Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff on Thursday in Abuja said that emerging internal security threats informed the need by the Nigerian Army to train its personnel on proficiency in indigenous languages.
Buratai stated this during the presentation of certificates to 164 personnel, comprising 51 officers and 113 soldiers, who participated in the `Language Proficiency Course 4’ at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre.
The Army chief, who was represented by Maj-Gen. Kuta Isiyaku, the Chief of Administration (Army) explained that it had become necessary to train soldiers in the three major languages, Yoruba Igbo and Hausa, in order to improve on intelligence gathering.
“ The decision for the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, to drive the indigenous language proficiency course for the Army was informed by the prevalence of domestic security environment.
“Others are the threats of terrorism, insurgency, ethnic and religious clashes, cattle rustling, armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and proliferation of small arms and light weapons across the country.
“This has necessitated the deployment of troops to almost all the states of the federation, particularly in the North East for the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.
“As you all know, internal security, counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations are intelligence driven.
“Therefore, the Nigerian Army’s ability to professionally respond to these domestic security challenges depends largely on the ability to communicate and interact effectively with the local populace,’’ Buratai said.
He explained that proficiency in local languages would enable troops to penetrate their local operating environment to carry out their duty effectively.
Journalists gathered that the participants undertook the language proficiency course for eight weeks.