Prof. Jeff Doki, the Head, Department of English, University of Jos, has decried the increasing poor reading culture among Nigerians.
Doki said this when led by other staff members of the department for a community service and engagement with the Anaguta Community on Thursday in Jos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Anaguta community is the host community of the university of Jos.
The event was held at the Palace of Mr Johnson Magaji, the Ujah Anaguta and Chairman Jos North Traditional Council.
Doki, who described the trend as “worrisome” attributed it on advent of science and modernity and lack of equipped libraries, among others.
He observed that the declining reading culture among the people, particularly young ones was responsible for the increasing rate of crime and criminality in the society.
“It is rather sad to note that Nigeria has been rated by the World Culture Score Index as one of the countries in the world with the lowest reading culture.
“The reasons for this are many and varied. For example, Nigerian parents don’t encourage reading at home.
“Some parents could buy a car for the child on their birthday but not a book.
“The advent of science and modernity especially the television, the internet and the telephone, has thrown all the books into a corner.
“Those in power and the rich do not build libraries and schools, rather they build hotels, pubs and bars.
“Today one can say, with considerable justification, that the absence of a reading culture is responsible for other social crimes like prostitution, drug addiction, examination malpractice, alcoholism, cultism and other train of societal ills,” he said.
The don called on government at all levels to encourage reading by properly funding schools to enable them to stock books in their libraries.
“The department is calling on both the federal and state governments to make reading a priority in our schools and colleges.
“This can be done by properly funding schools to make reading texts and materials available to children at the primary and secondary levels of education.
“The government can also promote reading by setting reading challenges with prizes.
“This, of course, means adding a competitive edge to the reading culture by awarding prizes to the best or fastest reader(s),” he said.
NAN reports that department donated books to the community to be distributed in secondary schools as a way of promoting reading culture in young people.