Senator Bemoans Decline in Reading Culture

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Funmi Ogundare
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sani has expressed concern about the decline in reading culture in the country, saying that all hands must be on deck to bring it back.

Sani , who made this call, recently, at the Nigeria International Book Fair 2017 with theme, ‘Book Chain, Government Policies and the Promotion of Reading Culture in Nigeria’, argued that the declining reading culture is affecting the level of intellectual and political discuss in the country today.

According to him, “young people nowadays don’t read books, they only post messages and twitting nothing or things that are of no value at all. Our political elites also don’t read, if there is anything they read, perhaps its messages, statements and comments that affect them personally. Many books in the house of politicians today exist as part of the furniture.”

The Senator who was Conference Chairman at the programme, disclosed that he is currently sponsoring a Bill at the National Assembly on ‘National Endowment, Arts and Literature Bill 2016’, which is aimed at giving support to publishers authors and artist, adding that it is about to go through the second reading.

“The idea of having such a bill is informed by the fact that there is a decline in the reading culture in the country as a result of a number of factors which include the economy and the belief that the federal government and governments at all levels will be able to allocate part of their resources to support both arts and literature
“The bill is enjoying strong support from members of the national assembly particularly senators and I believe that when the Bill scales through at the end of the day, it would bring an end to the decline to the reading culture and support the publishing industry to be able to survive the recession in the economy and authors to see their books published.”

He also argued that if there is any ‘book’ that is of interest to people nowadays, its Facebook, saying, “ that is very unfortunate . So we have a duty to bring back that reading culture, because if you don’t read, your brain will be empty and your speech will contain no value and no work . Reading is indispensable for national development which includes social , economic, political progress of the state. When people don’t read, they have nothing to offer.”

Earlier in his keynote address, the former Registrar of Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination (JAMB), Professor Adedibu Ojerinde who emphasised on the challenges of piracy, said several versions of books written by an author, for instance, are found on the streets and sold for the same price as the original.
He also expressed concern about the poor reading culture in the country, saying that parents and teachers have a role to play by ensuring that their children read.