Isuikwuato (Abia) – The French Defence Attache, Col. Marc Humbert, has lauded fresh efforts by the Federal Government to wipe out insurgency in the country.
Humbert made the commendation on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen when he visited the Nigerian Army Language Institute at Ovim in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia.
He said that France had strong support for Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, adding: ‘’we are a close ally right now in this fight and in the future.’’
He underscored the need for Nigeria to build stronger cooperation with its neighbouring French-speaking countries such as Chad, Niger and Cameroon, in view of the security challenges in the North East.
Humbert expressed the hope that the bilateral relations between France and Nigeria would help Nigeria to overcome some of its current challenges.
He said that his visit was designed to boost the teaching of the French Language in the institute.
Humbert, who donated some French textbooks to the institute, explained that plans were under way to introduce exchange programmes between the Nigerian Army and his country’s military institutions.
He said that in addition to the textbooks, he would conduct a needs assessment of the institute to determine areas of future intervention.
In his speech, the Commandant of the institute, Col. Joseph Ajanaku, thanked Humbert for identifying with the institute, saying that the textbooks would enhance the teaching of basic French course in the institute.
Ajanaku said that the visit was the first of its kind since the inception of the institute on Aug. 1, adding that the books came at an auspicious time.
He said that the institute was designed to teach seven foreign languages, including French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, German and Chinese, adding that the army at present had the manpower to teach only French.
According to him, the first batch comprises 20 students, adding that the basic course will run for six months, while the advanced course will also run for another six months.
Meanwhile , the former Chief of Army Staff, rtd. Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, has expressed happiness that the vision for the institute, which was his brainchild, had been transformed into reality.
Ihejirika said this when the Defence Attache paid him a courtesy call in his country home in Ovim.
He described the visit as an eloquent manifestation of the pledge by the international community at the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to assist Nigeria.
He expressed the hope that the support from France would open the floodgate of more interventions by other countries toward making the institute a great citadel of learning.
Ihejirika said that the institute was conceived primarily to provide officers and men of the Nigerian Army an opportunity to train and become proficient in the use of foreign languages. (NAN)