FG should work towards national lingua franca –Don

Prof Ahmadu Bello of the National Open University of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to begin the process of legalising a lingua franca , noting that many Nigerians are not fluent in the English Language , which is the current official language of the country .
Speaking during the 15 th Inaugural Lecture of NOUN held in Abuja , last Friday , Bello said there were more indigenes of the various communities and ethnic groups that make up Nigeria than those that could be truly called citizens of the country . He described them as Nigerians with Hausa, Fulani , Igbo , Yoruba and other mentalities , adding that there were no “ Nigerians with a Nigerian mentality. ”
Bello , who was the guest lecturer at the event, argued that since Nigeria could not evolve a national lingua franca , strict emphasis must be placed on the English Language in public places to drive home the spirit of nationalism and citizenship .
He said , “ Any country with citizens must , in practical terms , have a lingua franca . Nigeria ’s current official Language , English , cannot be spoken fluently by a reasonable number of its citizens.
“ A substantial number of Nigerians may not know that the country ’s official language is English because it has not been taken seriously as a means of official communication in every facet of the country ’ s life .
“ Educational institutions in the country that ought to help in this regard are also culprits . Some Nigerian intellectuals have been calling for the substitution of English Language with the indigenous mother tongue in the schools for effective teaching and learning , despite the fact that Nigeria has over 300 mother tongues . Would there not be a riotous scenario in our teaching process, if not anarchy , if the indigenous languages are adopted in schools ?
“ On the way forward, the process could be set in motion through constitutional provisions by either legalising a lingua franca or placing strong emphasis on the country ’ s official language – English . ”