Senator Tinubu urges book stakeholders to embrace tech

Lawmaker representing Lagos Central Constituency in the Senate, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, has urged Nigerians to embrace technological advancements in publishing so the country is not left behind.

Speaking at the International Conference of the 18th Nigerian International Book Fair (NIBF) at the Multipurpose Halls of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), which she chaired, Mrs Tinubu told stakeholders in the book industry that technological upgrade was necessary for international collaborations to be beneficial.

“Technology is taking over the world and every facet of our lives.  When we choose to ignore technological advancement in certain fields, we are in essence getting ready to be left behind by the rest of the world. With several other countries participating in this fair, it is apparent that to stay relevant and adequately collaborate with counterparts across the world, we need an upgrade of our publishing and distribution networks,” said Mrs Tinubu, who was represented by Mrs Abiodun Elegushi, a former sole administrator in Victoria Island Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

Mrs Tinubu also condemned piracy and promised to protect authors and the book industry.

“Being a published author myself, I understand the fears and challenges that come with the territory.  One of these is the issue of piracy and copyrights.  Unless and until our laws are implemented to protect creative work, it will continue to be a problem.

“In my role as senator, I will continue to support initiatives and legislations that protect Nigerian authors and every aspect of the value chain.  I am also open to ideas and suggestions on how we can better protect the interests of concerned parties,” she said.

In his keynote address titled: Optimising New Technology in Book Development and Distribution for the Promotion of Book Trade in Africa, Executive Director, Sidmach Technologiesa, Mr Mike Olajide, who was represented by Mr Lanre Basamta, said fighting piracy had become even more important in the technology-driven era as a result of digital piracy

Nevertheless, he said various effective software now exist to fight piracy.

“Facing the obvious truth that if we do not kill piracy, it will kill the publishing industry – it is time for authors and publishers to take a stand and fight the monster called piracy.

“Technology will continue to transform our lives, not leaving out fundamental things like books. We can expect that more technology will emerge in the coming years to promote publishing, distribution and trade of books.

“We must be willing to accept and deploy technology, not only to optimise how we publish and distribute books, but also how we promote book trade by combating piracy,” he said.

In his speech, Chairman Nigerian Book Fair Trust (NBFT), Gbadega Adedapo, appealed to the government to provide a level-playing ground for book industry to thrive.

“We desire and would appreciate if the government could look into the following: special low-tariffs on educational and printing materials; revival of our moribund paper manufacturing industries; grants to encourage authors, publishers and book distributors to keep doing the creative work,” he said.

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