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National Theatre now secured from miscreants — Ododo

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The National Arts Theatre, Lagos

The General Manager/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Theatre, Lagos, Prof. Sunday Ododo, recently, said the parastatal has secured the facility from hoodlums, who used to invade the place through the canal, after the lease of the Ijora end to Adewaxs Global Ventures as parking site for their trucks.

He added that it has blocked off miscreants who used that route to invade the National Theatre consistently to loot the facility.

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According to him, what informed the lease of that space in January was because the place is along the canal towards the Ijora end.

“There was a time when miscreants made their way underground to cut our cables. It is also a route they used to harass and rape women. Sometimes you find dead bodies within that place.

“The management met and decided that we will be achieving two things if we find responsible parties to occupy that place and block off invaders. Since that space was leased to Adewaxs Global Ventures, we no longer have security challenge from that end. The movement of trucks is through Ijora end. They go in and come out of the place. It does not constitute any menace to us.”

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Idodo disclosed that he just renewed the lease between the National Theatre and CCECC for another three years in January.

“It has been running for the past nine years or so. It is a routine thing. The place we have given out is to check the lapses there,” he reiterated.

He said that besides he had the board approval to look into how they can develop the virgin land. “We are going to build a five-star hotel here, Shopping mall, banking hall, medical facilities, National Theatre Academy. These are the things we put forward and we have had the blessing of the board. We are looking into how we can get partners.

“It is a huge achievement for me. Adewaxs Global Ventures did the fencing and securing of the space themselves. I did not spend one kobo and they still paid up N30 million for the three years lease into the government coffers. All our transactions were paid into the TSA. When I came some people were still transacting business with the National Theatre in cash but I stopped it.”

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He added that his mandate is to run the National Theatre as a business enterprise.

“By the time the place is up and running many people will also benefit. We are also going to have a cultural zone to promote African culture, arts and craft. National Theatre Radio is also coming up. We are just waiting for Mr. President’s approval. Nothing untoward is happening here. We are also looking for partners,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ododo, while assessing the progress of the project, said that work had begun with the contractors fully mobilised to the site adding that he was particularly excited at the prospects of many youths securing jobs at all stages of the renovation.

The General Manager said that over 16,000 jobs would be created during and after the renovation of the complex.

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He said, “Some of the jobs will be direct. Others will be indirect. The National Theatre will definitely be a hub for lots of activities.’’

Ododo, in his statement, said, “The jobs will come directly and indirectly through the ongoing radical restoration, revamping and renovation of the edifice. When completed, the complex, which is 44 years old, will be a huge business centre.”

According to him, “It will be the place to be. Food sellers and other petty businesses will not be left out. Those coming for events will be served.”

I must salute our predecessors; I give them kudos. If not for their dedication and efforts, National Theatre would have collapsed long ago.

He regretted that hospitality outfits had taken over the business of the centre, and as such the National Theatre could have made make the huge profits that.

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