In a bid to discharge its mandate as empowered by the National Lottery Act, 2005 (as amended) and the National Lottery Regulation, 2007, the Director General National Lottery Regulatory Commission(NLRC) Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila has said that the Commission would continue the clamp down on all illegal lottery operators anywhere they be found within the shores of Nigeria.
This assertion comes on the heel of the unwarranted attack on the person of the Director General National Lottery Regulatory Commission, by the Director General, Nigeria Employees Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo,following recent enforcement exercise againstNigerian Breweries PLC for violating the National Lottery Act, 2005.
It is important to note that the Commission will notbe distracted in its bid to rid the country of all illegal lottery and promotional activities whether in the manufacturing, financial, telecommunication or anyother sector.
The action of the Commission in closing down illegal lottery operations should not be misconstrued,because lottery activities are governed by law; and anybody or organisation that violates that law would be made to face the consequences of such violations.
The NLRC will not join issues with Mr. Oshinowowho prefers to hide under the guise of NECA to unleash economic sabotage on the Federal Government, instead of encouraging its members to comply with the law.
The interest of the Lottery Commission is to ensure that organisations who wish to carry out lottery operations comply with the provisions of the Lottery Act and not carry out such lotteries without due regards to the law.
Nigerian Breweries conducted promotional lotteries valued at about1.3 billion Naira and had failed to regularise such promo lotteries as required by law,thereby denying the Federal Government of over 326million Naira revenue; and continue to rebuff attempts by the Commission to get them to comply. It is our duty to enforce to ensure the Federal Government is not short-changed in the transactions. The commission acted within its mandate.
On the claim by NECA, it is public record that there is no pending action against the Commission. The case filed in 2012 –Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/306/2012 was dismissed by the court. Therefore, the claims by NECA DG that NLRC showed disregard to the rule of law in the discharge of its lawful duty, is not only mischievous, but an attempt to deliberately distort the facts in order to deceive the general public.
Following the action of the Commission, Nigerian Breweries is in dialogue with the Commission to rectify the breaches that led to its closure. It made a written undertaken on its willingness to cooperate with the Commission. Their offices have been temporarily reopened for operation pending the outcome of discussions with the management.
It is hereby reiterated that the interest of the Commission is not in disrupting business, but to ensure organisations do not unduly take advantage of the general public by offering consumer sales promotions without proper supervision and compliance with extant law.
Head, Public Affairs.