Former Defence Minister, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), has inaugurated the Jukun Bible Institute in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State to enhance and accelerate the translation of the Holy Bible into Jukun language.
Unveiling the Institute yesterday, Danjuma noted that the project would help to consolidate the spread of Christianity in the area and ensure that the Jukun language did not go into extinction.
Danjuma revealed that the idea of translating the Bible into Jukun language was conceived in 1956 by an American lady named Margrete Dykestra and was being assisted by a Nigerian named Mallam Jeol Omiri.
He further revealed that Dykestra had completed the translation of the entire New Testament before returning back to America which she handed over to him with a plea that he (Danjuma) should continue with the translation project.
He however enjoined the Jukuns and other Jukun speaking tribes to use the translated version of the Bible to spread the gospel of God so as to promote peace and unity in the land.
Urging the people to always endeavour to speak their native language particularly to their children to avoid it going into extinction, Danjuma stressed that the translated Bible would go a long way in preserving the language.
According to him, “We cannot continue to teach our children foreign languages. I always found myself guilty of speaking English with my children. Let us imbibe the spirit of speaking our languages with the children, that is our identity.
“Translating the Bible in Jukun language does not mean we are in competition with any church, we are only consolidating the efforts of Christendom to spread the gospel of God in local languages.
“My advice is to you the Jukuns worldwide. Do not let the Jukun translated Bible to remain in the bookshelves. Get it and use it by teaching your children the gospel of God and the need to speak their native language,” he stated.
Speaking on the occasion, Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, commended Danjuma for his love and commitment to the development of the state.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Anthony Jellason, praised Danjuma for always bringing developmental projects to the state just as he prayed God to grant him long life in good health to continue his service to the state and humanity.