Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Information Services for Rural Community Development in Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Information Services for Rural Community Development in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Information is raw material for development for both urban and rural dwellers. Prosperity, progress, and development of any nation depend upon the nation's ability to acquire, produce, access, and use pertinent information. A report on older rural people (2008:3) indicates that, "Access to information and advice is a key resource for local people in maintaining active and independent lives. Access to information is also critical to letting people know their entitlements to welfare benefits and sources of support to overcome social exclusion."

Information is the lifeblood of any society and vital to the activities of both the government and private sectors. Bell (1974:4) holds the view that "the dependence upon information to create innovation and change, places a high premium on the ability of (developing countries) nations to access and use information to create advances in society". The development of countries globally cannot be achieved without the development of the rural community. This is because 75 to 80 percent of the people in developing countries live in the rural areas need positive, relevant and prompts attention in their daily activities.

No serious, active, conscious, sensitive, and organized government would want to neglect rural communities. Lack of development has a positive correlation with the neglect of rural areas. Rural neglects brings negative consequences such as exodus of rural dwellers to urban areas, with resulting problems of unemployment, crimes, prostitution, child labour, insecurity, money laundering, bribery, poverty, proliferation of shanty living areas, spread of diseases, and overstretching of the facilities and infrastructures in the urban areas.

Any nation that neglects the development and empowerment of the rural communities should not expect meaningful development. Alegbeleye and Aina (1985: 13) reiterated state that "the third world countries have recently come to realize that unless the rural areas are well developed, hardly would any meaningful development occur in these countries." Development can only be effective if rural dwellers have access to the relevant, diverse information for their activities. Efforts must be made to give access to knowledge and information by non-literates who constitute the majority of rural dwellers. Okiy (2003:1) says that, "Rural development is a basis for economic development and information is an important ingredient in development process. People in rural areas whether literate or not should have access to any kind of information which will help them to become capable and productive in their social and political obligations, to become better informed citizens generally." Similarly Diso (1994: 143) holds the view that" information must as a matter of policy, be seen as a basic resource for development if durable structures are to be provided for effective access and utilization, which entails information capturing, coordination, processing, and dissemination". In the Nigerian context, accessibility to information by both urban and rural communities is stated in its development plans. But with emphasis to the support of government propaganda and many programmes that are not fully relevant to the development of rural communities. The information received by the rural dwellers is either not reliable or distorted in the process of transmission. This unhealthy situation constitutes a major impediment, which keep the rural communities in Nigeria and other developing countries far away from development indicators. The developed countries undertake rural projects to reduce the gap between the urban and the rural communities to the barest level. A report on a rural project (2007) outlined that, "Access to and the ability to use information and knowledge are not equally distributed (between urban and rural communities).About seven million adults in England are judged to be functionally illiterates. Affluent families are far more likely to be able to give their children access to books, computers, and the internet than poorer families. …

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