- The federal government announced its plan to renovate the National Theatre recently
- While many Nigerians welcomed the idea, some others frowned at the N21billion approved for the renovation
- Senator Shehu Sani has joined in questioning the rationale behind using such huge funds for the renovation of the facility
Senator Shehu Sani has condemned the federal government's plan to renovate the National Theatre in Surulere, Lagos with N21billion.
The ex-lawmaker tweeted his support for plans to renovate the edifice but frowned at the amount it will cost.
He described the amount quoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as unbelievable.
“National Theatre is a national treasure that deserves renovation and preservation. I commend the CBN and the federal government for the initiative after decades of utter neglect. However, spending N21billion on renovation is unbelievable.”
The Federal Executive Council had on Wednesday, February 10 approved an agreement that will lead to the renovation of the facility.
The National Arts Theatre is a monument located in Iganmu, Surulere, Lagos as a primary centre for the performing arts in the country.
The edifice has a 5,000-seater Main Hall with a collapsible stage, and two capacity cinema halls, all of which were equipped with facilities for simultaneous translation of eight languages; among others.
Some Nigerians have also been airing their opinion on the issue via social media.
Ray Nkah tweeted:
“I don't know jack about construction. But apparently, it costs more to renovate a facility, than to build it from scratch. At least in Nigeria.”
Muhammad Lawal wrote:
“CBN is empowered to delve into businesses, Ventures, and enterprises that they feel would generate income. The National Theatre is a vital real estate that would unlock the entertainment industry in Nigeria to a height that can only be imagined.”
Solomon Apenja wrote:
“What would it cost to build a new one? Why is Abuja so wasteful? Concession the National Theatre to private concerns who'll renovate, operate and transfer to ownership to Nigeria after expiration of a twenty-year lease. Use the N21billion for more productive uses.”
Nwa Anioke wrote:
“FEC approves N21 billion for the renovation of the National Theatre and the universities are all on prolonged strike. Very soon they will remind us of how we were not employable and tell us we are lazy Nigerian youths. Why should I pledge to a Nigeria that strangulates my dreams?”
Meanwhile, CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has revealed that the apex bank was partnering government at all levels and the private sector to provide sophisticated health facilities in the country to address the healthcare needs of Nigerians.
Emefiele said that such intervention had become necessary in view of the widening gap in the health service provision due to poor medical facilities across the nation, adding that it was also in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a related development, the federal government has assured Nigerians that the COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the country before the end of the first quarter of 2021.
This was disclosed by Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, the national incident manager of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday, January 28.
Jerrywright Ukwu is a senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng based in Abuja. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also an active member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books.