A judge of the Lagos high court, Justice Ayokunle Faji has ordered the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami and five others to appear before it on July 24, 2020 over the handover of National Theatre to the Bankers’ Committee.
They were ordered to appear in court to show why they handed over the theatre to developers while the property is a subject of pending litigation.
The Nigerian Government through the Ministry of Information and Culture had handed over the edifice to the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee on June 12 2020 in a bid to transform the theatre and its environ into a creative hub.
Nigerian Banker reported that the Minister of Information and Culture has said at the handover that “The Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre Project, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), has two phases. Phase 1 is to restore and upgrade the National Theatre to its glory days at a cost of 7 billion Naira, while Phase II will be the development of the fallow land within the premises of the edifice, at a cost of 18 billion Naira. Altogether, the project is estimated to cost 25 billion Naira”.
The Guardian had reported that A firm, Topwideapeas Limited had instituted a suit against the Federal Government over the handover, claiming that there is a pending suit delineated FHC/L/CS/2392/2019.
The respondents in the suit are National Theatre & The National Troupe of Nigeria Board, Infrastructure concession Regulatory Commission, Minister, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Attorney General of the Federation, Central Bank of Nigeria, Access Bank of Nigeria Plc, and Mr Herbert Wigwe as first to seventh respondents respectively.
The firm in an ex-parte application filed by its counsel, Chijioke Okoli (SAN), the company prayed for an order “suspending/staying the purported handover on or about July 12, 2020 by the 1st and 3rd to the 5th-7thdefendant/respondents of the National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos and the adjoining lands thereto, pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s motion for interlocutory injunction (by notice filed on December 31, 2019).”