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Book sellers hail role of women in Nigeria’s book industry; Call for 40% affirmative action

Booksellers Association of Nigeria President, Dare Oluwatuyi, flanked by Sterling Books Limited CEO, Hon Mrs Folashade Shinkaiye and ED, Laterna Ventures Limited,Mrs Oluyinka Morgan at the Bookfair

Communique issued at the end of 2021 Conference/Book Presentation/ AGM of Book Sellers Association of Nigeria (BAN), held in Lagos on Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Booksellers Association of Nigeria (BAN) Thursday, July 29, 2021, held the 20th edition of its Nigeria International Book Fair (NIBF) at the Harbour Point Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, with the theme: “Women in Bookselling in Nigeria: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

Stakeholders in the book industry at the conference, extolled the strategic role of women in Nigeria’s book industry, noting that the involvement of women in the book ecosystem remained germane to the quest for promoting and improving the book industry and reading culture, given the role of women in the home and society.

The Conference offered an opportunity for stakeholders in the book business to appraise the role of women in promoting the reading culture in Nigeria and Africa in general. They advocated more involvement of women in the sector.

Conference noted that despite the strategic importance of women in the book sector, the number of women involved in the sector remained low compared to that of men, hence the need to improve women’s participation. Particularly, conference called for 40 percent affirmative action, which will, however, be based on competence and merit.

Conference called on relevant stakeholders to pay particular attention to promoting the reading culture at the grassroots level, by working with governments at the local levels to make books available to the less privileged in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, and primary and secondary schools in remote areas of the country.

Conference tasked stakeholders to go to their various communities and work with governments to set up libraries, particularly in local government areas to revive the reading culture in the country.

Conference regretted that the challenge of bookselling in the country has been compounded by the fact that publishers now go to schools directly to supply books.

Conference, therefore, called on publishers to work with booksellers to correct this distortion and return to the original pattern of reaching end users through booksellers, even as it called for collaboration among booksellers and Publishers to tackle the practice.

Conference also called on booksellers to do more to encourage publishers by always remitting funds to them as at when due.

Conference called on the federal government to recognise the book sector as an industry and avail it of necessary support, such as financial assistance through grants and low interest loans via the Bank of Industry, since finance constitutes a challenge to the sector.

Conference also charged the government to recognize booksellers as providers of social service and thus give them support through privileged forex allocation, among other support schemes.

Conference regretted that book piracy remained a major challenge and charged the authorities to put more effort in tackling the menace, just as it recognized and commended the efforts of the Nigerian Copyright Commission at the moment in this regard.

The conference was followed by the presentation of The Nigerian Booksellers Directory 2021, containing information about existing booksellers in Nigeria.

To also help fight piracy, conference called on the reading public to avail themselves of the information contained in the directory, so as to readily know authentic booksellers in Nigeria and where to buy original books.

The conference also promised to map out strategies for identifying and punishing booksellers who engage in sale of pirated books.

To further check the incidence of piracy, conference agreed that in subsequent editions of the directory, only registered booksellers will be featured.

At the Annual General Meeting which commenced after the presentation of the Directory, BAN returned the entire executive council unopposed.

The well attended conference witnessed presentations from Hon. Mrs. Folashade Anna Shinkaiye, chairman of the conference, and the panel of discussants, comprising Pastor Mrs. Oluyinka Morgan, Mrs. Olo Okaisabor and Mrs. Edith Obieke.

The book presentation session was chaired by Mr. Lanre Adesuyi. Mr. Lukman Dauda was the chief presenter, Mr. John Asein, special guest of honour, while Dr. Olayinka Oyegbile was the book reviewer.

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