Minister of State for Education Ezenwo Wike has described rate of adult illiteracy affecting 40 million Nigerians as "unfortunate", indicating the progress of literacy programmes in the country was slow.
Address a stakeholders meeting at the launch of the National Mass Literacy Campaign in Abuja, Wike said: "It is unfortunate that after fifty years of independence, Nigeria still has over forty million people who are illiterate."
The campaign--the first-ever launch in 20 years by the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC)--aims to teach at least 10 million adult Nigerians every year to read and write, using thousands of facilitators.
Wike called for support to enable the mass literacy programmes reach all states and local government areas nationwide, targeting an estimated 46% of Nigerians considered illiterate, more than half of them women and girls.
But recent data by NMEC have shown enrolment in mass literacy programmes is reducing, lamented the commission's executive secretary Jibril Paiko.
"We need to awaken Nigerians' interest in learning," he said, adding, "People are interested in the programme; it is the support we are looking for."