The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has expressed optimism that despite the recent attacks by insurgent, the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari’s would technically defeat Boko Haram before the end of this December deadline.
Meantime, he also assured Nigerians that the National Art Theatre will not be sold for whatever reason as been speculated in some quarters.
Mohammed made the remarks in Lagos yesterday, while briefing newsmen. He was accompanied by representatives of the Lagos Police Command and Department of State Services, DSS, at the premises of the National Theatre shortly after inspecting facilities at the complex as part of the tour of the parastatals under his ministry.
Reacting to attacks on Jiddari Polo, and Adawari Village, near Maiduguri metropolis, both in Borno State, where scores of people were killed between Sunday and Monday, the Minister said, “We have been vindicated because Bokom Haram have been decapitated compared to the past records.”
While insisting that Boko Haram sect has been technically defeated by the Nigerian military, Muhammed said the pockets of attacks still being witnessed in the country could not be compared to what the near war situation the sect subjected the country to same time last year.
On the National Theatre, Muhammed said; “We are not averse to a Public-Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement that will add value to the iconic (National Art Theatre) complex. The process of selecting a preferred bidder under the PPP arrangement is currently under way.
‘’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.
Muhammed added that 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 artefacts within the complex.
Earlier, the General Manager of the National Theatre, Mallam Kabir Yusuf Yar’Adua, conducted the Minister around the facilities at the complex, which include; the banquet, cinema and exhibition halls, the sub-power station, the water works, the police post and the artiste village, among others.