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‘Let’s support creative industry for wealth creation and national development’ – Asein, DG, NCC

(Being text of a statement by Dr. John O. Asein, Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), on occasion of the World Book and Copyright Day, Saturday, April 23, 2022)

TODAY, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 2022 World Book and Copyright Day, an annual event initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to promote reading and celebrate authors and books.

This year’s theme ‘Read…so you never feel alone,’ highlights the relevance of reading as an aspect of life that has social bearing on the individual and society. Books, like vehicles of ideas in the creative space, have been man’s endearing companion and a window to the world of knowledge, helping the mind to manage stress and expand horizons. As our own Wole Soyinka once put it, reading “enriches [everyone] as a human being” and enlarges our horizon on humanity.

Because reading shapes and sharpens the mind, it is important that humanity is fed with wholesome materials that would in turn help the reader to contribute his or her best to the development of society. This is particularly important for our children as their fertile minds are daily competing with other channels of information and learning.

Today, our children are more independent and interactive in a technology-driven world. As they exercise their power to select what to do, listen to, watch or read, their minds and techspaces are turned into what Ngugi wa Thiong’o once described as the “battlefield on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it; those who strive to build a protective wall around it, and those who wish to pull it down; those who seek to mould it and those committed to breaking it up. . .”

John Asein
The Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr John Asein

As the agency of government responsible for the promotion, regulation and enforcement of copyright, the Nigerian Copyright Commission recognises the importance of reading as the bedrock of creativity. The theme for this year, therefore, underscores the importance of books to the acquisition of knowledge and as catalysts for national development. With other agencies and stakeholders in the book and knowledge industry, we must put a lie to the old stereotype that the best place to hide something from black people is in a book! To this end, the Commission will be doing more to promote the culture of reading as a pastime for entertainment, enlightenment and education.

As we strive to protect copyright, we should also be committed to the sustainable use of copyright products, such as books to promote the values and aspirations of society. In promoting respect for copyright, we must also strive to maintain a congenial atmosphere for creative enterprises to flourish.

The Commission is reviving Copyright and Creativity Clubs in schools to, amongst other things, promote reading and respect for creativity. Also, in the spirit of the Marrakesh Treaty and the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, the Commission is also championing the campaign to allow more blind children have access to books and learning materials. We call on publishers to embrace this initiative and make more books born accessible for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. The new Copyright Bill that was recently passed by the Senate makes provision for the domestication of the treaty. This further shows the Federal Government’s commitment to its policy of inclusiveness, equal access and non-discrimination against persons living with disabilities.

As we celebrate World Book and Copyright Day, I enjoin Nigerians to embrace reading, support the creative industry and show more respect for copyright as a veritable tool for wealth creation and sustainable national development.

Dr. John O. Asein


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