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Women professionals distribute N500,000 books to students in Edo

By Usman Aliyu

Edo chapter of the South-South Professional Women Association (SSPWA) on Tuesday distributed books worth more than N500,000  to secondary school students in the state to revive reading culture among them.

They were distributed at the closing ceremony of a book challenge competition, tagged “Gift-A-Child-A-Book” in Benin, organised by the women professionals to celebrate the 2022 World Book Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that six schools with junior and senior students participated in the competition in which certificates, books and bags were presented to winners at the official closing amidst funfair.

Dr Nosa Aladeselu, Chairperson, Edo chapter of the association, told NAN that the programme was to encourage the students to adopt a reading culture amidst declining state of the habit among children.

“Today, we are giving award to those who won in different competitions and we are glad that what we started last year in Edo, is taking another step higher.

“We hope that a time will come when all schools in Edo will take part and there will be a new reawakening of reading culture among our children.

“Today, children are taken aback with different shortcuts to reading; watching television and playing games among others, but reading for knowledge, reading for empowerment is longer among the children.

“So, we think that these activities will revive that culture that will make children to read. Today, some of them say school is a scam. School is not a scam.

“If you read, you will get a certificate and when you get a certificate, you can go anywhere and be proud of yourself,” the chairperson said.

Aladeselu, however, urged students to imbibe a culture of reading, noting that lots of knowledge and moral lessons were inherent in the habit.

According to her, the association looks forward to distributing books worth more than N1 million at the 2023 edition of the programme.

Hajia Fatima Mohammed, Chairman, Organising Committee of the competition, expressed delight that the second edition was successful in spite of the initial hicupps.

She said the programme, which began in 2021 with only three schools participating from Benin (Edo South), accommodated six schools from Benin in 2022, including schools in Edo North.

“We are going to extend to Edo Central later by the grace of God. We want to inculcate reading culture in our schools.

“You can see the students are happy now. We will ensure they read these books we give to them because reading makes one a better citizen.

“We just want to drag them from social media and bring them back to a reading culture.

“Students should try and adopt the culture, because reading books is helping, though it is a long time thing,” Mohammed said.

Dr Margaret Abikwi, who was the organiser of the SSPWA Book project in Edo, said more than 240 books were distributed to the 127 students that attended the closing ceremony.

Abikwi explained that ambassadors were appointed in each of the schools, including the Ukhegie School for Special Needs, saying that the move would in turn help to encourage other students to join the reading club, and share books.

She said plans were ongoing to distribute books to all students as many as the association had, including students of the participating schools.

She, however, appealed for support from donors to give books and cash for the association to buy books for onward distribution to students.

Dr Ruth Obahiagbon, retired Permanent Secretary from the state Ministry of Education, said she believed the continous interactions of the women professionals with students would change their perception and attitude to reading. (NAN)

Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Idris Abdulrahman