The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the planned restoration and upgrade of the iconic National Theatre will generate about 10,000 jobs during and after the restoration.
The Minister stated this during the formal handover of the edifice and the adjoining 134-hectare fallow land to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee in Lagos over the weekend.
According to the Minister, the iconic National Theatre remains a national heritage which is the hub of the Creative Industry in Nigeria adding that it was established to encourage the advancement of the performing arts throughout the country.
Alhaji Mohammed said the 25-billion-Naira project, tagged the Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre Project, is a Public-Private Partnership, PPP that will be executed in two phases, with Phase 1 being the restoration and upgrade of the National Theatre to its glory days at a cost of 7 billion Naira, and Phase II the development of the adjoining fallow land at a cost of 18 billion Naira.
”The 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!” he said
The Minister described the handover of the facility as a ‘historic day in the annals of the Creative Industry in Nigeria’, saying the project is a win-win for all 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.
”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,” he said.
Recalling the glory days of the National Theatre, Alhaji Mohammed said the edifice once hosted all Nigerian State Government functions and musical extravaganzas such as the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Roy Ayers, who received one of his numerous Grammy Awards at the National Theatre.
Highlights of the first phase include the upgrade of the theatres, installation of new seats, upgrade of the sanitary facilities, installation of lifts, acoustics and specialist lightings, as well as replacement of the air conditioning, lighting and plumbing.
Phase II will involve the development of purpose-built clusters to provide world class facilities for Nigeria’s Creative Industry, with the clusters having four hubs: Fashion, Music, Film and Information and Technology (IT) hubs.
The creative clusters will be supported by other facilities, including multi-storey parking to accommodate 1,000 cars, a Visitors’ Welcome Centre which will house commercial and retail facilities, as well as administration and management offices.
The project is expected to be completed in 18 months.
Present at the handover was Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare; the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele; the Chairman of the Committee of Banks’ CEOs, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe, among others.