May 4, 2017

Govt must contribute to enhance reading culture — NIBF


By Kelechukwu Iruoma

THE management of Nigeria International Book Fair (NIBF) has said that if reading culture will be revived in the country, the Federal Government must ensure that it contributes significantly by supporting the book industry.

The Executive Secretary, Mr. Biodun Omotubi said this during an interaction with journalists on the preparation for this year’s book fair billed to hold at the Multipurpose Hall of University of Lagos, Akoka.

Omotubi said, “The Federal Government has stopped funding and supporting the book industry since the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, left office. Government should put strong infrastructure and there is lack of electricity to print books that is why publishers and distributors in Nigeria prefer importing books.”

He said government’s support of the book industry could go a long way in encouraging students to read, adding that it would also enable foreign investors to patronize books published in the country. Omotubi said that recession has affected the book industry since 2015, stating, “Nigerian book sellers who registered early last year are yet to register for the book fair. Some say they will not participate due to financial challenges. Even our international exhibitors are complaining that Nigeria is not favourable for them to invest.”

He said in spite of the current economic recession that is affecting registration for the book fair, they still expect to have many exhibitors at the book fair billed to hold from May 8 to 13, 2017.

He said “The conference topic titled “Book Fairs: Government Policies and Promotion of Reading Culture in Africa” would be delivered by former Registar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Professor Dibu Ojerinde. Senator Shehu Sani is expected to be chairman of the occasion as well as UNILAG Vice Chancellor who will be the chief host.”

He said they have mapped out programmes for the book fair, stating that there will be children programmes and seminars for teachers. He said they are expecting exhibitors from Ghana, Kenya, India, United Kingdom, among other countries.