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Nigerian Army orders all personnel to learn Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa in one year

By – Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja – The Nigerian Army has ordered all personnel to learn the three major Nigerian languages Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa in one year just as it introduced a new Language Policy with emphasis on officers and soldiers ensuring that they speak the three major Nigerian languages of Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo.

Recruits undergo training at the headquaters of the Depot of the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State in northcentral Nigeria, on October 5, 2017.

The Army noted that “The study of foreign and local languages is world-wide practice among armies, in which officers and soldiers are encouraged to be multi-lingual”.

It disclosed that “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.

Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman in a statement disclosing the new policy said, “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”, he said.

“Invariably, by December 2018, all Nigerian Army personnel are expected to learn the three major Nigerian languages”, he added.

Continuing 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.”

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