Court re­strains La­gos, Ogun, se­cu­rity agen­cies from ob­struct­ing lot­tery op­er­a­tions

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - LAW STORIES - By Joseph Onyek­were

AFEDERAL High Court, La­gos has re­strained La­gos and Ogun state gov­ern­ments from dis­rupt­ing the busi­ness of lot­tery com­pa­nies for al­legedly op­er­at­ing with­out the states’ li­cences.

Jus­tice Mo­hammed Idris held that it would be il­le­gal to shut down lot­tery busi­nesses on the ba­sis that they have not ob­tained ad­di­tional li­censes hav­ing been ear­lier li­cenced by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

He re­strained the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice, com­mis­sion­ers of Po­lice in La­gos and Ogun, the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC) and the Depart­ment of State Ser­vices (DSS) from ar­rest­ing lot­tery op­er­a­tors or seal­ing up their of­fices on that ba­sis.

The plain­tiffs, West­ern Lotto Nige­ria Ltd and Wesco Pools & Lot­tery Ltd, had prayed the court to de­ter­mine whether in view of sub­sist­ing and bind­ing judg­ments of the Fed­eral High Court, the de­fen­dants can close down their busi­nesses for not ob­tain­ing li­censes from the states de­spite hav­ing been granted na­tion­wide per­mits/li­cences by the Na­tional Lot­tery Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion.

The re­spon­dents are the La­gos and Ogun states At­tor­neys-gen­eral, the La­gos State Lot­tery Board, the Ogun State In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice, the IGP, com­mis­sion­ers of Po­lice in La­gos and Ogun, the EFCC and the DSS.

In his judg­ment, Jus­tice Idris dis­missed the de­fen­dants’ ob­jec­tions and grant- ed the two prayers in the plain­tiffs’ orig­i­nat­ing sum­mons.

He made a dec­la­ra­tion that the de­fen­dants or any com­bi­na­tion of them may not take any steps what­so­ever whether by clo­sure, ar­rests, de­ten­tions, seal­ing off, or how­so­ever de­signed, to dis­rupt, close down or oth­er­wise im­pede the lot­tery busi­ness of the plain­tiffs.

The judge held that hav­ing been granted na­tional per­mits, the de­fen­dants can­not close down such busi­nesses for rea­son that the plain­tiffs have not ob­tained ad­di­tional li­cense to op­er­ate their lot­tery busi­ness.

Jus­tice Idris granted an or­der re­strain­ing the de­fen­dants or their agents from dis­rupt­ing the plain­tiffs’ busi­ness in any man­ner hav­ing been given na­tional li­censes pur­suant to the Na­tional Lot­tery Act of 2005.e plain­tiffs, in a sup­port­ing af­fi­davit, said a tus­sle over supremacy be­tween the states and the NLRC was re­solved by two ear­lier judg­ments of the Fed­eral High Court in Abuja.

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