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  The Nigeria French Language Village (French: Village français du Nigéria or French Village) stands as a unique inter-university centre for French studies in Nigeria. Nestled in Badagry, Lagos State, this autonomous federal tertiary institution operates under the regulation of the Nigerian National Universities Commission.
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Established in 1991, the centre offers language immersion and acculturation programs to students of French studies from various Nigerian tertiary institutions. It serves as a domestic alternative to the previous mandatory foreign-based year-abroad component of bachelor’s degree programs in Nigerian universities. Additionally, the French Language Village provides language instruction services and certification programs for individuals interested in mastering the French language. Situated on a 16-hectare complex along the Lagos–Badagry Expressway, the French Language Village occupies the former site of the Government Teachers’ Training College in Badagry town. The concept of the Nigeria French Language Village originated with the former Nigerian Minister of Education, Jubril Aminu. However, it was his successor, Babs Fafunwa, who oversaw the establishment of the Village in September 1991. After three decades of existence, the Nigerian Senate passed the Nigeria French Language Village (Establishment) Bill, 2021 into law in July 2021. This legislative move solidified the institution’s status as an inter-university centre for French studies in Nigeria. The bill’s passage followed a report by the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND. Heading the institution as the Director and Chief Executive Officer is Lateef Babatunde Ayeleru, a Nigerian professor specializing in French, Applied Linguistics, and African Literature at the University of Ibadan. Ayeleru assumed this position in January 2020. The French Village is not just an academic institution; it represents a cultural melting pot beyond the conventional citadel of learning. The encounter with the French language starts at the gates, where linguistic diversity becomes apparent. Students from various universities and cultural backgrounds converge on this unique institute, creating an environment rich in cultural exchange.
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Contrary to expectations, the French Village’s landscape does not resemble a traditional village. Instead, it features expansive buildings strategically placed with faculty labels, hostels, well-maintained surroundings, and a mix of high school and elementary students. Flags of Nigeria and France fly high, symbolizing the blend of cultures within the institution. Founded by the Federal Government of Nigeria in December 1991, the French Village serves as an inter-university centre where students undergo comprehensive French language programs for a semester. These programs contribute to their main university curriculum, making them fluent French speakers and writers upon completion. The institute offers various programs, including French for Specific Purposes, Language Immersion Programs, and workshops. The French Village’s location, close to the Nigeria–Benin Republic border, facilitates easy contact with citizens of Francophone and Non-Francophone West African countries. This cultural diversity enhances the learning experience, fostering an atmosphere of appreciation for different cultures and ethnic groups. Despite being a French-speaking institution, it embraces individuals regardless of sex, age, tribe, or race. Situated on the outskirts of Lagos, the French Village enjoys a tranquil environment conducive to learning, away from the bustling urban activities. The location provides proximity to historic sites such as the first-storey building in Nigeria, Badagry Heritage Museum, and THE-POINT-OF-NO-RETURN, offering students valuable insights into Nigeria’s past. Recreational activities thrive at the French Village, with periodic excursions to historic sites and sporting facilities such as tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball courts, badminton, table tennis, and a football pitch. Sports play an integral role in the academic program, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience for the students.
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Final Thoughts

The Nigeria French Language Village transcends its name, becoming more than just a citadel of learning. It stands as a testament to cultural diversity, academic excellence, and a unique blend of French language immersion in the heart of Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria.
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This article was first published on 6th February 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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