From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
Prof. Lenrie Aina, the National Librarian, National Library of Nigeria, has urged the vulnerable and inmates in Custodial Centres to imbibe the culture of reading to acquire knowledge and become useful to themselves and the society.
Aina made the call at a two-day National Readership Promotion Campaign organised by the National Library of Nigeria for inmates of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Okene Custodial Centre in Kogi State.
Aina, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Library, said the main objective of the national campaign was to encourage reading amongst Nigerians through sensitisation activities and provision of good reading materials.
“It is a collective effort with other stakeholders in order to proffer solutions that would ameliorate the poor reading culture in Nigeria.
“The campaign has already taken place in 29 States of the federation, and is currently taking place simultaneously across the remaining seven states as well as the FCT, from Nov. 26 to 27,” he said.
The theme for the 2019 Readership Promotion Campaign is: “Reading: A Tool for Empowering the Vulnerable”.
Represented by Mr. Aminu Ogaji, the Board Secretary, Aina said the 2019 campaign was targeted at the vulnerable in the semi-urban communities and custodial centres of the Nigerian Correctional Service across the country.
“The people in semi-urban communities and the inmates lack and deprived of adequate information materials which are required to acquire knowledge for personal development.
“We are being careful to ensure that the Nigerian Correctional Service policy of not allowing restricted books to the centres is not abused,” Aina said.
He stressed that the provision of reading opportunities in semi-urban areas and custodial centres, would help them to acquire knowledge and be informed to be transformed and become good citizens.
Mrs Oyiza Agu, the Head of Branch (HOB) Kogi State, said it was the first time of focusing on the Correctional/Custodial Centre and Semi-Urban Community, since the inception of the Readership Promotion Campaign in 1981.
According to her, asides the Custodial Centre in Okene, Koton-Karfe LGA will also be privileged to be the first communities in Kogi State to benefit from these national gesture.
The Assistant Controller of Correctional Service in charge of Okene Custodial Centre, Mr Augustine Amanyi, commended the National Library for the gesture, saying it was the first of its kind in the history of the centre.
According to Amanyi, the Okene Custodial Centre, was established in 1927 with the capacity to accommodate 160 inmates.