Theatre workers and allied agencies operating inside the main bowl of the National Theatre in Lagos on Friday began to remove their properties, following the dateline given by the Federal Government.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the matching order was given to the workers to quit and pave the way for the renovation of the about 45-year-old complex.
The Bankers’ Committee, led by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had on February 14 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government for the handover of the theatre complex.
On July 12, 2020, the Federal Government handed over the complex to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers Committee for restoration and development of the 134 hectares of fallow land within the premises.
NAN correspondents who visited the main bowl of the complex reports that many of the workers were seen removing their office materials to beat the deadline.
Affected tenant agencies such as the National Gallery of Arts and the National Troupe staff were seen moving their items out of the arena.
Dr. Celestine Agoziem, the Head of Documentation and Monitoring at the theatre, confirmed the development to NAN.
Agoziem, however, complained of the short notice, saying such a notice should have come earlier to enable proper mobilisation of men and resources for effective movement.
He said, however, that so far, affected agencies have complied substantially with the directive, saying that the hasty and uncoordinated approach being displayed by the staff is a reflection of the short notice.
Also, an official of the National Theatre, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, told NAN that contractors were yet to arrive for the renovation works.
The Minister for Culture and Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, during the handing over had reiterated that the National Theatre would still remain the nation’s heritage.
Mohammed said that his ministry would continue to hold the keys to the iconic national heritage in spite of the Public-Private Partnership arrangements between the federal government and the CBN.
He assured that the project would not lead to any job loss but rather create no fewer than 46,000 jobs during the construction phase while the completed project could generate additional 6000 jobs.