By Victor Asije
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to France, Dr Modupe Irele, has announced that no fewer than 30,000 Nigerians are currently living in France.
Irele told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos that the number included Nigerians living in France as business owners, as well as those studying in various French educational institutions.
“The estimated population of Nigerians currently living in France is 30,000.
“Some are business owners, some students who came here to study either privately or on scholarship, while others have started outfits that promote trade, culture and other forms of interaction,’’ she said.
According to her, many Nigerian professionals resident in France are also actively engaged in promoting socio-cultural and economic ties between Nigeria and France.
Irele said that Nigerians in France were enjoying a positive relationship with her embassy, and described them as law-abiding in their various French communities.
The Ambassador also said that the French government was working closely with her embassy in encouraging more English-speaking Africans to study in France.
Irele said that there were signs from the French government for deepening more positive future relationship toward Africans in general, especially with Nigerians.
“Although Nigeria is Anglophone and the general perception is that France has closer links with Francophone Africa, Nigeria/France relations have been strong and good.
“We at the embassy foresee a further deepening of this relationship, given the new French government’s positive disposition towards Africa in general, especially Nigeria.
“ The French authorities are also working with the embassy to help it explore opportunities offered to Nigerians to study in French tertiary institutions in the English Language.
“The embassy is also actively engaging with the French public and private sectors, with a view to expanding existing relations and ensuring sustainability,’’ she added.
Nigeria is the largest recipient of French exports and its second largest trading partner.