By Kemi Yesufu
Director-General of the National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe on Friday in Abuja said he will appeal a ruling sentencing him to prison over contempt of court.
Justice Jude Okeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had sentenced Runsewe, to prison on Thursday.
Justice Okeke made the order on while ruling on a motion drawn from a suit filed by Ummakalif Limited against the Minister of the FCT; Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA); D-G of NCAC, and the Minister for Culture and Tourism, as the first, second, third and fourth defendants respectively.
The motion of the claimant sought for an order of court committing Runsewe to prison for contempt of court order made on December 15, 2017.
But Runsewe explained at a media briefing on Thursday, that he was being targeted by powerful forces for shutting the Art and Craft village, to rebuild and recover it for NCAC. He reminded the public of the fact that the policemen found ammunition at the place visited by local and international tourists, during a raid several months back.
He announced that the police has finally given his agency permission to reopen the culture centre, adding that only genuine organizations or individuals will be allocated stalls to run their business. He insisted that the days when big firms encroach the land or highly placed individuals renting out stalls at the centre at high prices was over.
He said the land on which the centre is built was recently valued at N9.8 billion, hence the interest of some powerful individuals to take over the place.
“It is important to tell Nigerians that, what I am fighting for is what others shied away from doing. I am fighting to retain land that belongs to Nigeria and Nigerians”, he said.