By Funmilayo Adeyemi/ Jacinta Nwachukwu
Abuja – The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to promotion of reading culture among Nigerians.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said this at the Grand Finale of the 2017 Readership Promotion Campaign of the National Library of Nigeria in Abuja.
The theme of the programme is “ Working Together to Build a Virile Reading Nation: Challenges and Strategies’’.
Adamu, who was represented by the Director of Education Support Services, Mrs Justina Ibe of the ministry, said that it was imperative for all to cultivate a positive attitude to reading.
He said the ministry had partnered with the National Action Committee on Read Campaign and this partnership had yielded immeasurable benefits.
According to him, readership promotion is a strategy which will address the issue of falling standard of education in the country.
“It will also mobilise the citizenry to read, write and contribute to rejuvenation and actualisation of total literacy culture in Nigeria.
“Appropriate measure should, therefore, be adopted to turn the country to a reading nation and her citizens to a reading people.
“Government will also strive to provide adequate funds to acquire sufficient, current and relevant library materials for schools and libraries.’’
Adamu urged Nigerians to encourage shared reading, saying that children should be educated on the importance of books and reading to their education and future lives.
He further called on civil servants to have the veracity to read letters, memoranda and reports, minute to them to handle as this would add to their career development.
Earlier in his remarks, the National Librarian, Prof. Lenrie Aina, said that the target of the National Library of Nigeria had been to encourage secondary school children to embrace a reading culture.
Aina said that it would also extend such exercise to pregnant women, saying that studies had shown that in the later stages of pregnancy, unborn babies are aware of the vibrations that the voices produce and can recognise them with ease.
“ Our objective is to cover the whole strata of the Nigerian society. It is my desire that as many as that have come to witness this occasion would imbibe the culture of reading, particularly the students.
“Also representatives of schools, especially teachers, should ensure that students are encouraged to read and parents should endeavour to read always to the admiration of their children.
“Parents should make books available to their children; to lavishly present books as gift to their children during special events of their lives such as birthday, religious and cultural festivals,’’ he advised.
He encouraged Nigerians to establish libraries in their domains as waiting for the government to do everything may take time.
In his remarks, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said that the importance of reading in any nation could not be overemphasised.
Mohammed, represented by Mr Makna Sallau, the Acting Director, Entertainment and Creative Services in the ministry, said a nation which citizens had lost interest in reading would be backward.
According to him, there is no developing or developed nation where the culture of reading is not given adequate attention that it deserves in order to promote and advance socio-economic, technological and infrastructure development.
“It is worthy to note that knowledge is power and most of the ideas that rule the world today are all written in book form for us to figure them out.
“Hence, there is an urgent need for us to promote the culture of reading in our country,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that about 12 schools within the FCT participated in the readership promotion campaign.(NAN)