Lanre Gbajabiamila

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 against Nigerian Breweries PLC for violating the National Lottery Act, 2005.

Gbajabiamila, in a statement issued by Magnus Ekechukwu, Head, Public Affairs, NLRC, said it was important to note that the Commission would not be distracted in its bid to rid the country of all illegal lottery and promotional activities whether in the manufacturing, financial, telecommunication or any other 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. Oshinowo who 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,” he said.

Gbajabiamila said the Nigerian Breweries conducted promotional lotteries valued at about N1.3 billion and had failed to regularise such promo lotteries as required by law, thereby denying the Federal Government of over N326 million revenue; and continued to rebuff attempts by the Commission to get them to comply.

He said it was the commission’s duty to enforce to ensure the Federal Government was not short-changed in the transactions and that 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,” the commission said.