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Women Affairs minister laments dearth of reading culture in Nigeria

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Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen

The Minister Of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has lamented the declining reading culture in Nigeria.

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The minister, who disclosed this yesterday at the public presentation and launch of seven books which was written by Halima Usman, said virtually every Nigerian is guilty of contributing to the dearth of reading culture in the country.

Nigeria has been rated by the World Culture Score Index as one of the countries in the world with the lowest reading culture.

Available statistics from National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education show that 38 per cent of Nigerians are non-literate as four in 10 primary school children cannot read for comprehension.

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Speaking at the event, Tallen charged individuals and organizations to make concerted efforts to revive the reading culture in the country.

“Her words, the lack of reading culture is a big problem. I think must of us, if not all of us are guilty. But, this book; she brought sample of them for me in the office and when I glanced through it, you can be sure that when you pick one, you cannot afford but to keep it.

“I want to appeal to all the dignitaries on the high table and all well-meaning Nigerians to books and donate to any nursery or primary school, because children are the future leaders.

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She added “We should all find a way to support our children, because not all schools, particularly public schools have library. It will go a long way to help improve our educational system.

In her remarks, the author of the books, Halima Usman said the public presentation of her seven books _Mallam Sidi, Fauziya Saves The Day, Mr Cockroach, The Big Aquarium, Emeka The Farmer, Kola & Lola_ and _Against The Odds_ is an opportunity to up the ante of her humanitarian gesture especially in ensuring that children from less privileged homes are educated.

According to Usman who is also the chairman of Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA Abuja chapter, her target is to reach out to as many rural children as possible to present them with opportunity to share in the rich knowledge the books, largely designed for them offer.

Usman said apart from distribution of the books, the scholarship scheme of the Initiative which at the moment has in its enrollment about 30 primary and secondary school pupils in Gombe and FCT as well as students in various higher institutions across the country will be expanded to accommodate more beneficiaries.

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“One of the things I’m concerned about is how to get these books across to many children, particularly children from less privileged families in the rural communities. This may be the only story book they will have access to in a long time.

“If you look at their quality, you will know it’s a painstaking work that took a lot of time and commitment. I have children in mind and that is the whole essence of the book launch.

“We want people to sponsor this book so that we can produce more copies and send to rural areas. The intention is for people to choose any locality of their choice and the number of books they want for the children there.

“At the end of the day, you will realize that whatever we make from the book launch will be directly or indirect channelled to any of our non-profit ventures” she said.

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Usman who is S.A Special Duties in office of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Petroleum Resources further reiterated her commitment to ensure that empowerment scheme for women and youths through her HalimaFactor Community Initiative receive a boost especially at this moment of economic difficulties affecting many homes across the country.

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Pauline Tallen
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