BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Director General of the National Council For Art and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, on Friday opened up on his detractors, accusing them of coming after him because he was opposed to their seizure and turning the Art and Craft Village valued at N9.8 billion into a den of robbers and illicit drug sale.
Reacting to a directive by Justice Jude Okeke of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory that he should be sent to prison for alleged contempt and disobedience to an order made by the Court on December 15, 2017, Runsewe described the ACV as a “rented house for hooligans, robbers, criminals and depot for illegal arms”, the NCAC DG said the ACV and surrounding areas had become “security threat not only to Abuja residents, but also to foreigners who engage in early hours exercises.”
According to him, “The Art and Craft village (Opposite Abuja Sheraton Hotels) valued at N9.8 billion is the reason behind why some people wanted me hounded into jail and removed from office because I refused to dance to their tunes”.
He thanked Nigerians who have shown interest about his welfare through phone calls, messages and visits. Runsewe stressed that his life is in the hand of God.
“I will do my best within the ambit of the law to secure and protect Nigerian cultural assets including those outside the shores of Nigeria”, he stated.
Linking his current travail to the workings of some persons determined to take over the ACV despite his resolve to protect and defend the property of the Federal Government owned by the NCAC, he recalled that “The Art and Craft village was turned into a drug den, a hold bay and rented house for hooligans and criminals. The area had been turned to a depot for illegal arms and sundry criminal activities.
“It is a security threat not only to Abuja residents, but also to foreigners who engage in early hours exercises through the street in the morning. They were molested by criminals from this location.
“So, I wonder why some people are bent on converting government property to a haven of inappropriate engagement. Hence, the police has to close down the place.
“The Art and Craft Village belongs 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 oversee. If the area opens for business, it will provide over 300 jobs to Nigerians and reduce crime rate.”