Director-General of the National Council for Art and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has stated that his current travails are linked to his patriotic desire to protect and defend government property, owned by the Council.
Runsewe disclosed this while addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday, barely 24-hours after a court ruling that sentenced him to prison for contempt of court.
Recall that Justice Jude Okeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Thursday sentenced Runsewe, to prison.
Justice Okeke made the order while ruling on a motion drawn from a suit filed by Ummakalif Limited against the Minister of the FCT; Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA); DG of NCAC, and the Minister for Culture and Tourism, as the first, second, third and fourth defendants respectively.
In the motion, the claimant sought an order of the court committing Runsewe to prison for contempt of court order made on December 15, 2017.
Meanwhile, the NCAC boss insisted that his current travails are linked to his refusal to relinquish the Arts and Crafts village located in the Central Business District, Abuja to ‘interested persons.’
He disclosed that the property, the Art and Craft village (Opposite Abuja Sheraton), valued at N9.8billion is the reason behind why some people wanted him hounded into jail and removed from office because he refused to dance to their tunes.
Runsewe further revealed that government property was turned into a drug den, a holiday and rented house for hooligans and criminals, a depot for illegal arms and sundry criminal activities, which turned the place to security threat not only to Abuja residents but to foreigners who engage in early hours exercises through the street in the morning and were molested by criminals from this location.
The NCAC boss said: “So I wonder why some people are bent on converting government property to a haven of inappropriate engagement, hence, the police have to close down the place.
“The Art and Craft village belong to the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, It does not belong to me but to the Nigerian people, so I would be failing in my duties as a public officer and appointee of government if I cannot protect government property to which I was mandated to oversize,” he explained.
Runsewe, therefore, noted that it is imperative to clear the air on this issue to help stem the tide of negative reactions and to reassure Nigerians that all hands must be on deck to protect the interest of any property that belongs to Nigeria and ensure that they are not misapplied or abused.
He thanked all those who have shown interest about his welfare through phone calls, messages and visits.
He added that his life is in the hand of God and that he will do his best within the ambits of the law to secure and protect Nigerian cultural assets including those outside the shores of Nigeria.