Minister of information, Lai Mohammed at the National Theatre in Lagos
The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed has assured Nigerians that the National Theatre is not for sale.
Visiting the theatre complex on a tour of all parastatals under his care, Mohammed said the National Theatre will remain a national monument and that the federal government will not sell it for any reason.
“But we are not averse to a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement that will add value to the iconic (National Theatre) complex,” Mohammed said.
The minister however said that the process of selecting a preferred bidder under the PPP arrangement is currently underway.
Minister of information, Lai Mohammed with the general manager, National Theatre, General Manager of the National Theatre, Kabir Yar’Adua
“The National Theatre is a national monument and a tourist attraction. We will not allow it to go derelict or become a magnet for hoodlums. This monument is the pride of the nation, and it has always served as the point of convergence for Nigerians seeking fun and relaxation, especially during festive periods, and a centre for the promotion of arts and culture,” he said.
He also said the security at the complex will be increased using a high-tech security surveillance system may even be introduced to prevent further attack by hoodlums.
“It is totally unacceptable that fun-seeking individuals who throng the National Theatre for relaxation during festive periods or at any time will become the victims of attacks by hoodlums.
‘”We will work with the security agencies, especially the Police and the State Security Service, to upgrade security at the National Theatre. It is also important for the management of the complex to ensure that its perimeter is better secured to ward off hoodlums,” he said.
He said the recent attack has shown challenges faced by management of the National Theatre promising noticeable changes within the next few months at the complex.
“We will restore the National Theatre to its pride of place and make it more user friendly. We will also ensure that the management engages with stakeholders in order to increase the patronage of the various facilities at the complex,” he said.
On Christmas day, some “pick pocketing” hoodlums caused chaos at the National Theatre after several spectators lost their valuables.