An FCT High Court in Maitama has convicted and sentenced the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, to jail for contempt of court.
Justice Jude Okeke, who gave the order on Thursday, said it would serve as deterrent to others who abuse office and disobey court orders with disdain, describing the act of the NCAC DG as highly contemptuous.
The judge ordered that Runsewe should be kept in the facility of the Nigerian Correctional Service in Kuje “until he purges himself contempt.”
The judge further ordered that the Inspector General of Police should give effect to the order committing Runsewe to custody. The judge gave the order in a motion from a suit filed by Ummakalif Ltd against the DG NCAC, the FCT Minister, the Federal Capital Development Authority, and the Minister for Culture and Tourism, over the sealing of the Arts and Crafts village in Abuja.
The motion dated the 21st day of June, 2019, was brought pursuant to Order 47 rule 10 subrules 1, 2 and 3 of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Civil Procedure Rules 2018. The motion of the claimant sought for an order of court committing Runsewe to prison for contempt of the order of court made on the 15th December, 2017, which had insisted that status quo be maintained.
It will be recalled that the former judge hearing the case, Justice Salisu Umar, on March 6, 2018 berated the council stating that the council’s action in sealing up the village has shown that it has “no respect for the rule of law” by going against the injunction that status quo be maintained.
Justice Umar was elevated to the appeal court in 2018, and Justice Okeke was later assigned to the case.