The Nigerian Army says it will commence payment of special “language allowance” to its personnel who can speak the three major languages in Nigeria: Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.
This is contained in a new policy directive released by Sani Usman, Director of Army Public Relations.
Usman explained that the new Language Policy is in keeping with the standard that obtains all over the world, where officers and soldiers are encouraged to be multi-lingual.
He said: “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 three 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.”
Usman added that the Nigerian Army usually encourages its personnel to learn international languages such as French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Swahili.
He said that “French language is an assessed subject in some career courses and examinations for Nigerian Army personnel”.