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More Nigerians learning Chinese language, says envoy

Li Xuda, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy and Director of the China Cultural Center in Nigeria, has said more Nigerians are learning the Chinese…

Li Xuda, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy and Director of the China Cultural Center in Nigeria, has said more Nigerians are learning the Chinese language recently.

In his address at the occasion to mark the International Chinese Language Day at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Abuja at the weekend, he said: “In recent years, there has been a growing interest in learning Chinese in Nigeria.

“More and more Nigerians, especially high school students and college students are starting to learn the Chinese language and its rich culture.

“Until now, we have established two Confucius Institutes, one is at Lagos University, and another is at the University of Nnamdi Azikiwe.

“Next step, we will work with more Nigerian universities like ABU and, University of Abuja, to explore the possibility of establishing a Confucius Institute.”

He said a dozen of Chinese language learning centers and Chinese language class have already realized the dreams of many Nigerians to learn Chinese.

“Many friends living or working in Abuja find their chances to learn Chinese here in our cultural centre,” the envoy added.

He described Nigeria as the cradle of African civilisation with about 250 ethnic groups and 500 languages, including Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, adding that there was a need to celebrate Nigeria’s amazing languages, which are important parts of world culture.

UN Chinese Language Day is observed annually on April 20.

The event was established by the UN Department of Public Information in 2010, seeking to celebrate cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization.

According to Xuda, “Today, over I billion people speak Chinese as their first language, almost in every country around the world. There are lots of people who speak Chinese as their second or third language.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has expressed its desire to foster cultural exchange between Nigeria and China.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Creative Economy/Tourism, James Sule, disclosed this while speaking at the occasion.

“As a Ministry, we are committed to fostering a vibrant cultural exchange that not only celebrates our diverse heritage but also embraces the rich traditions of the Chinese language and culture.

“The Ministry is also dedicated to creating platforms for dialogue and collaboration that transcend borders and languages.

“In addition, the Ministry promotes multicultural understanding and appreciation. We believe that through events like the International Chinese
Language Celebration, we can build stronger cultural ties and mutual respect between Nigeria and China,” he said.

While noting that language is a crucial bridge between cultures, Sule assured of the Ministry’s devotion to supporting language education and initiatives that encourage the learning of the Chinese language among Nigerians, “thereby enhancing cultural literacy and global connectivity”.

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