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April 17, 2024
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NGO harps on investment in libraries for youth intellectual development

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By Franca Ofili

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Advocacy for Positive Behavioral Patterns Initiative has called on the government to invest in the construction of libraries to boost intellectual capacity for youth development.

Mr Ayo Olutekunbi, Executive Director of the initiative made the call in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

Olutekunbi said the imperative of nurturing intellectual capacity among teenagers and young adults could not be overstated especially in a nation with rich cultural heritage and burgeoning youth population like Nigeria.

“The youth embody Nigeria’s future and their intellectual growth is pivotal for the country’s advancement.

“Yet, when we survey the Nigerian landscape, a glaring disparity emerges, and while religious centers thrive, accessible libraries remain a rarity.

“This stark incongruity compels us to issue a resounding call to action.

“The government must invest in constructing libraries in all area councils,” he said.

Olutekunbi said libraries have the potential to become sanctuaries of knowledge and beacons of hope for the youth of the country.

He said that the youth grapple with a myriad of challenges, with peer influence standing out as one of the most formidable.

“We are acutely aware of the profound impact that peers have on young people’s decisions and the allure of negative influences can steer them away from intellectual growth and personal development,” Olutekunbi said.

He said that the youth could be left vulnerable in the absence of places for constructive engagement and self-improvement.

Olutekunbi said that religious centers offer spiritual guidance, but that they may not provide the intellectual stimulation and resources needed to shape well-rounded individuals.

According to him, libraries are not mere repositories of books but they possess the power to transform lives.

He said libraries provide a quiet space for reflection, research and learning.

Olutekunbi said libraries also offered free access to an extensive collection of books, magazines, academic journals and digital resources, adding that the call for its establishment in area councils was grounded in the principle of equitable access to education and knowledge.

He also said that the Initiative recognised the pivotal role libraries could play in nurturing positive behavioral patterns among the youth.

“Libraries ignite curiosity, nurture critical thinking and empower the youth to explore new horizons. They are inclusive spaces that foster diversity, inclusivity and social cohesion.

“By spreading libraries across the nation, we guarantee that even the most remote and underserved communities can access the wealth of knowledge libraries offer.

“This initiative bridges the urban-rural gap, ensuring an equal platform for intellectual growth for all Nigerian youth.

“We believe that libraries can serve as centers for skill development, research, and community engagement.

“Libraries can be the catalyst for change, empowering the youth to explore, innovate and shape a brighter tomorrow.

“We implore the government to shift its focus towards constructing libraries in all area councils, creating a legacy of knowledge and opportunity for generations to come,” he added.

Olutekunbi further added that it was vital investing in intellectual development especially in a nation where the youth constituted a significant portion of the population.

This, he said, would go a long way in determining the future of the country. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Yinusa Ishola and Emmanuel Afonne

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