The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, has sentenced the Director General of National Council for Arts and Crafts (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, for contempt of court order.
Justice Jude Okeke made the order while ruling on a motion in a suit filed by Ummakalif Limited against the Minister of the FCT; Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA); Director General of NCAC, and 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 that was made on December 15, 2017.
The judge, who described Runsewe’s action as highly contemptuous, said committing him to the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS)’s custody would serve as a deterrent to others who abuse public office and disobey court orders with disdain.
In the ruling, “The court holds that the party cited (Runsewe) failed to establish what he asserted that the thatched roof of the applicant was removed and replaced in error by his agent, the contractor.
“This means the party cited was in fragrant violation of court order of December 15, 2017, after Form 48, now Form 99, was served on him, reminding him of the need to obey the court order. The reasons the court holds offenders for contempt was the need to improve the rule of law rather than parties taking resort to self-help. The act is not only insidious but also an attempt to denigrate this court and besmirching its mobility, aura and responsibility. It is mark of abuse of office and arrogance and utter disrespect for the law and the institution of the court.”
Justice Okeke therefore directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest Runsewe with immediate effect and hand him over to the NCS pending when he retraces his steps.
The court had ordered parties in the suit to stay proceedings on every activity concerning the demolition of the Arts and Craft village located in the Central Business District (CBD) of the FCT.
But the respondents in the suit, particularly the NCAC, was reported to have flouted that restraining Court order – With agency reports