The Federal Government on Monday assured that the National Theatre will always remain a national monument and will not be sold for whatever reason.
”But we are not averse to a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement that will add value to the iconic (National Theatre) complex,” the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said during a visit to the complex as part of the tour of the parastatals under his Ministry.
He said the process of selecting a preferred bidder under the PPP arrangement is currently underway.
”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,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He said the security around the complex would be beefed up to prevent a recurrence of the molestation by hoodlums of fun seekers at the National Theatre on Christmas Day, and also ensure the safety of the priceless artifacts within the complex.
”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,” the Minister said, adding that a high-tech security surveillance system may even be introduced to better secure the complex
Alhaji Mohammed said the on-the-spot assessment of the security and other situation at the National Theatre has revealed the challenges being faced by the management, and assured that there will be noticeable changes at the complex within the next few months.
”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.
The General Manager of the National Theatre, Mallam Kabir Yusuf Yar’Adua, conducted the Minister around the facilities at the complex, including the banquet, cinema and exhibition halls, the sub-power station, the water works, the police post and the artiste village, among others.