Mr Sunday Baba, the immediate past Acting General Manager of the National Arts Theatre, Lagos, says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not take over the national monument.

The Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, has expressed hope that a contract for the renovation of the National Art Theatre would be awarded in a few weeks.

Mr Emefiele gave the hint while responding to questions at a news conference on the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, all approvals are in place to renovate the structure and transform it into a world-class conventional Centre.

“All approvals are in place; we are hoping in the next couple of weeks, a contract will be awarded and the National Art Theatre by the grace of God will wear a new look,” Mr Emefiele said.

He recalled the structure in 1977 was commissioned and used for the festival of arts and culture but was saddened by the fact that it was allowed to decay.

“National Art Theatre was commissioned and used for the festival of arts and culture, 1977, we have visited that magnificent structure, yes it’s totally dilapidated but the structure can compete with any conventional Centre that you will find in any part of the world.

“So it is painful that we allowed that infrastructure to decay to the level that it is,” he said.


Mr Emefiele also said that no conventional centre in the world is a match to the national Art theatre, adding that he had not seen any in all the IMF and World Bank’s meetings that he had so far attended.

He said that the Bankers Committee would fund the renovation of the structure, given the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The CBN governor said that four structures would also be built to support the creative arts activities of the Nigerian youths.

Besides, he believes that a new and improved national arts theatre would be launched by the president, before 2023.

The Federal Government, in July 2020, officially handed over the National Theatre in Lagos to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee for renovation.

Mr Emefiele had said at the handover that Nigeria had the potential to earn over $20bn annually from the creative industry and that the creative industry centre was expected to create over 1 million jobs in five years.

“Our goal for the National Theatre is to create an environment where startups and existing businesses are rewarded for their creativity,” Mr Emefiele had said.

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