Nigerian Government Sunday handed over the National Theatre complex in Lagos to the Central Bank of Nigeria and banks under the aegis of the Bankers Committee to commence the renovation of the facility.
This is coming months after the government gave approval to the CBN and the Bankers Committee to redevelop the theatre into a world-class convention centre.
CBN boss Godwin Emefiele in September 2019 said the CBN has sealed strong understanding with the Nigerian Bankers Committee to invest a whopping N22bn in the redevelopment of the moribund iconic building for the creative industry to thrive.
Although Prince Chris Ogan, a partner at Jadeas Trust Consortium, managing the National Art Theatre, in November said the takeover as a breach of contract, the approval was sealed with a ceremony on Sunday.
“The handover of the National Theatre to the CBN /Bankers Committee is indeed timely when one considers the external headwinds facing our economy today,” Emefiele said.
In his remarks, Nigeria’s Information and Culture minister Lai Mohammed said the takeover was a win-win for every stakeholder.
“We must transform the national theatre to its glory days. The facility is to be transformed to international standard. The new centre would comprise hub for fashion, music, ICT and will have commercial and retail facilities, among others,” Mohammed said.
According to the minister, “no one is hijacking the national theatre, it remains our national heritage.”
The ceremony also had in attendance the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare; Access Bank Plc CEO, Herbert Wigwe, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy and other top officials in the state government.