The Nigerian Army has ordered all its officers and men to be proficient in Nigeria’s three major languages before 2019.

The Army, in a statement by its spokesperson, Brigadier General Sani Usman, on Wednesday directed the soldiers to immediately commence the learning of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba as part of the force’s new language policy.

The statement reads, “The Nigerian Army has introduced a new Language Policy. The study of foreign and local languages is worldwide practice among armies, in which officers and soldiers are encouraged to be multi-lingual. The Policy will foster esprit-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 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.”