As the nation grapples with pressing challenges in education and public health, the pivotal role that literature plays in shaping a brighter future for Nigeria is important.
Ibiba Jane Odili, Commander of Narcotics, NDLEA Ogun state, highlighted the connection between reading and the prevention of substance abuse, emphasising that reading can provide an alternative and constructive outlet for individuals.
“Studies have shown that those who engage in reading are less likely to resort to drug abuse. Furthermore, reading is introduced as a key skill during the rehabilitation process for previous drug abusers,” she said.
Ibiba shed light on the widespread issue of drug abuse among young adults during the book launch and media parley of Munachi Mbonu’s book, “Pearl,” which took place last Friday.
The launch event underscored the collective responsibility of the government, organisations, and individuals to invest in education, promote reading culture, and address societal issues. The occasion also marked the introduction of Nigeria’s first online book club.
Mbonu spoke about her motivations for creating the online clubhouse, emphasizing the importance of promoting reading culture among her peers and the wider population.
The online book club offers a diverse collection of Mbonu’s short stories, which are available free of charge and accessible to everyone.
Mbonu said her vision is to ignite a love for reading and storytelling, providing a platform that nurtures literary engagement and intellectual growth.
Mbonu said the focal point of her book, “Pearl,” is to raise awareness about mental health and its significance in contemporary society.
During the event, Mbonu shared her intentions, stating, “I want ‘Pearl’ to shed light on the importance of mental health. By sharing this story, I hope to reach individuals in similar situations, letting them know they are not alone, and that there is ample support available.”
The launch event also featured prominent speakers who underlined the importance of investing in education and reading to address societal challenges:
Ike Chioke, GMD Afrinvest West Africa on the importance of education in society.
“Reports have revealed that Nigeria is grappling with a staggering 15 million out-of-school children,” Chioke said.
He said that this dire situation has significant implications for the country’s security landscape.
“We haven’t paid sufficient attention in Nigeria to education. It’s something I hope the new administration will look into,” he said.
Joke Silva, a veteran actress, spoke about the role of the government in instilling a reading culture among young adults.
“Government can help imbibe the reading culture by establishing libraries across, including e-libraries, equipped with a wide range of books from around the world,” she said.
Silva believes that accessible and well-stocked libraries will encourage reading habits, thereby enriching the lives and expanding the horizons of young Nigerians.
Yemi Sanni founder and principal partner Mazars Consulting, shared his personal experience of growing up in challenging circumstances.
He said that reading had been a catalyst for his personal growth, allowing him to transcend his humble background.
“Despite growing up in the hood, today reading has taken me from a lower level to a point I never thought possible,” Sanni said.