Crisis escalates over FG’s handover of National Theatre to CBN as investors make demands
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
An investor, Calzada Limited, has petitioned the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, demanding full compliance with concession bid for the National Theatre earlier conducted in 2015.
This is part of crisis arising from the Federal Government’s decision to hand over the facility to CBN, and the Bankers Committee.
Two other companies, Topwide Apeas and Jadeas Trust had gone to court over the facility with the case being slated for hearing on October 29, 2020.
The management of Calzada Limited, in its petition to the apex bank said it participated in a very competitive concession bid conducted by the Federal Government on ‘The Fallow Land around the National Theatre’ and emerged as the ‘Preferred Bidder.’
The Calzada said it had gone ahead after winning the bid, and began setting up structures and facilities for the project before the current government came into office and unilaterally put a wedge on its progress.
The letter dated July 17, 2020, entitled, ‘Re-Concession of the fallow land around the National Theatre in line with master plan (Nigeria Entertainment City)’ and was written by its legal representatives, Elias Mordi and Co.
The letter with subtitle, “Demand for Justice and Compliance with the bid awarded to Caldaza Limited,” reminded the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele that after the bidding, contested by seven other companies, the then Minister for Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, wrote and notified it (Caldaza) of haven emerged as the ‘Preferred Bidder’ for the project.
“Our client was shocked to learn, upon coming into force of the present government that the project has been taken off her shoulders and given to a third party company which never participated in the bidding exercise,” the petition obtained by Press on Sunday, added.
“More worrisome is the wave of news and information through print and electronic media that the federal government of Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee have concluded plans to take over and indeed taken over, the same project which was duly awarded to our client which was driven out thereof in a Gestapo matter.
“We can confirm the assertion under this head as have learnt of suit No. FHC/L/CS/2932/2019 Topwides Apeas Ltd versus National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria Board & 6 Ors pending before the Honourable Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos.
“Government is a continuum. And we, by this letter, and on behalf of our client (Calzada Ltd), call on your office and that of the Hon.
“Attorney General of the Federation which is the Chief Law Office of Nigeria to review the steps taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies in this complaint and return the issues, subject matter and premises in question to status quo when our client was awarded the concession of the fallow lands of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
“We have overtime, searched every available records and cannot find where the selection of our client was faulted by any rightful authority and more worrisome is the way and manner the whole activities are being handled by persons our client cannot identify in the project.”
It warned that it would not hesitate to activate legal proceedings against all concerned if the grievances were not resolved and on time.
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