Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, on Monday in Jos promised to complete the 2,000 capacity Luka Bentu Indoor Theatre in the state capital preparatory to the hosting of the 2020 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in the state.
The National Council for Arts and Culture granted Plateau the hosting right of the 33rd edition of the festival last October.
Conducting an inspection of the abandoned project, Lalong said, “By God’s grace, we will complete it; the contractor has agreed to work day and night. We have hope we are going to finish it, even if partially for NAFEST to be held here.’’
He said his administration was committed to completing projects abandoned by its predecessors to pave the way for new projects for the development of the state.
“When we see a project that is very important, viable and very significant to the people, we complete it.
“We have done roads and a lot of other projects. I have just finished a theatre in government house with over 2,000-capacity which I inherited and completed,’’ he said.
Lalong said when completed, the indoor theatre would generate revenue for the state through private sector engagement in the theatre’s shopping mall while also providing employment opportunities.
He said the theatre would also encourage and endear youths in particular to fine arts while boosting the tourism sector.
“We must complete it so that whoever hears Luka Bentu, would remember him as the first fine art expert in in the northern part of Nigeria and some people will aspire to be fine artists,’’ the governor said.
Earlier in her remarks, the Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, Tamwakat Weli, thanked the governor, for his commitment to reposition the tourism sector, expressing optimism that NAFEST 2020 would be successful.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the resuscitation of the project will be done in three stages – completion of the indoor-theatre, erection of an Information Communication Technology Centre and the completion of the shopping mall and the parking lot.
Lalong inaugurated a 32-member state steering committee in September to execute the hosting of the 2020 NAFEST, which has “Cultural Dynamism and Post COVID-19’’ as its theme.