Varsity Don Decries Poor Reading Culture in Nigeria

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Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

Head of Department of English, University of Jos, Professor Jeff Godwin Doki has lamented poor reading culture among Nigerians, calling on the federal and state governments to invest in schools by properly funding them to make reading texts and materials available to children right from primary and secondary levels of education.

Doki made the call during a community engagement with Anaguta, host community of the university, when his department also donated volumes of books to schools in the community through the traditional ruler, the Ujah of Anaguta.

He had identified causes of poor reading culture in the country to include parents factor, adding that parents no longer encourage reading at home. “Some parents could buy a car for the child on his/her birthday but not a book.”

The don also observed that the advent of science and modernity, especially the television, the internet and the telephone has thrown all the books into a dingy corner, even as leaders in power and the rich will build hotels, pubs and bars rather than building libraries and schools.

The consequences of these, Doki said are the social crimes like prostitution, drug addiction, examination malpractice, alcoholism, cultism and other vices now staring Nigeria in the face.

“It is against this backdrop that the Department of English, University of Jos finds it necessary to present these volumes of books to you, the leader of the Anaguta people, so that you can distribute same to some secondary schools in Anaguta community. The books are made up of the two components of language and literature and they contain invaluable information on English studies.

“Apart from these books, the Department of English is happy to announce that one of her staff members, Mrs. Vera Anap (a daughter of Anaguta nation) is also carrying out a Ph.D research on Anaguta proverbs entitled: A Literary Study of Themes and Functions of Ushizhih-Iguta (Anaguta Proverbs).

“But over and above all, in presenting these books the aim of the department of English is to promote a reading culture among Nigerian secondary school children, especially in Anaguta community. The truth is that people in general cannot be active or informed citizens unless they can read and this means that reading is a prerequisite to almost all cultural and social activities.

“It is our desire that every Anaguta child, regardless of age or ability, deserves access to the written word and should possess a reading culture. It is also our desire that reading should be made a life-long habit and all Anaguta children should consider reading as a significant and enjoyable activity,” he said.
Receiving the books, the Ujah of Anaguta, who was represented by his District Head, Aminu Maisamari Dogo appreciated the department and University for the kind gesture, assuring that “we are going to use these books judiciously.”

Plateau State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Jerry Werr, who was also present at the event, agreed that it was high time Nigeria promoted reading culture by way of making good reading materials available to schools, and collectively seeking solutions to addressing identified obstacles to good reading culture.