The House of Representatives has vowed to reclaim the land belonging to the National Council for Arts and Culture within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that has been ceded to an unnamed individual.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama (PDP-Edo) who spoke during budget defence by the Council however said House will give every legislative support for the rapid development of the nation’s Culture and Tourism sector.
The lawmaker said the Culture and Tourism sector occupy a critical and strategic position to the growth of the economy and national development, adding that sector remained the only unifying avenue for the country and as such would not be relegated for whatever reason.
He stressed that under the leadership of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the House would do everything possible to give priority attention to the promotion of the sector through adequate budgetary provision.
He said “as a Committee, we will wade into the matter to retrieve the landed property from that individual for the Council. You cannot acquire government land and give it to an individual. Rather, you can only acquire an individual’s landed property for government use.
“We will allow the judiciary to do its own job. Right away, the Committee will pay an on the spot assessment to the site for members to see things for ourselves.
“If needs be, the leadership of the House of Representatives will take up the matter with President Muhammadu Buhari who is fighting corruption from all directions today and we must all be ready to support him for the benefit of all and sundry. This is corruption of the highest order, to take government land and give it to an individual”.
The lawmakers passed vote of confidence on the Director General of the Council, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe for his passion in the promotion of Arts and culture in the country which they said has lifted the image of the country in the comity of the nations.
Defending the council’s budget estimate for 2020, Director General of the Council, Otunba Runsewe raised alarm over poor funding of the Agency despite its numerous responsibilities, citing the meager N100m allocated to it in the 2020 budget proposal as an example.
Runsewe said; “our financial situation is so pathetic, what can the N100m do for us, from it, we will host the National Festival of Arts and Culture, NAFEST, this festival started in 1973 immediately after the Civil war, it has been a unifying avenue for Nigerians from different ethnic groups and religious backgrounds to come together to showcase their different cultures, “We just finished this year’s edition in Benin City, Edo State and participants from 30 States of the federation and the FCT, Abuja were in attendance, this helps to promote peaceful coexistence in the country.
“Even at the Edo festival, over 300 unemployed youths acquired various free vocational trainings and obtained necessary certificates in their fields, this is the only way we can keep the youths busy from drugs addiction and other social vices ravaging our society.
“We also have the annual Abuja carnival to counted with from this allocation, it involves all the States of the federation converging in Abuja for the one week cultural display, we are coming to a point that it will no longer be possible to host the two events due to inadequate funding, we may have to pick one of out of the two.”
He pleaded with the Committee to assist the Council to retrieve its banded property ceded to an individual despite the Council having all the necessary documents and a huge amount of foreign donation to develop the land.


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