The National Librarian, Professor Chinwe Anunobi has decried the literacy gap in Nigeria, which contributes to the declining reading culture amongst Nigerians. She made this known during a Literacy Campaign organized by the National Library of Nigerian to commemorate the International Literacy Day held at the Karshi Rural Information Resource Centre, Karshi, Abuja on Friday, 08th September 2023.
Speaking on the theme for this year “Promoting Literacy for a World in Transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful Societies” Prof. Anunobi emphasized that literacy plays a very significant role in the development of a people or nation. She further stated that literate people are better disposed to obtain factual information, engage in economic, activities, participate in the democratic processes and governance while enabling equity and sustainable development as literacy imbues an individual with confidence, overall wellbeing, critical thinking, problem-solving, and empathy—qualities necessary for inclusivity and peaceful coexistence.
Speaking further, Prof. Anunobi who acknowledged that literacy in itself is not an end but rather a means to an end, said “Let me clarify that we must not use the ability to read and write in the English Language as a yardstick for measuring literacy. UNESCO emphasizes literacy in indigenous languages as a very important element of development and has therefore set aside a decade of mother tongue/indigenous language” She encouraged Nigerians to be considered literate if they could read and write in their own indigenous languages.
Responding, the Emir of Karshi Alh. Danladi Mohammad, who was represented by the Karshi District Head, Alh. Ahmed Doka expressed appreciation to the Management of National Library of Nigeria for recognizing Karshi Community during the International Literacy Day, which serve as a clarion call to the entire People of Karshi Community to embrace the awareness campaign for literacy and the promotion of the mother tongue.
In a goodwill message, the Secretary-General, Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO in Nigeria Dr. Olagunju I.L expressed his satisfaction at the pace of awareness being created about literacy by the National Library of Nigeria which is yielding good results across the Country.
He said Literacy provides a platform for individual personal development with which they could contribute towards the development of the society. He said this event was rather apt especially now that emphasis is being laid on overcoming the literacy challenges in achieving the desired economic empowerment and acquisition of skills necessary for the nation’s technological advancement.
He emphasized that a country with low literacy rate would automatically record failure economically and technologically.
The event culminated in the donation of books to the Karshi Community Library.