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Ex-Ambassador decries poor reading culture in Nigeria

Godknows Igali, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the Scandinavian countries, has expressed concern over the inadequate reading habits prevalent among Nigerians. He emphasized that the nation is progressively relinquishing this practice to the influences of modernism.

Ambassador Igali conveyed these sentiments in Abuja on Wednesday during a reading colloquium titled “Appraising the Aesthetics of Reading Culture in Nigeria.”

Formerly Nigeria’s Ambassador to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Igali highlighted that reading transcends the mere interaction with ink-on-paper ideas. He underscored that reading has existed long before technological advancements.

He remarked, “The concept of reading has persisted throughout history. I hold a different view from those who confine reading solely to the act of putting thoughts on paper with ink.”

Igali continued, “Reading has always been intrinsic to humanity, but gradually, the modern society has been overshadowing the reading culture. Once, reading held immense significance, but now, technology’s emergence is causing this culture to fade.”

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He further elaborated, “Within sub-Saharan Africa, there’s a deficit in the amount of reading done compared to what should ideally occur. Simultaneously, various other societies are also experiencing a decline in their reading culture.”

In light of this, Igali encouraged Nigerians to foster a habit of reading, asserting that this practice would enhance knowledge and the historical awareness of society. The author of the book “GASP,” Mrs. Theresa Tobuyei, explained that the book serves as a concise representation of the profound impact caused by years of ethnic conflicts that shook the region of Warri in Delta.

Tobuyei, a lawyer based in Bayelsa, shared that the ethnic conflicts in question transpired between 1997 and 2003 in Warri, Delta State. These events garnered international attention from peacekeeping and human rights organizations globally.

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Titled “GASP,” the book was composed with the intention of highlighting the profound aftermath of the crisis and the enduring harrowing memories it left behind for victims and witnesses alike.

She explained, “Writing ‘GASP’ was a response to comprehending the far-reaching negative outcomes of the violence, considering the ongoing active and passive conflicts within Nigeria, Africa, and the world at large.”

She further elaborated, “This literary work is focused on delving into the consequences and psychological repercussions stemming from the wounds inflicted on the people, particularly those within marginalized communities.”

“This encompasses groups such as children, young individuals, and women who find themselves amidst crises, wars, and armed conflicts across the globe.

“GASP stands as a literary creation that uncovers the harsh realities of how, even years after the conclusion of active hostilities, the victims continue to grapple with the repercussions that have cast a shadow over their lives,” she articulated.

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The author clarified that “GASP” takes the form of a fictional narrative that revolves around a group of young girls. These girls directly witnessed the brutalities of the Warri crisis, and each of them experienced the tragic loss of a significant family member.

The narrative contained within the book portrays how these girls, due to life’s circumstances, were separated from one another. “Furthermore,” she added, “the book illustrates how each girl navigated her individual path through life, all while bearing the scars left behind by the crisis.”

“In addition, the book delves into other societal issues such as electoral and domestic violence, bullying, sexual assault, and child abandonment. Through its characters, it portrays both their challenges and victories,” she appended.


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