On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill to give legal backing to the French Village of Nigeria in Bagadry for second reading.
The Senate passed the same bill in the 8th National Assembly, which was then introduced by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, but could not get presidential approval.
Senator Solomon Adeola, a member of the All Progressives Congress representing Lagos West Senatorial District in the new 9th Senate, introduced the same bill.
The proposed legislation is entitled “A bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the Inter-University Centre for French Studies and Other Matters Connected with the Nigeria French Language Village, 2020.”
It aimed to give the institution, which has been in existence without legislation since 1991, legal support.
Leading the debate on the second reading of the bill, Adeola recalled that the bill passed third reading in the 8th Senate but was not sent for assent and therefore needed to go through a renewed legislative process in the 9th Senate.
He said, “The economic downturn of the 1980s coupled with the devaluation of national currency had made students participation in the year abroad programme extremely expensive and unbearable to parents and sponsors.
“The need to find acceptable and efficient alternative led to the establishment of the Village through a memo by the then government of General Ibrahim Babangida to operate under the National Universities Commission.”
Adeola argued that Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in French Language proficiency among the comity of nation.
He added that there was the need to “equip all eligible and interested Nigerians with French skills across interpersonal relationship as well as take up employment slots meant for Nigerians at the global level”
Senator Smart Adeyemi supported the bill on the basis of all the country’s neighbours being Francophone countries.
No senator opposed by any senator and was committed to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institution and TETFUND for further legislative action.