Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved Nigeria’s membership of the International Organisation of French Speaking Countries as an observer.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, announced this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

She said the move would boost the country’s diplomatic relations with all French speaking nations.

Rufa’I said that the membership had become necessary because Nigeria was surrounded by Francophone countries and that many Nigerians could speak French.

The minister said there was a special project to develop French as a language in schools across the country.

She stressed that the project which was inaugurated in 1998, was being supported by the French Government.

“What we are saying is that it is high time for Nigeria to join other countries. Already, nearby Ghana and other countries are even members.

“So, let’s even start as an observer. If we start as an observer, then it means the issue of teaching and learning the French Language will be promoted more because we will be having first-class information on what is going on.

“We have the support of the French Government in terms of that project that we have.We have some sections that they are funding across the country.

“If Nigeria can join the organisation then it will benefit from what is going on in these countries and definitely in future we may have students or more persons that can be speaking this language.”

The Minister of State for Finance, Dr Yerima Ngama, announced that the council approved the ratification of an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation between Nigeria and Sweden.

He said that similar agreements had been signed between Nigeria and many other countries to promote economic activities in Nigeria.