The renovation of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to commence fully following the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the apex bank and Ministry of Information and Culture by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced the MoU’s approval on Wednesday at the end of the weekly FEC meeting.
“This is a landmark approval because it has paved the way for investment in the creative industry as part of the resolve of this government to create at least one million jobs in the next three years in the creative industry,” Mohammed said.
He added that “The CBN and Banker’s Committee are willing to invest N21.894 billion to renovate, refurbish and commercialization (run it profitably) of the National Theatre complex. The MoU has a life span of 21 years after which it will revert to the government.”
Mohammed, who further assured that no job would be lost after the renovation added that the “brand new National Theatre, an event centre” will create more jobs.
The Federal Government had on July 12, 2020, handed over the national edifice to the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee, reiterating that the government still retained ownership.
“This iconic National Theatre remains a national heritage and will not be ceded to any person or group. We are here to hand over the National Theatre for restoration and upgrade and the fallow land within the premises to the Central Bank and the Bankers’ Committee for development. Ministry of Information and Culture holds the keys to the National Theatre on behalf of all Nigerians,” Mohammed had said at the occasion.
He added that the redevelopment will be in two phases and will provide over 6,000 jobs for Nigerians.
According to Mohammed, “Some 6,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase, while the completed project could generate up to an additional 600 permanent and 2000 to 3000 call-on/call-off jobs.”
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also a fortnight ago, disclosed that a contract for the Theatre’s renovation would be awarded in a few weeks.
He said all approvals were in place to renovate the structure and transform it into a world-class conventional Centre.
“All approvals are in place; we are hoping in the next couple of weeks, a contract will be awarded and the National Art Theatre by the grace of God will wear a new look,” Emefiele said.