The Army has given its personnel one year to learn and be proficient in the three major Nigerian languages – Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.
This was contained in a statement by the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Sani Usman.
The statement said: “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.”
Usman said the ability to speak the three major languages would be an added advantage to those applying for recruitment or commissioning into the army.
He said: “Therefore, prospective candidates are encouraged to learn Nigerian languages other than their mother tongues.”
Usman explained that before now, the Army officially encouraged the learning of French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Swahili, adding that French language was an assessed subject in some career courses and examinations for personnel.
He said the language policy was newly-introduced as the study of foreign and local languages was a world-wide practice among armies, in which officers and soldiers were encouraged to be multi-lingual.
Usman explained: “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.”
The army spokesman noted that English remained the official language in the army, while Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa languages could be used during Civil Military Cooperation activities or interrogation.