BY CHINYERE OBIORA, LAGOS – The Federal Government has assured that the National Theatre will be restored to its glorious past and repositioned in line with efforts at diversifying the country’s economy for sustainable growth and development.
This is coming on the heels of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s declaration that Nigeria has potentials of attracting over $20 billion annually as earnings from creative industry when the edifice is fully renovated and utilised.
According to the apex bank, areas of focus will be on the four pillars of information technology, music, film and fashion.
The heartwarming news came during an official handing over of the National Theatre and its surrounding lands to CBN for restoration as the government seeks to create millions of jobs for the teeming youths.
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who spoke on Sunday, at the ceremony in Lagos, said; “The National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, which is being handed over today to the Bankers Committee, is expected to serve as the initial pilot for the Nigeria Creative Industries Centre.”
In expressing gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for giving CBN custody of the edifice constituting over 132,000 hectares of land, Emefiele said; “Upon completion in another 18 months, this area would have transformed into Nigeria’s Creative industrial Centre, which will be comparable to other world class entertainment and convention centres in any part of the world.
“Following the completion of the renovation works at the National Theatre, with the supporting facilities that will be built around it, which include a hotel and an expansive conference centre, we intend to set up similar creative industries centres in Kano and Port Harcourt.”
Describing as timely the decision that CBN/Bankers Committee take over the national monument, Emefiele said given the external headwinds currently facing our economy, Nigeria must harness the creative talents of its youth populace to grow the economy on a sustainable basis.
“With our human capital resources and an enabling environment that will help harness the creative talents of our youths, Nigeria has the potential to earn over $20 billion annually from the creative industry”, the CBN boss said.
In his remarks at the event, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government is looking at creating about 10,000 jobs through the planned restoration and upgrade of the National Theatre
He assured that no efforts would be spared at ensuring the project is successfully carried out within the stipulated timeframe.
The occasion had in attendance the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Governor of CBN and Chairman, Bankers Committee, Godwin Emefiele; among others.
This development has now put to rest speculations about the interest of Lagos State government in taking over the national edifice that lay in ruins for years.