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Reps question Nigerian Army’s new language policy




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-House of Representatives speak against proposal of the army to mandate its personnel to be proficient in Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo languages.

-The house submitted that the policy will result in an infringement on the fundamental human right of minority language speakers.

House kicks against Army’s proposed language language policy.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, set up a committee to hold discussions with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai over the new local language policy proposed by the Nigerian Army.

The House wants the army to discontinue the implementation of the policy which seeks to compel all army personnel to be proficient in three Nigerian languages of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba by December, 2018.

According to the position of the house, such a move will marginalize other less prominent languages which are part of the country and would translate to an infringement on the fundamental rights of the minority languages.

The position of the house, followed the adoption of a motion, sponsored by Rep. Abiante Dagomie and Rep. Diri Douye.

In moving the motion, Dagomie submitted that the Army should continue with the practice of communicating in English language in a multi-lingual Army.

He said, “Nigeria is home to languages, numbering about 400 and that language gives insight into the personality and culture of a people.

“Therefore, such a local language policy proposed by the Nigerian Army infringes on the fundamental rights of the minorities not to be foisted with the linguistic and cultural hegemonies of major languages.”

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“This situation, should it continue unabated, will lead to discrimination and exclusion from employment opportunities, promotion and ambush of the legitimate aspirations of overwhelming numbers of non-native speakers of Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa in the Army.

“Nigerian society is heterogeneous and as such, in contemplating policies, care must be taken to steer discourse to what is integrating, progressive and amenable.

“This is to ensure mass involvement in the national development and democratic processes rather than pandering to primordial or tribal biases

“The policy flies in the face of an increasingly globalising world where proficiency in an international language is the current inclination.

“When we all use the same language, we have a common understanding of precisely what we mean and what is expected.’’

After house deliberations, the Deputy House Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, who presided over the day’s plenary, referred the motion to the Committee on Army to discuss with the Chief of Army Staff on the policy with a view to putting a stop to the implementation of the policy.

The committee has four weeks to submit its report.

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