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General News of Monday, 16 October 2023


Investigate FESTAC ’77 missing artefacts, group tasks Minister


The Concerned Stakeholders of the National Theatre has urged the Minister for Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hajia Hanatu Musawa to investigate the circumstances under which the FESTAC ’77 artefacts were missing in the collections of the National Theatre.

According to the group, being one of the host venues for the Arts and Culture festival in 1977, National Theatre served as storage for the historic collections and artefacts.

It however alleged that many of the artefacts have been discovered to be missing since the beginning of the rehabilitation works at the parastatal.

Nigeria’s real problem emanating from FESTAC ’77- Cleric
The group therefore tasked Minister Musawa to beam her searchlight on the National Museum and the Technical Director in whose custody the artefacts are kept at the National Theatre in order to establish how and where the artefacts are.

In a similar development, the group, in series of petitions written to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Department of State Security Services (DSS), also alleged the General Manager of the parastatal, Professor Sunday Enesi Ododo, the Technical Director, Abiodun Abe and a junior ranking officer, Ephesian Nodza of misappropriation of the funds of the parastatal.

In the petition dated 21st of June 2022 and signed by Hon. Lekan Ayinde, the group alleged that Professor Ododo conceded the sales of valuable assets of the parastatal including a 200kva generator, 1500 metres steel pipes of 8inch thickness and looting of the central workshop to the tune of N750 Million.

The petition read that “The artefacts used during the FESTAC’ 77 festival held in Lagos in 1977 were stolen from the store under the watch of the Technical Director, Mr Abiodun Abe. Mr Abe has evidence of all the remaining artefacts hence, these missing items can be verified from his records.

“It was observed that advances amounting to N44 Million were granted to different members of Staff of the parastatal for the execution of various services and purchases but were not retired.

“Audit review of procurement documents, payment vouchers and other records of the Agency show that contracts amounting over N27 million was awarded to various contractors without evidence to show that due process were followed in the award of the contracts.

“This, the document declared violates the BPP Act and Financial Regulation./We, the Concerned Stakeholders, therefore recommend the removal and investigation of the General Manager of National Theatre, Prof Ododo to pave the way for proper investigation.”

Reacting, Prof Sunday Ododo described all the allegations as fallacy, insisting that he never committed fraud since he became the General Manager of the National Theatre.