Prof. Zaynab Alkali, Board Chairman, National Library of Nigeria, NLN has donated about 150 copies of its book to the Standtall Africa Initiative (STAi), an NGO to revive reading culture in the country.
Alkali, while donating the books at an event in Abuja on Saturday organised by STAi in honour of prominent Nigerians who have encouraged reading culture, stressed the need to imbibe reading culture to improve the standard of education in the country.
According to her, reading is something we have to work on in Nigeria to have national development that will culminate into reviving other sector of the economy.
“The reading culture in this country has gone down and I can conveniently say that the cause of lack of reading culture is the fallen standard of education.
“Where people read, the education level is high, the campaign for reading will bring the consciousness of the need for people to read in order to improve the standard of education,” she said.
Also, Dr Ogar Edeoja, Country Representative of the NGO stressed the need on investing in the young people through reading.
Edeoja noted that the idea of the campaign for reading was to revive the falling or near collapsed reading culture particularly by students and teachers.
“What we do is to prevail on students, teachers, lecturers and all stakeholders in the sector and make them see the need to read because a society, nation or people that underrate the art of reading have lost everything.
” Illiteracy is the greatest hindrance to any form of development. Suffice to say that no nation ever develops beyond the measure of its extant intellectual resource base which is build on strong educational system.”
Edeoja, however, called on the political leaders to invest in the young people as they are the asset the nation have gotten in the near future.
He added that the organisation was embarking on a 10-years reading campaign to the grassroots through donation of books to schools without library.
He also said that over 5, 000 libraries had been provided by UNESCO and other authors to encourage reading culture among the youths.
Meanwhile, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Magoro (Rtd.), the Galadiman of Zuru, called for the need to work on the challenges confronting the revival of reading culture in the country.
Magoro highlighted challenges such as unavailability of school libraries and functional public libraries, emergence of information and communication technologies, poor background due to predominance of illiteracy as some of the areas the government should be dealt with to revive reading culture.
“To encourage and entrench reading in Nigeria, there is need to promote indigenous authors who will write using the cultural background of most, if not all the readers.
“Mass education/literacy is also the most essential step in reviving reading culture. This is because it has to do with human development and development is about the people not about the building of skyscrapers or sport stadia, beautiful airport or a fine network of roads.
“In other words, meaningful national development can only be achieved and sustained if quality and relevant education and training are made accessible and affordable to all citizens at all levels,” he said.
Responding, the Chief Executive Officer,of NLN, Prof. Lenrie Aina, encouraged reading culture saying that reading books are the best recipe for transfer of reality.
Aina, who was represented by the Legal Adviser of NLN, Mr Aminu Ogaji said reading had taken a back stage over the years and youths had been addicted to the use of internet.
He urged the youths to channel their time into reading through the internet rather than engaged in illicit and unproductive reading.
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