The Federal government said it is working with state governments and other relevant stakeholders to develop a public Library policy for the country.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu made the disclosure in Abuja.
Adamu disclosed that efforts are ongoing to complete the National Library Headquarters.
“The Library project was awarded in 2006 at a total cost of N8 billion. By 2013, the project cost was reviewed upward to N18 billion. Work was however stopped by the end of 2013 due to poor-funding. When this administration come into power, the contractor submitted a new bill of N78 billion to complete the project. We set up a committee to evaluate the project. This committee has submitted a bill of N50 billion. We have forwarded the report to the Bureau of Public Procurement”.
The Minister explained that the Buhari administration has made it clear that it will not abandon any project initiated by any past administration that is adjudged to be in public interest.
In the same vein, he noted that efforts are on to complete the National Library Procurement for further appraisal.
“The recommendation of the BPP will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration. While we await these processes to be completed, we are pursuing alternative sources of funding especially from special intervention funding windows. It is important to state that the rising cost of the project is due largely to exchange rate of fluctuations “.
Speaking further, Adamu emphasized that the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) is required by its enabling Act to have presence in all states of the Federation.
“The National Library of Nigeria has been expanding its branches across the country as well as rehabilitating existing ones. Contracts for the renovation of the Lagos, Benue, Nasarawa, Imo, Adamawa, and Plateau branches have been awarded while others will come on stream 1n 2020.”
The renovation goes beyond replacing leaking roofs and painting walls. The exercise will involve providing reading spaces for children to promote a sound reading culture among school pupils, ensuring stable electricity supply, clean toilets and running water at all times.”
Adamu noted that new branches are to be established in Delta, Anambra, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kogi and Jigawa states.
“We have completed permanent branch buildings in Gombe and Katsina states.
It must also be noted that we are in a digital world. We are therefore in the process of providing free internet access for our library users, beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Enugu branches. We have requested Galaxy Backbone to increase our Internet bandwidth in these branches and the process is ongoing. We are also expanding completing and renovating e-libraries in all our Unity schools and each school will gets qualified librarian to manage the learning resources.”