By Emmanuel Nduka
The Nigerian Government says the historic National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos State which is currently under renovation, will be known as Lagos Creative and Entertainment Center, upon completion.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Tuesday in Madrid, Spain while signing an agreement on Nigeria’s hosting of the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry.
He signed the bilateral agreement on behalf of the Nigerian Government with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) at the organisation’s headquarters.
The Minister informed that the conference, which would hold from November 14 to 17, would be the first event to be staged at the newly refurbished edifice.
“Nigeria will be hosting the event at the National Theatre in Lagos, which is currently being renovated for $100 million under a partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee/Central Bank of Nigeria.
“It is the first of such renovation of the iconic edifice in over four decades.
“In addition to the renovation, new hubs are being constructed, within the premises of the National Theatre, for fashion, information, technology, film, and music.
“With that, the National Theatre is now known as the Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre.
“In addition, the Lagos surface rail system, to serve the National Theatre, will be commissioned ahead of the Global Conference,’’ he said.
While stating that the signing of the bilateral agreement signified Nigeria’s commitment to host the event, Mr Mohammed directed the contractors handling the reconstruction project to ensure its prompt delivery in time for the global event.
The stakeholders on the inspection tour, according to the Minister, were Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; and the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Ademola Seriki, who said he is a member of the Board of Directors of the company handling the reconstruction project, said they would complete the edifice before the global event.
Mr Seriki, who accompanied the minister to the bilateral agreement signing ceremony, thanked the UNWTO for giving Nigeria the right to host the maiden global conference.
He said the conference would bring a huge reputation to the country and assert Nigeria’s lead in music, theatre, and other areas of entertainment in Africa.
Nigeria established the National Theatre, an iconic centre for performing arts, to preserve, present, and promote arts and culture in the country.
The government completed the construction of the monument in 1976 to prepare for the Festival of Arts and Culture hosted in 1977.