Arising from its conference, book presentation and AGM on the last day of the Nigeria International Book Festival, Thursday, July 29, 2021, held at the Harbour Point Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, with the theme, “Women in Bookselling in Nigeria: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” Book Sellers Association of Nigeria (BAN), has advocated for  more involvement of women in the book industry. 

The conference offered an opportunity for stakeholders in the book business to appraise the role of women in promoting the reading culture in Nigeria and Africa in general, calling for 40 percent affirmative action, but to be also based on competence and merit. 

The conference also called on relevant stakeholders to pay particular attention to promoting the reading culture at the grassroots level by working with governments at the local levels to make books available to the less privileged in IDP camps, and primary and secondary schools in remote areas. 

It tasked stakeholders to go to their various communities and work with governments to set up libraries, particularly in local government areas, to revive the reading culture in the country. 

It called on a collaborative effort between publishers and booksellers   to correct the wide gap in the supply of books and return to the original pattern of reaching end users through booksellers. 

The conference, in addition, called on booksellers to do more to encourage publishers by always remitting funds to them as at when due, just as called on the federal government to recognise the book sector as an industry and avail it of  financial assistance through grants and low interest loans via the Bank of Industry, privileged forex allocation, among other support schemes, as well as tackling piracy. 

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The conference was followed by the presentation of The Nigerian Booksellers Directory 2021, containing information about existing booksellers in Nigeria. 

To also help fight piracy, the conference called on the reading public to avail themselves of the information contained in the directory, so as to readily know authentic booksellers in Nigeria and where to buy original books. 

The conference also promised to map out strategies for identifying and punishing booksellers who engage in sale of pirated books, while resolving to feature only registered booksellers  in subsequent editions of the directory. 

At the Annual General Meeting, which commenced after the presentation of the Directory, BAN returned the entire executive council unopposed. The well attended conference witnessed presentations from Hon. Mrs. Folashade Anna Shinkaiye, chairman of the conference; and the panel of discussants, comprising Pastor Mrs. Oluyinka Morgan, Mrs. Olo Okaisabor and Mrs. Edith Obieke.

The book presentation session was chaired by Mr. Lanre Adesuyi. Mr. Lukman Dauda was the chief presenter; Mr. John Asein, special guest of honour, while Dr. Olayinka Oyegbile reviewed the book.