Emir of Suleja, HRH Malam Muhammad Awwal Ibrahim, has decried the “deteriorating reading culture among students in institutions of learning” in the country.
Speaking as Special Guest of Honour at the 11th Literature in Northern Nigeria conference hosted by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja, the emir said uncontrolled access to internet has contributed immensely to the challenge.
Ibrahim, a former governor of old Niger state in the Second Republic, said the application of the internet to chart a way forwards was imperative for qualitative education.
He said the application, if adhered to, would inspire potential library writers “even if it is of the whodunit class or the Onitsha market literature of old type.
“We just have to turn the internet to support and encourage production of materials, which will in turn enrich our libraries and regain the lost glory of our reading culture not only in schools, but in the society generally,” he said.
Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Professor Abdalla Adamu, in his address to declare the conference with the theme: “Literature and Contemporary Development in Northern Nigeria” opened as Chief Host, enumerated the essence of conference.
“This franchise of literature in Northern Nigeria, therefore, sees to draw attention to the rich literacy heritage of the region, regardless of religion. It establishes a local interest in the development of indigenous scholarship in the region in all spheres of knowledge.”
He prayed the participants to avail themselves to the opportunity to interact with writers and researchers from not just northern, but cross the country and critique the presentations in the four-day programme.
“It is my hope that organisers would consider changing the theme of this conference to Indigenous Literature in Nigeria. This, to my mind, will be more inclusive and enriching and would serve as a larger platform for national unity among writers and researchers in the country.”