By Mfonobong Ukpong
The Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, has advocated for rebirth of reading culture among school children in the state. He made the advocacy, Monday while playing host to most members the Akwa Ibom State chapter of Nigerian Libraries Association, NLA.
Responding to an address presented by the Chairperson of the group, Speaker Luke who described himself as a lover of knowledge, urged the state executive of the Nigerian Library Association to partner the state government in laying a solid foundation for Akwa Ibom children. Expressing concern at the absence of reading culture among school children, Barr. Luke promised to discuss with Governor Udom Emmanuel on the need to include the construction school libraries, equipped with ICT facilities in public schools where there are non, as a component part of the Inter-Ministerial direct labour intervention projects of the state government.
“Let me advocate for the rebirth of the reading culture in our children. Library development should be a component part of the Inter-Ministerial direct labour development projects in our schools.
I would advocate that as we are giving these direct labor jobs to consultants, we should build a mini-library that will have desk, books, ICT that would provide the resource base for them to study.
Each local government area should be able to have a resource centre that would cater for the research needs and resource needs of the people in that locality”.
Earlier, the state Chairperson of the Nigerian Library Association, Dr. Mrs, Uduak Obong Oscar Udoh, listed the objectives of the association to include among others, the safeguarding and promotion of interest of librarians, schools, communities and libraries. She said members of the Library association were in the Assembly to seeks ways of collaboration with the legislature with a view of rescuing the library Services in the state from extinction.
She requested the House of Assembly to draw the attention of the state government’s to the existing five libraries in the state, and advocated for the establishment of more libraries in the state. The NLA Chairperson mentioned Nsit Ibom, Essien Udim, and Onna as locations that are most suitable for the sitting of additional library by the state government.
Dr. Uduak called on the state government to appoint a professional librarian to manage the state owned e-library, sponsor the training and re-training of of librarians, and as well appoint librarians as members of boards and committees of government.
The NLA boss also pleaded the government to provide a plot of land to the association to enable it build a befitting secretariat in the state.
Present during the courtesy call were the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Princess Felicia Bassey, member representing Itu State constituency, Hon. Idongesit Ituen, member for Ukanafun State Constituency, Hon. Otobong Jonathan, member for Mbo, Hon. Samuel Ufuo, member for Esit-Eket /Ibeno, Hon. Usoro Akapnusoh, and member for Ikono, Rt. Hon. Victor Udofia.
Those on the NLA delegation include, Barr. Mbuotidem Umoh, Dr.. Mrs. Mercy Ukpanah, Mr. Etido Nelson, and the Head of Library in the House of Assembly, Mr. Idongesit Umoren.