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National Theatre in limbo as federal government delays concession

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The National Arts Theatre, Lagos. Photo: Nairaland

The bold move by the Federal government to transform the National Theatre at Iganmu, Lagos into an entertainment city, through concession appears to be in limbo for lack of consummate actions by the authorities.

Today, the walls and plumbing works of the once iconic edifice fashioned to resemble the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna, Bulgaria completed in 1968, have given way to cockroaches and all sorts of crawling creatures and a church.

The Guardian learnt that the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) have already issued Full Business Case (FBC) Compliance Certificate to the Ministry of Information, the supervisory ministry but progress could not be made until the FBC certificate is tabled before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration to permit further actions on the concession process of the architectural masterpiece and a cultural landmark.

An insider in ICRC, Abuja expressed worries why the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has not presented the certificate to FEC.

According to the source, it is only when that is done that further action will be taken by ICRC on the project being spearheaded by the federal Government

It was further gathered that project would involve the complete renovation and restructure of the facility located in Iganmu, Lagos, and transformation of the large, under-utilized area of land around the iconic theatre.

Situated in a landmass of about 23,000 square metres and standing well over 31 metres tall, the multipurpose National Theatre was established for the preservation, presentation and promotion of Arts and Culture in Nigeria.

The project is Tagged: ‘The Nigeria Entertainment City, a Public-Private Partnership model being deployed to see the current theatre main bowl fully upgraded, and the adjoining land around developed into complimentary facilities.

Facilities expected amongst others in the entertainment city will include; a five-Star Hotel, ultra-modern office buildings, a multi-level car park, shopping and retail facilities, as well as an amusement park.

Conceived as an architectural masterpiece and a cultural landmark, the property located at Iganmu, in the heart of Lagos has been in the news for some times.

Before now, several attempts have been made to either sell or concession the edifice designed by Bulgarian Construction Company, Technoexportsroy.

Contract for the construction of the monument, which primarily is for the performing arts in Nigeria was signed on April 24, 1973, during Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s regime but construction was completed in 1976 in preparation for the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977.

Director General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, said during his appearance before the House of Representatives Joint Committees on 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework /Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF/FSP, that the National theatre, was part of the key national asset the federal government has concluded plans to sell.stressed that the purpose of the proposed sale is to generate sufficient revenue to finance the country’s annual budgets for the next three years (2018-2020).


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