FAVOUR SHUAIB, Abuja
The Director General National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has said that Over 300 people sleep in the council without adequate facilities.
Otunba Runsewe, who said this in a media chart with Journalist in Abuja, ahead of the Abuja Craft EXPO, .explained that the people were using the place for a dual purpose- they sell in the morning and sleep at night.
He added that they converted three toilets into bathrooms.
“Where in the world do you have over 20 people living in a particular place, and there is no toilet?”, he asked.
Debunking a claim, he said: “There is no crisis in the place. We are just trying to move Nigeria forward, in line with the change mantra of the government, so what is on ground is the change process. We have been having DGs who perhaps were shying away from their responsibilities. Of course, I’m not one of such. That’s why I took the bull by the horn and said all these must stop”.
Olusegun further said: ‘Here people are selling food everywhere. Most people who patronize the place are foreigners, and these leave this country with a lasting impression, which is not good for all of us. The attitude of this government is to help the ordinary Nigerian, saying SDS and NCAC are government organs”.
Reacting to a question, the DG said: “This man makes 15 million naira every year, and that is why he is making a case out of it. Each of the huts is officially rented at N46, 000, but they were actually given out for as high as N500, 000”.
He said for the three years the matter had been in the court, the private operator had been receiving the rent on the property, but the rent is supposed to be in the custody of the court.
“We realized that the highest numbers of drug peddlers reside here; also robbers were caught with guns in the booth of a car parked here; stolen cars are parked, and prostitution and other nefarious activities go on here.
“And with help of policemen deployed by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the area, they were able to clear hoodlums from the place within three days. So we have been able to sanitise the place”.
“At nights, a minimum of 120 cars are parked in the place, and almost about 60 0f them have no owners. So if criminals steal somebody’s car in Wuse, it will be brought here”, he lamented.
Otumba Runsewe stated that no DG was courageous enough to attack these nefarious activities happening here hitherto my coming in office. Nigeria must not be seen as a disorganize country, that’s why we are putting the place in order.
He urged the company ( Umar Kahlif) to leave the land, and go to SDS to address its concern , since he claimed that his company has approval from SDS
Giving his own side of the story, MD Umar Kahliff, said the case was in court and the court had asked all parties to maintain status quo as of July 6, 2017.
“And it means that we should continue running the place as it is until when the case will be determined by the court.We are collecting rent because the company had spent money to build the place, can’t we get back the money we have invested in the place?
“It is a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) project, so we got our resources to build the place. Nobody has invested in developing this place except our company. So, you cannot take from what you haven’t had or partake in developing”, he argued.
On the way forward, he said: “ Let the court be allowed to work, let the police be the real protectors of the low trodden in the society, because if they were here, they would have protected us against the NCAC, but unfortunately they didn’t.
On the allegation of over 300 occupants living in the place, he said: “We have never had such case of people sleeping here because there is no way seven people are sharing a shop and they would be able to sleep there. Those that sleep are on the side of NCAC premises. And the issue of parking stolen cars, they are part of the things that happen in the section being managed by the NCAC. They are the ones having this problem”.
For a better society