Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has hinted that the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, would be renovated and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari before 2023.
Mr Emefiele, in a chat with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, said the contract for the renovation of the edifice first commissioned in 1977 would be awarded in the next couple of weeks.
He said all approvals are in place to renovate the structure and transform it into a world-class convention centre, noting that the Bankers Committee would fund the project.
According to him, additional four structures would also be built to support the creative arts activities of the Nigerian youths.
“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 that after the structure was erected the festival of arts and culture in 1977, the facility was abandoned and allowed to decay.
“National Arts 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,” the apex bank chief said.
Mr Emefiele also said that no conventional centre in the world is a match to the National Arts Theatre, adding that he had not seen any in all the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings he had attended so far.
Recall that the federal government in July 2020 officially handed over the National Arts Theatre in Lagos to the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee for renovation.
Mr Emefiele had said at the handover that Nigeria had the potential to earn over $20 billion annually from the creative industry and create over 1 million jobs in five years.
“Our goal for the National Arts Theatre is to create an environment where startups and existing businesses are rewarded for their creativity,” Mr Emefiele had said.