Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture (3rd from left) Hand Over the Facility to CBN Governor Emefiele Photo: BlackBoxNigeria

Nigeria hands over National Arts Theatre to CBN for renovation, economic viability

*Over N20billion for Creative Industry Financing Initiative earmarked as take-off capital

*Cultural monument will create more job opportunities for Nigerians ─Lai Mohammed

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As a prime cultural, arts and entertainment hub originally intended to add value to the country’s economy, the Federal Government of Nigeria has handed over the diminishing National Arts Theatre to the Bankers’ Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for renovation.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, at the handing over ceremony Sunday, July 12, in Lagos, stated that he is hopeful that the restoration of the edifice to its former glory will create more jobs as against speculations that it will lead to job loss, according to Channels TV.

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, on the occasion, gave an assurance that the National Arts Theatre would be transformed into a world-class facility.

The CBN Governor said that the challenges posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have further necessitated the need for the Federal Government to diversify its income generation avenues.

Report stated that the Bankers’ Committee is planning to use the Creative Industry Financing Initiative, with over N20 billion already earmarked as take-off capital, for the redevelopment of the 40-acre national asset.

Mr. Sunday Dare, Honourable Minister for Youth and Sports, at the event, also said that the vibrant creative industry would get a major boost, especially in the areas of revenue generation, talent discovery and job creation, among others.

In his address on the occasion, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari’s support in reviving the national monument.

While stressing the need to deliver the project at a set date, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that “maximum of 22 months, we will bring Mr. President here for a tour of the facility.”

It is recalled that the construction of the National Arts Theatre was initiated by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd.), former Head of State.

The military regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, however, completed the project in 1976.

The imposing facility hosted the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977, which was regarded as one of the most iconic events in the nation’s history.

The Federal Government and Lagos State Government said the new plan is meant to turn the abandoned asset into an Information Technology (IT), fashion, and entertainment goldmine.

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