The Federal Government has condemned in strong terms the use of “Naija” in place of Nigeria, saying that such usage is “very uncharitable and unpatriotic”.
Minister of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili, made the remarks while receiving the participants of Heir Apparent Reality Show in her office in Abuja yesterday.
Akunyili, who frowned on the continuous misrepresentation of the country's official name in place of a “corrupt” version, said: "It is very offensive to call Nigeria ‘Naija’. We are making plans to write companies to stop using the word Naija. I have heard that name Naija in adverts. I want them to go back and remove that word. If anybody says this is Naija, ask the person, 'Where is Naija?' We have to stop this word because it is catching up with the young. If we don't put a stop to its usage now, it will continue to project us wrongly.”
The minister's condemnation was prompted by a sentence in the presentation of the visiting group where “our world is Naija” was inserted.
Akunyili, who fervently spoke against the use of the word, ordered that the sentence be removed from the programme and changed to “our world is Nigeria”.
“Naija” is obviously a Nigerianised form of Niger, from where Nigeria derived its name.
The word is popularly used by musicians, artistes, advert managers and corporate companies and it could be positive or negative, although it is being used more positively in recent times.
It is believed to be trendier and is used by the younger generation.
Do you think it is really a big deal calling Nigeria; 'Naija'?
Lagos - Lasgidi
Abuja - Abj
America - D States
Nigeria - Naija