Inspite of the recent attacks by Boko Haram in Maiduguri, Borno State and Madagali, Adamawa State, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has expressed optimism that the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, would technically crush insurgency before end of the December deadline.
This is just as he assured Nigerians that contrary to speculations in some quarters, the National Art Theatre will not be sold.
Mr. Lai Mohammed made the remarks in Lagos yesterday, while briefing newsmen.
The Minister 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 national edifice as part of the tour of parastatals under his ministry.
Reacting to attacks on Jiddari Polo, and Aladuwari Village, near Maiduguri metropolis, where scores of people were killed between Sunday and Monday, Lai Mohammed said, “We have been vindicated because Boko Haram have been decapitated compared to the past records”.
While insisting that Boko Haram sect has been technically defeated by the Nigerian military, Mr. Mohammed 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, Mohammed 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.
Lai Mohammed also stated that security around the complex would be beefed up to prevent a recurrence of the Christmas Day incident, where fun seekers at the National Theatre were molested by hoodlums, as well as 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.