Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Jude Okeke of an Abuja High Court thursday ordered the remand in Kuje Correctional Centre of the Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, for contempt of court.
The judge in a ruling ordered the Inspector-General of Police to arrest him and hand him over to the Nigerian Correctional Service in Kuje, Abuja, “until he purges himself contempt”.
The order was sequel to a motion from a suit filed by Ummakalif Limited against Runsewe and three others over the sealing of the Arts and Crafts village in Abuja.
The others are the Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT)), the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and the Minister for Culture and Tourism.
The motion dated June 21, 2019, was brought pursuant to Order 47 Rule 10 Sub-rules 1, 2 and 3 of the High Court of the FCT Civil Procedure Rules 2018.
The applicant in the motion prayed the court for an order committing Runsewe to prison for contempt of the order of court made on the December 15, 2017, which had ordered parties to maintain status quo, pending the hearing and determination of the main suit.
Justice Okeke in his ruling granted the prayers of the applicant and subsequently ordered that Runsewe should be kept in the facility of the Nigerian Correctional Service in Kuje.
In addition, the court ordered that the Inspector General of Police should give effect to the order committing Runsewe to custody.
The judge, who frowned at the conduct of the NCAC DG, said the remand would serve as deterrent to others who abuse office and disobey court orders with disdain, stressing that the action of the DG was highly contemptuous.
Justice Salisu Umar who was handling the case before his elevation to the Court of Appeal, had on March 6, 2018, descended on the NCAC for sealing up the village in violation of the earlier order of the court.
The former judge 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.
However, following the elevation of Justice Umar to the bench of the Court of Appeal in 2018, the case was subsequently transferred to Justice Okeke’s court.