ABILITY TO SPEAK MANY LOCAL LANGUAGES A SECURITY STRATEGY — EXPERTS

Reporter: CHRISTIAN NWANGENE

Security analysts have often attributed the successes of some major foreign security services partly to huge investment of their governments in training their personnel to acquire the languages of other people.

That is perhaps one of the reasons some security agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, USA; the Main Intelligence Agency, such as Russia; and the Ministry of State Security of the People’s Republic of China are highly regarded in their operations, especially in the fight against global terrorism.

The question is how can Nigeria’s security agencies effectively explore the benefits of using local languages in the current fight against insecurity in the country? A Director in Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Mr. Leon Panetta, once said, “Language skills are the keys to accessing foreign societies, understanding their governments, and decoding their secrets.”

According to him, stronger language skills gives officers enhanced access to the information their policymakers need to protect their nation.”

This security strategy has in many occasions proven effective to bursting plans by the enemy to launch attacks against the State, national security infrastructure, and lives.

Nigeria is currently faced with varying security challenges, ranging from inter-communal clashes, insurgency, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping cattle rustling to herder-farmer clashes. 

The Language Skill as a security strategy could be adopted by Nigerian security agencies to check some of the security issues confronting the country.

The Head of National Institute for Cultural Orientation, NICO, Enugu State, Mr. Nnemeka Nwajagu, is of the view that every security agent should be able to learn at least three major  Nigerian languages.

According to Nwajagu, monetary bonuses should even be introduced to reward those who meet proficiency requirements in one or more of languages, while those who use their language skills in their jobs may qualify for higher incentives.

Mr. Nwajagu notes that ability to speak some indigenous languages promotes interaction and removes suspicion, while building confidence and trust.

Also, the Executive Secretary, Council for Arts and Culture, Enugu State, Chief Izueke Eddy-Okolo, remarks that most renowned personalities in history and in the present era speak more than a single language.

According to Chief Okolo, most great leaders have learnt not just languages of others, but their culture as well. For the Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC), Enugu State Command, Mr. Denny Emmanuel-Iwuchukwu, benefits of indigenous languages in intelligence gathering are innumerable.

The analysts are of the view that heads of security agencies in the country should value their officers who are proficient in various languages and reward them through achievement-based incentives.

This, they say, will motivate others to develop interest in learning languages of their operating environment.

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