Stakeholders in the educational sector have called for proper censorship and reviews of books for children to guard against unsafe content.
They made the call in Ibadan on Friday following the circulation of a book entitled: “What is happening to me?” Which has contents promoting LGBTQIA+ and masturbation among others in children.
LGBTQIA is an acronym used to signify Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual.
While the book is foreign, stakeholders want parents, guardians, school administrators or proprietors and government as well, to ensure that children consume safe content for a better society and nation.
Commenting, Mr Emmanuel Abimbola, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), said that to guide against unsafe content for children, there should be proper review or censorship of books by parents, teachers, school owners and the library.
“When I say review, I mean they should read the book properly from the title to content, pictures and illustrations. Books should not be recommended by title alone. It should be read inside-out.
“Also, there should also be content warnings in certain books, just as films have content warnings,” Abimbola added.
He urged the Ministry of Education to also do an appropriate review of books before recommending them for usage by pupils and students.
Abimbola, however, called for sanctions on authors and publishers of inappropriate content books.
Also, Dr Mary Odedare, the Chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Oyo State, (NAPPS), said that private school providers should just be cautious of books to recommend for children.
In his reactions, Pastor Ayo Solanke, the Coordinator, CVG-AFRICA , a non-Profit organisation, said: “Having such books published cannot be stopped in some countries
“The books are to further strengthen what they have come to believe constitutionally, but such should not be allowed here in Nigeria.
“Government agencies involved in academic policies and curricula setting should be up and doing and should not approve content judged to be unsafe for children in Nigerian schools,” Solanke said.
He urged the parents, religious leaders and other stakeholders to rise up to the challenge of checking the content of books they want to buy for their wards, as well as the ones they read.
“It is commonly said that you don’t judge a book by its cover when good content is concealed in a not-too-good cover.
“In this case, it still won’t be good to judge a book by its cover, for a book with a seemingly good cover or name may have poisonous content.
“Mind you, it is the content that defines a book worthy or not of reading by children.
“In addition, we should find ways of informing our children about the nature of our evolving world, yet educating them on what is right or wrong from the available information at their disposal.
“Getting them informed, but much more educating them will help to guide their choices in life,” Solanke said.