[lg policy] (no subject)

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat Jan 5 11:38:52 EST 2019

Dissecting Nigerian Army’s Indigenous Language Policy And Internal
OperationsPublished 2 days ago on January 4, 2019 By Tarkaa David The
Nigerian Army recently introduced compulsory learning of indigenous
language for troops to enhance internal operations amongst them. TARKAA
DAVID takes a cursory look at the prospect of this policy in promoting
internal peacekeeping operations. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS),
Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, in a bid to ensure that troops of the
Nigerian Army have at least a basic understanding of the three major
languages in Nigeria, introduced a language policy compelling officers to
be proficient in one indigenous language other than his or her mother
tongue. Speaking at the second graduation ceremony of indigenous language
course, the COAS, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, said the indigenous language
proficiency would enhance personnel integration into communities and
facilitate intelligence during internal peacekeeping operations. The COAS
charged the 91 graduands to use every little opportunity to master the
various languages in order to effectively tackle the security challenges
facing the country. Lt Gen Buratai said the policy was informed by the
pluralistic nature of the country and the need to professionally respond to
internal security challenges, adding that the ability to communicate
effectively in these local languages would determine the success of the
operations. According to him, “The decision for this training is informed
by the multilingual nature of our country. While our ethnic pluralism
combined with numeric strength constitutes the major source of national
pride, it also constitutes a major challenge in the management of internal
security operations as seen in the proliferation of separatists in the
various religious groups across the country. “Our ability to adequately and
professionally respond to these domestic security challenges partly depends
on how proficient we are in indigenous languages especially the major ones;
Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. “Proficiency in local languages will hasten your
social integration in the local environment deployed.” The COAS said the
ability of the Nigeria Army to address domestic security challenges depends
on the troops’ understanding of indigenous languages in order to
effectively communicate with the local population. Buratai, who was
represented by the chief of logistics, Major General Enobong Udoh, said
both internal security and counter terrorism operations are largely driven
by intelligence. The COAS said troops’ proficiency in local languages will
enable them easily penetrate their areas of operation and integrate with
the local population. “A key requirement to tackle domestic security
challenges is the ability to communicate with local population which
depends on mastery of local languages. “Both internal security and counter
terrorism operations are intelligence driven. Our ability to adequately and
professionally respond to these domestic security challenges partly depends
on reliable intelligence, which is based to a large extent on our ability
to be able to communicate with the local population. “Your proficiency in
these languages will facilitate your ability to penetrate your operating
environment and integrate with the local population in such areas,” he
said. As part of efforts to promote learning of the indigenous language,
the Army chief disclosed that all troops certified with the language
proficiency course would now benefit from the indigenous language
allowance. He, however, said that the allowance would be subject to review
through the annual language test upon which failure leads to
discontinuation. “By your certification today, you are now entitled to
language allowance. However, for you to continue earning the allowance, you
must pass your annual language test. Your certification should serve as the
beginning of your learning process,” he said Earlier in his welcome
address, the director general, Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Major General
Johnny Hamakim (rtd), said the training aims to break the language barrier
troops encounter during internal operations. He added that the objective of
the language proficiency course is to support the vision of the Nigerian
Army officers to be proficient in one indigenous language other than their
native language. He said the course is meant for only officers and soldiers
serving within Abuja, he said that the participants were nominated from the
Nigerian Army Headquarters departments. He added that the participants
displayed high level of enthusiasm and discipline. The class representative
of the course, Brig Gen AO Abdullahi, thanked the chief of army staff for
the programme and pledged to justify the confidence imposed on them. The
highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of playlets in the various
indigenous languages and presentation of certificates to the participants.

Read More at:


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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