In a bid to boost operational efficiency through intelligence gathering, the Nigerian Army has continued to train its personnel on indigenous language proficiency.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a total of 124 personnel comprising 39 officers and 85 soldiers, graduated from the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) 9th Indigenous Languages Proficiency Course 9/2022 on Friday in Abuja.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, represented by the Chief of Administration, Maj.-Gen. Usman Muhammed, said the nature of the current security environment was characterised by plethora of challenges requiring military attention.
Yahaya said that all army operations were intelligence driven, adding that their ability to surmount the security challenge would largely be dependent on intelligence gathering.
He said effective intelligence gathering could be facilitated by understanding of the local languages by the personnel involved in the operations.
The COAS expressed optimism that the course would be of immense benefit to the participants and the Nigerian army considering the changing nature of the nation’s domestic security environment.
According to him, there is no gainsaying that the nation’s security environment is undermined by the current threats, which include among others things, terrorism banditry and other challenges in virtually all parts of the country.
He said the army would continue to redouble its efforts with a view to stemming the menace of insecurity and guaranteeing peaceful co-existence in all parts of the nation.
According to him, the current domestic security reality has necessitated the deployment of the Nigerian army troops to the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Suffice to say that all these operations are intelligence driven.
“Therefore, our ability to adequately and professionally respond to these domestic security challenges will depend essentially on credible and reliable intelligence, which is dependent on the ability to communicate with the local population.
“The populace is being encouraged with the slogan, ‘see something, say something’ which depends on the ability of personnel to communicate with people within the operational area.
“Effective communication in part, will essentially require some level of proficiency in the local dialect of the operating environment.
“This informs why you have learnt the three major Nigerian languages of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
“Proficiency in these local languages will, therefore, hasten your speedy integration and ability to penetrate local operating environments,” he said.
Yahaya urged the graduating officers to continue to use every available opportunity to improve their current proficiency level to be able to engage in sustained conversations within their places of employment.
The Director-General of NARC, retired Maj.-Gen. Garba Wahab, said the course was designed to bridge the communication barriers between army personnel and the local populace in the conduct of internal security operations.
Wahab said that officers and soldiers were currently being deployed to different parts of the country, adding that there was the belief that there was problem with intelligence gathering.
He said that security was a two way thing which involved “securing you through you” and the need to trust those who are providing the security for them.
According to him, if you cannot talk to people, if you cannot relate with them in the language they understand, they won’t trust you.
“The belief is that speaking somebody’s language is going to inspire trust immediately, because of the belief that this is my person.
“And that’s the reason why the army challenged the centre to run this programme,” he said.
Wahab said the feedback from the previous courses had been encouraging, adding that plans were on ground to open up the course to the general public.
The Training Officer, 81 Division Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Nuhu, who represented the General Officer Commanding (GOC), said the language course would help the army to address security challenges.
He urged personnel who would pass through the resource centre to continue to practice their proficiency in the languages they had been trained on to enable them to be perfect.
The Course Senior, Col. Muhammed Ahmad thanked the Chief of Army Staff for the opportunity to learn and understand other languages to enhance their operational effectiveness.
Ahmad, who spoke on behalf of other participants pledged to justify the training by deploying the knowledge acquired in their various areas of responsibilities.