By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The National Library of Nigeria (NLN) has again reiterated the need for all stakeholders to constructively engage children to imbibe reading culture before attaining adulthood.
While engaging rural kids during its `Readership Promotion` campaign at Angware, headquarters of Jos East Local Government Area of Plateau State, the Acting Head of Branch of NLN in the State, Mrs. Sarah Mshelia said reading is a critical tool of empowerment.
According to her, “Part of the efforts of NLN is to encourage reading in semi-rural areas and correctional facilities, the theme of the campaign is ‘Reading, a tool for empowering the vulnerable’. This is apt because, an individual’s level of literacy, affects opportunities for access to education, employment and their well being.
“The objective of the campaign is also to increase the availability of reading materials in Nigeria and identify major obstacles that inhibit reading while proffering solutions to it.’’
She tasked residents of the local government to establish reading clubs in their various communities saying NLN would support them in the gesture.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer NLN, Prof. Lanre Aina, added the campaign was also taking place simultaneously in six states of the federation which includes, Oyo, Adamawa, Kano, Jigawa and Benue.
Aina represented by the Director of Administration, Mr Bamidele Jacobs, said “2019 readership campaign was in line with the present administration’s policy, of reaching out to the vulnerable and poor in semi-urban centres and custodial centres of the Nigerian correctional service across the nation.
“Inmates in correctional facilities are incarcerated and deprived of access to learning and information resources.
The campaign is to sensitize the target groups to imbibe the culture of reading.
They are to be supported with books which will be carefully selected to meet their information needs.’’
However, Chairman of Jos East local government, Mr. Ibrahim Agwom, said his administration would also support the readership campaign through building a library in the local government before the end of his tenure.
Earlier, Education Secretary of Jos East, Waziri Azi said inculcating reading would discourage youths from taking part in social vices while tasking libraries to update their books so as to challenge the intellect of readers, lamenting that libraries were inadequate in schools and were nonexistent in rural areas.
Highlights of the event was a spelling competition in Izere dialect of the community and presentation of books and shelves from NLN to the community.