Nigeria is a multilingual country with over 520 languages, that is a lot!!! And being colonized by the British the official language is English and local official language is pidgin because of the uneducated population.
The Nigerian pidgin English is a creole language and is widely spoken across the country even among the elite and literate population. You will hardly hear English purely spoken unofficially. School children, doctors, lawyers, graduate and undergraduate students, professors, engineers, scientist, economist, linguists. But that doesn’t mean we are incapable of using correct English. I am not here talk about Nigerian pidgin English but the injustice to Nigerian English.
English is not a problem to Nigerians written and oral, although it might seem so since our government is filled with uneducated wealthy individuals except for the few educated ones. And we might have a slightly different way to pronounce some words due to the local dialect something usually called accent, but who doesn’t have it, the entire United kingdom have different accents. North America and south America have different accents… British and American English is even totally different yet they are both English. It totally hurts when we have to prove our English proficiency and Nigeria is not considered as Native speakers but south Africa is. Passing the Test isn’t the problem but the fee for a perishable result is too expensive for a fallen economy like ours. And nothing screams drawback like studying far below your level.
There is clearly a very big difference between Nigerian Pidgin English and Nigerian English. Please do not ask me where and how I learnt to speak English because aside from sitting down for hours everyday learning a particular subject called English language from preschool until freshman year, it is the only language I hear in every formal setting. Learning English is a serious matter in Nigeria, eradicating poverty or stopping terrorist is not considered as serious by the government as much as schools consider English. English is a two period class (i.e 2hours) that appears every day on the school timetable. And apart from phonetics, accent has now been add to the course outline. When I hang out with my friends and acquaintances and the game of wit begins well English will be rolling and the lower your English language level the lower your score (Omo you just no fit form without English na). Nigerians should be considered native English speakers or at least an English speaking nation because with the rate we are losing our local languages to English, it won’t be a surprise if English is considered a first language soon in Nigeria.
Stop the stereotype, Nigerians speak English fluently.