Demolition: National theatre artists engage lawyers over non-payment of N20m compensation by FG

National Council for Arts and Culture Artiste Village National Theatre demolition

Owners of structures and works destroyed during a demolition exercise at the National Council for Arts and Culture Artiste’ Village located in the National Theatre, Lagos have engaged the law firm of Momson, Solanke & Co Solicitors over the failure of the Federal Government to pay a compensation of N20million.

This is contained in a statement signed by Kingsley Agubom, Deputy Coordinator, Artists’ Village Network, NCAC Artists’ Village, made available to on Tuesday morning.

It comes two years to the date when the demolition was carried out under the supervision of then General Manager of the National Theatre, Kabiru Yusuf Yar Adua.

The statement accuses Yar Adua of invading “the National Council for Arts  and Culture Artiste’ Village which houses arts studios, workshops, dance studios and some service contractors  with a caterpillar from CCECC and two truckloads of armed policemen.”

A visual artist, Smart Ovwie, was reportedly shot in the leg by policemen in what the artists term “a clear manifestation of the misrule that Nigerians have been subjected to in recent years”.

Two years after, Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who promised that the injured will get support for their treatment in hospital and that those who are legitimate residents will be duly compensated for damage done to their structures, has failed to deliver on his promises.

The artists’ statement comes with an attached latter by Mohammed dated April 13, 2016 in which he promised the sum of N20million as financial support to legal occupants who suffered loss as a result of the demolition.

“He also made further promises relating to infrastructure and capacity building,” the artists said.

Disappointed, the affected artists declared they “find the situation appalling and feel it should be unacceptable to right thinking Nigerians.”

The statement concludes that: “It is important to inform at this point that the executive committee of the NCAC Artists’ Village Network, after due consideration and deliberation and after fruitless efforts to get the minister to keep to his word, has engaged the services of the law firm of Momson, Solanke & Co Solicitors to represent the community in the matter.

“We are resolute in our commitment to the protection of the rights of our members who have been working in the rain and sun for two years now due to the insensitivity of a Government that has failed to recognize their invaluable contribution to the development of national culture.”