Reps to support Culture, Tourism sector for national, economy growth
• vow to reclaim NCAC land in Abuja • NCAC raises alarm over poor funding
The House of Representatives has pledged to give all necessary legislative supports for the rapid development of the nation’s Culture and Tourism sector because of its critical strategic position to the growth of the economy and national development.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama who gave the assurance in Abuja during the 2020 budget defence of the National Council for Arts and Culture, NCAC, before the Committee said that sector remained the only unifying avenue for the country and as such would not be relegated for whatever reason.
He promised that the House under the leadership of Honorable Femi Gbajabiamila would do everything possible to give high priority attention to the promotion of the sector through adequate budgetary provision in the 2020 budget proposal now undergoing defence before the Parliament.
This came just as the Committee vowed to wade into the disputed landed property of the National Council for Arts and Culture, NCAC, in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja said to have been ceded to an individual with a view to reclaiming it for the Council for its operations.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, “as a Committee, we will wade into the matter to retrieve the lanced property from that an individual for the Council, you can not acquire government land and give 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 the needs be, the leadership of the House of Representatives will take up the matter up with President Mohammodu 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 Committee also passed a 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 had lifted the image of the country in the comity of the nations.
Earlier, the DG of the Council, Otunba Runsewe had raised the alarm over the poor funding of the Agency despite its numerous responsibilities, citing the example of the meagre N100m allocated to it in the 2020 budget proposal.
According to him, “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 training 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 be counted with 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”
Otunba Runsewe also 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.