The need for French language in Nigeria or the reasons why French should be taught in Nigerian Schools, have been widely and sufficiently discussed in very many circles.
But today, I am aware and convinced that very many Nigerians (even teachers and other highly educated university lecturers, professors of languages e.t.c) are still ignorant of the importance of French in Nigeria, or of its usefulness as an international language.
There is no doubt also that many students who are beginners and encountering the subject for the first time often do not know much about the usefulness of French language to them in particular and to Nigeria in general. The Nigerian Government knows best about the usefulness of French language and hence she has always paid the greatest attention to its teaching than the teaching of any other foreign language (apart from English). Today, the Nigeria Government regards French next to English as the most important foreign language to be taught in our Schools. For example she selected and approved French as the only foreign language to be taught along with English in our secondary Schools.
French is also taught in our secondary schools. French is also taught in almost all the colleges of education and universities in Nigeria. It is in furtherance of this policy that the Government established some years ago a French language village in Badagry.
This is to cater for the learning needs of students who would ordinarily have had to go abroad for the mandatory total exposure to French for students majoring in the subject in Nigerian higher institutions.
HOW FRENCH BECAME THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE USED IN NIGERIA
While the learning and use of the English languge was imposed on Nigerians, the learning and use of French was never imposed on them by any power. The Nigerian Government chose it in absolute liberty; for seeing that knowledge of the language would help a great deal to achieve her economic, commercial, political and cultural.
THE GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION OF NIGERIA
Nigeria is immediately surrounded by four Francophone countries. These are Cameroon (East), Republic of Benin (West), Chad (North-East) and Republic of Niger (North-West). To communicate with the immediate neighboring countries, Nigeria sees herself highly committed to learn and use the French language. She needs it also to communicate with the large number of other Francophone countries in Africa and the world over.
Today, Nigeria derives a lot of benefits from the scientific, technological, political e.t