The Nigerian Army has ordered that all its personnel learn the three major languages in Nigeria as it introduces a new Language Policy with emphasis on Officers and Soldiers, ensuring that they speak the three major Nigerian languages – Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
The Army noted that the study of foreign and local languages is a worldwide practice among Armies, in which Officers and Soldiers are encouraged to be multi-lingual.
It further disclosed that the Policy would also foster espirit-de-corps and better communication with the populace, enhancing information gathering and civil-military relations, and increasing understanding between militaries when operating abroad.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said in a Statement:
“It is to be noted that English remains the Official language in the Nigerian Army,” adding that “Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa languages could be used during Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities or interrogation”.
“Therefore all Nigerian Army personnel have been given one year to learn the three major Nigerian languages. Invariably, by December 2018, all Nigerian Army personnel are expected to learn the three major Nigerian languages”, he added.
Further on, Usman said, “The standard of proficiency to be attained is the basic level. Certificated proficiency level will attract Language Allowance. The ability to speak the 3 major Nigerian languages will be an added advantage to those applying for recruitment or commissioning into the Nigerian Army. Therefore, prospective candidates are encouraged to learn Nigerian languages other than their mother tongues.
“Before now, the Nigerian Army officially encouraged the learning of French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Swahili. French language is an assessed subject in some career courses and examinations for Nigerian Army personnel,” Usman added.