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At BAN conference, stakeholders call on government to support book industry

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The Booksellers Association of Nigeria (BAN) has called on government to support the book sector, as a way of sustaining the industry. The body also noted that government’s financial assistance, through grants and low interest loans via the Bank of Industry, would lift the sector.

The association made the call during its yearly general meeting and book presentation, which held at the Harbour Point Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently.

Themed Women in Bookselling in Nigeria: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, the conference was part of this year’s Nigeria International Book Fair (NIBF).

The conference offered stakeholders in the book business opportunity appraise the role of women in promoting reading culture in Nigeria and Africa in general.

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Speakers at the event, which attracted the CEO of Sterling Books Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Folashade Shinkaiye, and the panel of discussants, comprising Pastor Oluyinka Morgan, Mrs. Olo Okaisabor and Mrs. Edith Obieke, extolled the strategic roles of women in Nigeria’s book industry. They noted that the involvement of women in the book ecosystem was germane to the quest of promoting and improving the industry and reading culture, given the role of women in the home and society.

The conference witnessed presentation of papers from various stakeholders in the book industry on the way forward. They noted that despite the strategic importance of women in the book sector, the number of women involved in the sector remained low compared to that of men. In a bid to boost women’s involvement in the book sector, the conference called for 40 per cent ‘affirmative action’, which should be based on competence and merit for more involvement of women in the sector.

In a communiqué issued at the close of the event, the association regretted that book piracy remained a major challenge and charged the authorities to put more effort in tackling the menace just as it recognised and commended the efforts of the Nigerian Copyright Commission at the moment in that regard.

The association regretted that the challenge of book selling in the country has been compounded by the fact that publishers now go to schools directly to supply books.

They therefore called on booksellers to do more to encourage publishers by always remitting funds to them as at when due. Mr. Lanre Adesuyi chaired the book presentation session, while Mr. Lukman Dauda was the chief presenter. Mr. John Asein was the special guest and Dr. Olayinka Oyegbile was book reviewer.

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