The Promotion of French Language in Nigeria | By Salami Sekinat

The French language was declared as the second official language in Nigeria by the late General Sanni Abacha in 1996. However, it seems that most Nigerians are not aware that the French language is compulsory. Even though the current minister of education Prof. Anthony Anwukah announced it, yet some Nigerians still believe that it is a pure waste of time learning it as a second foreign language.

Nigerians might be interested to note that the announcement of the minister for education during his meeting with the French ambassador is, as a result, to make “french the second official language” French had been made second official language for the past 25 years.

The Promotion of French Language in Nigeria | By Salami Sekinat

Most Nigerians have no idea of how the English language has gained momentum in francophone Africa most especially in Côte D’Ivoire. I was amazed when I attended a session of a club called TOASTMASTER.

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The majority of these club members are Ivorians. These people deliver speeches, debates as well as addresses members in English. Though that’s the club’s primary objective, to build one’s leadership skills as well as build one’s confidence. Why can’t Nigerians establish such a club in Nigeria as well?

The French language is the fifth most spoken language in the world. In some Northern countries like Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia french language is made compulsory from the age of two to the age of 18. Nigerians can also adopt this policy that the French language should be taught from kindergarten to general studies at the university level.
I’m urging young Nigerian graduates to wake to this call to multilingualism.

Nigerian companies (our banks, Dangote cement, etc) are extending their territorial tentacles to francophone Africa, and young Nigerian graduates are crowding in on the few available vacancies in Nigeria because of the language barrier preventing them from exploring the vast opportunities in Nigerians companies in francophone Africa. The same applies to companies in french speaking countries where personnel is needed.

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In conclusion, I will suggest that the Nigerian government should emphasize more on the implementation of the french language as the second official language. To achieve that, more programs in french should be created both on radio and TV stations and also make it a chore subject in different levels of schools.


The Promotion of French Language in Nigeria | By Salami SekinatSalami Sekinat, a French and international relations studies graduate from Osun state university.

Email: [email protected]

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