood best.
Also speaking, Mr Kalagar Lubo, chairman, translation committee, said work would soon commence work on the translation of the Old Testament.
Dogara and his entourage purchased 500 copies of the translated New Testament Bible for distribution to indigenous Tera people who could not afford it.