PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has directed that all necessary arrangements should be made to ensure speedy completion of the multi-billion naira National Library of Nigeria Headquarters, which has been under construction for about 15 years ago.
He said for such an important edifice to take 15 years of construction without completion was a national shame.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, conveyed the directive of President Buhari, on Tuesday while declaring open the conference of Directors and Chairmen of State Public Library Boards in Nigeria.
The conference organized by the National Library of Nigeria (NLN), has the theme: “Repositioning public libraries in Nigeria”.
The cost of the National Library project rose from N8.5 billion to N38.7 billion after several years of variations.
The project was awarded in 2006 to Messrs Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) at the sum of N8.590 billion to be completed in 22 months.
The Minister said: “Following directive by the President, I am pleased to tell this august gathering that all efforts are being made by the Federal Ministry of Education to complete the National Library of Nigeria Headquarters building in Abuja.
“While even lesser countries than Nigeria are busy traversing the transition to digital information management that will help integrate their intellectual cultural output and holdings- library collections, national archives, museums and national galleries- integrated digital environment, Nigeria is yet to finish building a befitting National Library.
“It is a matter of national pride that any worth its salt provides one,” he said.
He expressed the commitment of the Federation to reposition public libraries in Nigeria to provide effective and efficient information services that would complement those in primary schools, secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
National Liberian and Chief Executive Officer of National Library of Nigeria, Professor Lenrie Aina, said the conference was organised to deliberate on how to reposition public libraries in Nigeria.
He lamented that public libraries in Nigeria were undergoing a very trying period having to contend with very poor funding, out-dated book stocks, inadequate human resources dilapidated structures, in an age where information plays vital roles in the socio-economic development of nations.
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