The Nigerian Army has introduced what it calls a ‘New Language Policy’ in which it mandates all officers to learn the three major indigenous languages – Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba – in Nigeria before December 2018.
An e-mailed statement to The Trent on Wednesday, November 22, 2017, by Usman Sani, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army said that English remained the official language of the Nigerian Army but these three languages could be “used during Civil Military Co-operation activities or interrogation”.
According to the policy, proficiency in three major languages of Nigeria would attract a “Language Allowance” and would also give new applicants into the institution and edge.
“The Nigerian Army has introduced a new Language Policy. The study of foreign and local languages is world-wide practice among armies, in which officers and soldiers are encouraged to be multi-lingual,” Brigadier General Usman said in the statement.
“The Policy will foster espirit-de-corps and better communication with the populace to enhance information gathering, civil-military relations, increase understanding between militaries when operating abroad and assist officers and soldiers to perform their duties professionally.
“It is to be noted that English remains the official language in the Nigerian Army. 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.
“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,” the statement ended.