Front view of the National Theatre

The Federal Government has handed over the National Theatre and its surrounding land areas to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and the Bankers’ Committee for restoration. This is aimed at creating millions of jobs for youths in the country and diversifying the country’s economy.

It would be recalled that there were speculations last year that the Lagos State Government was planning to acquire the complex, This followed a visit to the National Theatre by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy Babafemi Hamzat as well as the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, which were however put to rest by a statement issued by the Secretary, Governing Board of the National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria, Agbo Ita.

The apex bank says the edifice is capable of generating over $20 billion annually for the country through the creative industry when the complex is fully renovated.

At an official handover ceremony held in Lagos Sunday, the CBN Governor disclosed that the complex is expected to be restructured into four pillars namely: Information Technology IT, music, film and fashion.

It was gathered that the event was attended by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Governor of CBN and Chairman, Bankers Committee,  Emefiele; Governor Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, among several others.

Speaking at the ceremony, the minister said the planned restoration and upgrade of the iconic National Theatre would generate about 10,000 jobs during and after the restoration.

Emefiele, who also spoke at the event, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the handing over of the edifice constituting over 132,000 hectares of land.

“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.

“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”, he said.

The CBN Governor also said: “The handover of the edifice to the CBN/Bankers Committee is indeed timely when one considers the external headwinds facing our economy today.

 “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”.