Developers To Spend N25bn, Create 6,000 Jobs as FG Hands Over National Theatre to CBN

Developers of the National Theatre in Lagos are to spend a total of N25bn to provide upgrade as well as build new facilities within the premises of the edifice.

In the same vein, the renovated National Theatre is expected to create additional 6000 jobs when fully operational.

These were the revelations today as the Federal Government handed the monument over to its new developers.

The edifice is 44 year old having been completed in 1976. It was built and modeled after the Bulgarian Culture and Sports Palace.

The monument was handed over by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

In his speech, Lai Mohammed noted that the national theatre remains a national heritage which would not be ceded to any person or group as being reported.

He added that the renovation of the monument was in two phases, with phase 1 to restore and upgrade it at N7 billion and phase III to develop the fallow land within the premises at N18 billion naira.

In his words, "Please permit me to start off by making a clarification: this iconic National Theatre remains a national heritage and will not be ceded to any person or group, as some have chosen to frame what we are doing here today. What we are here to do is 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. The

Federal Ministry of Information and Culture holds the keys to the National Theatre on

behalf of all Nigerians.

"The Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre Project, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), has two phases. Phase 1 is to restore and upgrade the National Theatre to its glory days at a cost of 7 billion Naira, while Phase II will be the development of the fallow land within the premises of the edifice, at a cost of 18 billion Naira. Altogether, the project is estimated to cost 25 billion Naira.

"Another good news is that this project will not lead to a single job loss. Instead, it will create more. 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. This is as good as it gets!

"Before I go into the details of the two phases, let me say here

that the project, which has been approved by Mr. President, is a

win-win for everyone involved. For over 40 years, no major renovation work has been done on the National Theatre, while the adjoining land

has been lying fallow. Many attempts to restore the National Theatre

have failed. And 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 to encourage the advancement of

the performing arts throughout the country; to create opportunities

for performing artists of the country as well as to aid the promotion

of social development and the improvement of the quality of life. In

its present state, it is not living to its billing.

"But that has not always been the case. Many here will remember

that in its heydays, the National Theatre hosted all Nigerian State

Government functions and performances, including popular musical extravaganzas such as the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Roy Ayers, Skyy, Shalamar, Whispers, Third world and Dynasty, as well as major stage events like Wole Soyinka’s adaptation of D.O Fagunwa’s Langbodo. Someone even reminded me the other day that Stevie Wonder once performed at the National Theatre, where he was bestowed with one of his numerous Grammy Awards.

"Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, Phase I of this project

will restore the National Theatre to its glory days and make it the

go-to place for blockbuster shows again. Highlights of the first phase include: - Upgrade of the theatres (The main halls and cinema halls, conference

and banquet halls, press hall and the bar

- Installation of new seats, upgrade of the sanitary facilities,

installation of lifts, acoustics and specialist lightings.- The air conditioning, lighting, other power and plumbing will also

be replaced/upgraded to international standards

"Phase 2 of the project will involve the creation and

implementation of a detailed master plan for the site adjoining the National Theatre, or the fallow land if you like. The highlights include: - Development of purpose-built clusters to provide world class

facilities for Nigeria's Creative Industry. The new centre will

comprise hubs for: Fashion, Music, Film and Information and Technology

(IT) hub. - These creative clusters will be supported by other facilities,

including multi-storey parking to accommodate an additional 1,000

cars, a Visitors' Welcome Centre which will house commercial and

retail facilities, as well as administration and management offices,

among others.

"- Both phases will be connected by carefully curated soft and hard

landscape areas as well as waterways, providing an excellent semi and

outdoors spaces for community use and entertainment, including an amphi-theatre.

- Installation of new infrastructure (roads and services mains) and upgrade of the existing ones.

"Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, this - in short - is why

we are here today. Contrary to what naysayers are spinning. no one is

hijacking the National Theatre. It remains our national heritage. This

Public-Private Partnership is a win-win for all. It restores this

iconic edifice to its glory days and develops the land that has been

lying fallow for over four decades, creating massive jobs for our

teeming youths and providing a go-to spot for our teeming population.

"I therefore enjoin all of us to give our maximum support to this

project so we can bequeath a befitting national heritage to the coming

generations."

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