The Nigerian government has formally handed over the National Arts Theater in a Public Private Partnership that will see the transformation of the art citadel to a modern entertainment hub.
Constructed over forty years ago, the National Arts Theater is a gigantic cultural edifice housing cinemas and art studios and has played host to many reknowned world artistes and stage plays for many years.
But a lack of funding and neglect over the years had seen it lost its glory and cultural significance.
At the handing over ceremony to the Central Bank of Nigeria led initiative which also includes committee of Bankers and the Lagos State government, Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed noted that the restoration and regeneration of the National Arts Theater was long overdue.
The Minister said that contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the government was selling of the national monument, efforts were only been channelled to ensure that the huge economic potentials of the National Arts Theater and its adjoining lands were explored to the fullest.
“National Arts Theater remains a national heritage, the handing over is only for its restoration and regeneration,the Ministry of Information and Culture will continue to hold the keys to the monument”.
In his remarks, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said that the restoration of the National Arts Theater will help to unleash the abundant talents in the country whilst also creating about six thousand jobs during the reconstruction process.
The CBN Governor said further that the uplift of the Arts Theatre will include a fashion hub which will house an apparel factory, a music hub for recording, marketing of the country’s rich blend of music, an IT hub for young creative people and a film hub with a string of studios.
In all, Mr. Emefiele noted that the regeneration of the National Theater is capable of generating about twenty billion dollars for Nigeria upon completion.
Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu who handed over about 130 acres of land around the Arts Theater to the CBN applauded the initiative.
He said that the the tripartite partnership between the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the Lagos State Government and the CBN was an indication of the synergy amongst the different tiers and agencies of government needed to drive development and growth of the nation’s economy.