In what appeared to be a fraudulent move, the Federal Government has for the second time in less than a year, handed over the country’s National Arts Theatre to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Bankers’ Committee, for renovation.
Recall that about nine months ago, precisely October 2019, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government handed over the National Theater, located in the Iganmu area of Lagos, to the CBN and Bankers’ Committee, in order to renovate and construct it into a world-class convention centre.
In a surprise turn of events, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, this same government repeated the same action, in a similar way.
Having been handed over for renovation, a 40-acre Creative Industry Park is expected to be developed around the National Theatre. Unmask NG understands that the development was meant to boost the growth of the creative sector in diverse areas like entertainment, movie, music, fashion, and ICT.
As stated when first handed over, Governor Godwin Emefiele of the CBN, said the National Arts Theatre would be transformed into a high revenue-generating hub, adding that under the CBN Creative Industry Financing Initiative, a hub would be built around the edifice to accommodate talented youths so that they can develop their God-given gifts.
The CBN boss also expressed conviction that the project would eventually lead to the buildup of a more resilient economy.
Budget for the renovation
Although, the money budgeted for the renovation of the National Arts Theatre is yet-to-be made public. However, going by a disclosure made by Emefiele during the 11th Bankers Committee Retreat in Ogere, Ogun State, it is most likely that about N25 billion, have been spent twice to revive the moribund National Arts Theatre.
If not, why the renovation of the National Arts Theatre has been handed over twice to the CBN and Bankers’ Committee for renovation, in different ceremonies, is a question that begs for answers.