By Lawal Dogara, Kaduna
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Library, Professor Lenrie Aina has identified lack of widespread reading culture as a major impediment to Nigeria’s development.
He lamented that, Nigeria is not mentioned in the list of nations that read in the world, while other African countries like Egypt and South Africa are among the first 30 nations with reading culture in the world.
The National Librarian stated this in Kaduna on Saturday at the opening the Readership Promotion Campaign, organised by the library.
Professor Aina who was represented by a Deputy Director in the library, Mr. Abel Odhigba however said, it was in recognition of Nigerians’ poor reading culture that the readership campaign was introduced to encourage reading among Nigerians, especially young people.
Similarly, Head of Kaduna Branch of the National Library, Muhammad Ndagi said studies have shown that, an average Nigerian reads less than one book in a year, while only one per cent of successful men and women in Nigeria read one non fiction book per month.
Ndagi also lamented that, students now lack the skills of reading. “instead, they spend more hours on electronic media, watching television and movies, browsing the net and playing with handsets”.
He however said that, most of the reading problems can be prevented if government, libraries and teachers apply what is known as reading instruction or techniques.
He told teachers and parents present at the occasion to cultivate the habit of presenting books as gifts to their children and students during their special occasions like birthday and others.
The programme themed; ‘Working Together to Build a Virile Reading Nation: Challenges and Strategies’ had in attendance students from various private and public secondary schools, who participated in a reading competition.