Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate World Book Day. This year’s event was low-keyed, no thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, stakeholders in the book industry have issued a joint statement celebrating the event, while enjoining readers to stay safe and praying for the intervention of the Federal Government in the struggling book industry.
In a statement signed by Professor Innocent Ekoja, President, NLA; Gbadega Adedapo, Chairman, NBFT/President, NPA; Denja Abdullahi, immediate past President, ANA; Dare Oluwatuyi, President, BAN; and Malomo Olugemi, President, CIPPON, the stakeholders said the lull in socio-economic activities should be exploited for the acquisition of knowledge through books.
“At a time like this, we care for the safety of all, book lovers and readers in Nigeria and beyond, as we urge you to please stay home and stay safe reading books. We shall soon get over the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“If there’s a way to make the most of the moment, then it is by studying and reading books. By extension, parents have in extempore now turned official educator with integrated engagement to guide the children and their wards through books.
“Our industry keeps making frantic efforts to keep abreast of the current book demands, exploring every possible means to further meet the demands of book readers in concordant with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, as it concerns inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes life-long learning opportunities for all,” the statement read.
The group also called on the federal government to keep the book industry afloat with the much-needed intervention: “The current pandemic has dealt a huge blow on the industry and we need government’s support to get over the negative impact on our activities as we gasp for oxygen to survive. On this note, we urge the government to consider the book industry in its economic response strategies.”
The group also said: “In the face of global challenges, and especially the raging COVID-19 pandemic, we recognise and celebrate today being 2020 World Book day. Books have offered our nation so great opportunity with its positive impact being felt in all ramifications from the development of literacy to growth in education, contribution to the Nation’s GDP, instilling peace into mankind, personal development, engaging all and sundry, even at a solitary time such as this.
“Books have enabled us to learn how to develop our skills and hone it further, relate with one another peaceably, as well as open our mind to converting initiative into creativity and inventions that make the world a better place to live.
“Moreso, knowledge, and skills in all sectors such as education, health, environment, water, energy, industry, gender equality, peace and security, and reviving the econo-my are paramount at this moment; which can only be achieved with the collective influence of the book industry.
“Today, we, the book industry players in Nigeria, are not just celebrating books; our excitement is embedded in the fact that we are great contributors to ensuring the availability of books to the masses.
“The author writes and prepares the manuscripts, the manuscripts get edited, illustration done and packaged by publishers to make a book which in turn is converted to readable physical and electronic formats for onward availability to end-users through the booksellers and get the book shelved for easy access and archiving. It is, indeed, a great time to celebrate everything about books not leaving out the brains behind its production and availability.”
Continuing, the statement said: “It is obvious that, in whatever form the book comes, it radiates light into the darkest part that is seemingly incomprehensible. Many thanks to lovers of books who, after all, encourages its further production by purchasing and improving their lives.
“Beyond books, we celebrate the readers who have denied all temptations to get swayed away by the dying reading culture.”