Nigerian Army orders all personnel to learn Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba before 2019

Tukur Buratai
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai

The Nigerian Army has directed all its officers and men to immediately commence the learning of the three major Nigerian languages.

A statement by army spokesperson, Sani Usman, on Wednesday morning said all personnel are expected to be proficient in Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba by December 2018.

Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said the directive is part of the new language policy by the army.

Read full statement below.


1. 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. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman
Director Army Public Relations


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