The Casino Shell

On a recent drive down Herbert Macaulay Road in Yaba, I saw this:

Casino Cinema Shell

Casino Cinema is now a literal shell of itself.

For real, guys.

Perhaps I haven’t visited Yaba often enough recently, or I just never noticed; but I was genuinely taken aback. My darling Casinoooo. What are they doing to it? New owners? Or they’re planning to take it down? Who is ‘they’ sef? This cannot be its fate!

Casino Cinema would definitely make my list of the iconic buildings in Lagos; top 10 status in fact. The monumental structure sitting sedately on prime corner-piece land and boasting Ionic and Corinthian orders has had more than three decades of influence on the Lagos cultural scene, I’ve known this building all my life. Literally. The church I was born into used to meet here. I have fond memories of a padded interior and a really gravelly parking lot. I’m not exactly sure why the parking lot is so vivid in my head, but it is. 😀

Well, it would seem this building has many lives, it was bombed during the civil war (watch a personal account of the story from 6:37 here) and survived. So, I’m trusting it will survive this unapologetic gutting. Casino should definitely be some sort of listed building. To be fair, it does seem like ‘they’re’ preserving the skeletal structure, and the aluminium fence suggests that it’s renovation work going on and not that-which-must-not-be-named.

Casino in its glory days:

Image sourced from here

Hopefully, we get many more years of Casino…

Èkó ò ní bàjé!

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