The Federal Government on Sunday handed over the National Theatre to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee for restoration and upgrade.
In his address at the handing over of the edifice to the CBN, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the National Theatre, despite the arrangement, still remained a national heritage.
He said the ministry would continue to hold the keys to the iconic national heritage despite the Public-Private- Partnership arrangement between government and the Bankers’ Committee.
He said: “Please permit me to make clarifications that this iconic National Theatre remains a national heritage and will not be ceded to any person or group as some naysayers are insinuating, it remains our national heritage.
“The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will continue to hold the keys to the National Theatre on behalf of all Nigerians.
” What we are here to do is to handover the National Theatre for restoration and upgrade and also the 134 hectares of fallow land within the premises to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee for development.”
The minister added that the PPP arrangement would be in two phases – the restoration and upgrade of the National Theatre to its glory days, while the second phase would be the development of the fallow land surrounding the edifice.
Mohammed added: “Another good news is that this project will not lead to any single job loss rather, it will create more, over 6,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase while the completed project could generate an additional 600 permanent jobs and 2000 to 3,000 jobs, this is a good one.”
He revealed that the project which had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari would be a win-win arrangement for everyone involved.
“The place had been left for over four decades without any form of renovation. The government has no money to restore the complex as you know, this is the hub of the creative industry in Nigeria.
“The National Theatre was established for the advancement of the performing arts throughout the country, to also encourage the promotion of the social development and improvement of the quality of life.
“But its present state is not living to its billing,” the minister concluded.