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House to amend Lottery act for proper regulation, greater benefits

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House to amend Lottery act for proper regulation, greater benefits

House committee on Governmental Affairs has reiterated its commitment to amending the National Lottery Act, for proper regulation of gambling industry in Nigeria to tap from its revenue yielding potential and job creation
The committee which oversees the gambling industry in Nigeria said it will review the 2017 Lottery act to come up with a bill that will be more comprehensive, robust and up to date to guard the industry.
Chairman of the committee Honorable Akin Alabi said the potentials of the industry in terms of revenue and employment can be fully harnessed only when the laws guiding the business are up to date.”The meeting is about amending the National Lottery Act, which is a law that regulate the gambling industry in Nigeria. “It is an act that a lot of practitioners in the industry from the operators to the regulators feel it is inadequate, not robust enough.”They feel it is outdated, and obsolete and it is not harnessing the power and the potentials in the industry. So we are forming a technical committee to review the act to come up with a bill that will be more comprehensive, robust and up to date to guard the industry.””Everybody knows the potentials of the lottery gaming industry in Nigeria but a lot of people don’t actually know the real deal, the real number, some people are just brandishing numbers up and down. “There is potential for tax revenues for the Government and potentials for the investors to make money back, there is potential to created direct jobs, employment. He said without adequate law guiding the lottery industry there is going to be a lot of trial and error ‘but with a robust law we will be able to harness all the potentials.’
Chairman of the Nigerian Licensed Lottery Operators Forum Chima Onwuka lamented that the challenge of multiple regulations has become the bane of the lottery business in Nigeria.He said the industry is burdened with multiple taxation which has necessitated the need for a complete law.
He spoke yesterday when the House committee on Governmental Affairs inaugurated a technical committee for the review of the 2017 lottery act as ammended.”Let’s look at the taxation part of it, we pay State tax, local Government and at the Federal level we also pay tax. We also pay a percentage of our entire take which goes to the federal Coffers.He said there is the Lottery fund which is 20%, annual subscription and the one they call good causes.He said the innauguration of the technical committee is basically to review the 2017 lottery act as amended to incorporate the new realities the operators are going through and to remove some of the incessant conflict operators are having with Government regulators for proper means of regulation.”The committee has set up a technical committee to review it and make sure that everybody; both the regulator and operators interests can be protected as well as government.””For a long time the law did not represent the fact that we are a fixed odd country not a jackpot country, most of the games in this country are fixed odds that is one area we want to look at. “We also want the law to recognize the fact that every operator that goes into the market invest billions of Naira in the business and there has to be a gestation period. “There have to be a way the Government can partner through a joint account just like they have with oil companies which they call the JB fund. “It might not be money but let the Government come out openly to say a particular operator is licensed to be backed up instead of everyday, EFCC calling operators thieves.He said the law would also clear the air on the issue of who has the authority to regulate, whether it is Federal or the State. ‘For now when you pay to the Federal you also pay to the State.’On the value of lottery to Government, he challenged the Government to check with the National Bureau of Statistics to know the number of people the lottery industry is employing.”Anywhere government can create employment it is encouraged, if lottery and its accessory businesses can employ about one million people directly and indirectly that is contributing a lot to the Government. “The Government is also generating a lot of revenues, go to the website of the lottery trust fund and see how much what operators have paid to the Government in billions and check out what they have paid to Government in terms of tax to FIRS. Check out also what they have paid to State Governments.”He said, late last from the lottery fund of what they regulate Lagos State lottery fund was able to give the Lagos State security fund N1b.He said it is because Lagos State as of today has one of the best laws and environment for lottery. Onwuka however observed that the conflict of who is to regulate and who not to regulate still persists.

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Legislature

Communal Clashes: Senators Sue for Peace in Benue, Ebonyi

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Worried by the lingering communal Clashes among people of some communities in their States , Senators Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South) and Sam Egwu ( PDP Ebonyi North) , have sued for peace.

The two senators at a joint press conference on Wednesday in Abuja , said the warring communities across the two states should cease fire by allowing the National Boundary Commission to wage in as far as appropriate demarcation of territories are concerned .

The jointly signed press statenent by the Senators reads : ” As the Senators representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District and Benue South Senatorial District, we are here to brief you on recent security concerns that have substantially threatened the peace and development of the people of Ohaukwu and Ado LGAs in our Senatorial Districts.

“On Monday the 12th day of April, 2021, alleged herdsmen invaded Umuogudu Akpu Community, Ngbo, in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and gruesomely killed over 12 innocent indigenes, burnt/destroyed over 56 houses and kidnapped 5 persons.

” While we were mourning our people and trying to identify the extent of damage, we were surprisingly greeted with a statement by the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, without any form of investigation, that the attack was carried out by Agila people, and not Fulani herdsmen.

” This claim, which has the potential of heightening the tension between the two communities has long been refuted and denied by the Chairman of Ado LGA and the Government of Benue State. The people of Ado LGA who have been victims of herdsmen attacks in recent times couldn’t have hired the same people to carry out an attack on their behalf.

“There have been sustained efforts on our part to finally settle the land dispute and restore lasting peace between Ngbo people in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and the Agila people in Ado LGA of Benue State, which have lingered over the years. Motions have been raised on the floor of the Senate, resolutions passed by the Senate and efforts sustained at the State and Federal levels to ensure that lasting peace is restored between the two communities.

“We urge security operatives to move into the affected communities and secure lives and property of the people. We know that both communities have embraced the proposed rebeaconing and delimitation exercise by the National Boundary Commission.

” We therefore urge that the exercise should be carried out with dispatch to finally put to an end all the boundary-related crises in our Senatorial Districts”.

The two federal lawmakers also proffered similar solutions for the Ezza/ Effium crisis .

They said : ” On the Ezza/Effium crisis, which started in Effium community in Ebonyi state and spilled into Ado LGA in Benue State because of the presence of Ezzas/Effiumites in Ado LGA, it is regrettable that the crisis is yet to be contained, leading to the relocation of some Efium and Ezza people to neighboring communities both in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State and Ado LGA of Benue State, thereby creating apprehension in those neighboring communities.

“The alleged abduction of Five Elders from Odum Community of Ulayi District, Ado LGA before Easter Sunday has heightened the tension between the affected communities. However, the timely intervention of the government to contain the situation has prevented any form of retaliation or reprisal attack. It was resolved that the Traditional Council of Ado Local Government should reach out to the elders and traditional leaders of Ohaukwu LGA to broker more peaceful negotiations and resolution of the matter.

“We therefore call on the Governments of Benue and Ebonyi States to put in greater efforts and in collaboration with relevant Federal Government Agencies to take immediate practical steps to ensure immediate of all adopted persons and restoration of lasting peace between the affected communities.

“We urge our people in the affected communities to please apply restraint, avoid all forms of violence, maintain peaceful coexistence and rest assured that we will do everything within our power and influence to ensure the restoration of lasting peace in the affected communities” .

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Gbajabiamila wants anti-graft agencies to partner legislators in anti graft war

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By Aminci Audu

To ensure an effective fight against corruption in Nigeria organise capacity building programs for legislators
speaker of the House of  Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has urged anti-graft agencies.

Speaking at a workshop organised for House Committee on Anti-Corruption by Konrad Adeneur Stiftung Foundation on Thursday in Abuja tge speaker indicated that Nigerians are desirous of good governance, hence they are looking up to the legislature to serve as agents that would help combat poverty, corruption and other challenges in the country.

The workshop entitled, ‘The Fight Against Corruption: The Role of the Legislature’ Gbajabiamila said the House is working on plans for an anti-corruption legislation and the possibility of establishing special anti-corruption courts.
According to him, the House was also considering strengthening the fight against corruption through increased funding for anti-graft agencies and separation of powers through a constitutional amendment to separate the office of the Minister of Justice from that of the Attorney-General.
“To the anti-graft agencies here present, I wish to also encourage you to organise similar capacity building workshops or to collaborate with the committee on sensitisation programmes to curb or reduce corruption in the country.

“This will surely assist the committee to broaden its know-how on anti-corruption matters,’’ he said.
He encouraged the lawmakers to make maximum use of the opportunity to participate and to increase their knowledge.
The speaker expressed the optimism that at the end of the workshop, its aims and objectives would have been realised by helping the lawmakers to come up with legislation that would stand the test of time.
The Chairman of the Committee on Anti-corruption, Rep. Shehu Garba (APC-Kaduna) indicated that the workshop was to help the committee to effectively discharge its duties.
Garba, represented by the Deputy Chairman, Rep. Bagos Dachung (PDP-Plateau) said that the importance of capacity building in human life cannot be overemphasised.
He said that the target was to broaden the knowledge of the participants.
“We all know the dynamics of corruption; hence we need to try every available means to tackle it.
“This capacity building for lawmakers on Anti-Corruption is a crucial component of this 9th House of Representatives Legislative Agenda on Anti-Corruption.
“At the inaugural meeting of the Committee, an ad hoc committee was set up to design a work plan to assist it in the discharge of its mandate, and one of the proposals from the ad hoc committee was to collaborate and seek support from organisations of like minds in order to tackle the menace anti-corruption.

“We all know the crucial role the parliament has to play in the fight against corruption and to be able to do so, she needs not only to be well informed but also to be well-armed,’’ he said.
Prof. Suleiman Abubakar, Director-General, National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies stressed the need for a change of narrative of the legislature.
According to him, there is a need to change the narrative that the parliament aims to undermine the strength of anti-graft agencies.
“The legislature is doing so much to assist the anti-graft agencies in achieving their mandate through oversight activities and other processes of the National Assembly.
“It rests on those agencies to work well with the National Assembly by ensuring that those procedures are carried out appropriately and Legislature performs its role, especially in oversight which is key and cumbersome.
“Not only by cooperating but also canvassing for the National Assembly to get all the support it needs and requires to perform its duties,’’ he said.

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Investigate alleged human rights abuses in Taraba, Senate asks IGP

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Senate has asked Acting Inspector-General of Police (I-GP) Usman Alkali and the Police Service Commission (PSC) to investigate the alleged violation of human rights by police in Taraba.
The upper chamber also urged them to investigate the officer, the Commissioner of Police in Taraba, who allegedly authorised the unlawful arrest and detention of 14 residents in the state without bail.
These resolutions were sequel to a Point of Order raised by Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP-Taraba) at the plenary on Wednesday.
Other resolutions by the senate included the directive on the National Judicial Commission (NJC) in collaboration with their state counterpart to investigate the acting Chief Registrar of Taraba High Court, Bartholomew Kaigama, over judicial abuse.


Raising on Orders 42 and 52 of Senate’s Standing Rules, Bwacha, who is the Senate Deputy Minority Leader, raised concerns over continuous abuse of human rights and violation of Nigerian citizens with impunity by some institutions within Taraba.
“These are very visible institutions, individuals in the judiciary and of course in the police.
“The Senate is worried that Nigerians are yet to forget in a hurry the danger that involved this country by our youths, originating from the EndSARS demonstration.
“That the Taraba judiciary has been on strike to press home their demand for independence of the judiciary and, so the state judiciary has been on strike for quite some time now.
“I am concerned that 14 members of my senatorial district were on April 23, bundled out of their domain and taken to Jalingo, detained in a police cell and all entreaties to get them on bail fell on deaf ears.
According to him, the alleged offence made against them was actually a quarrel between them or an exchange of unpleasant words between them and a younger brother of the state governor.
“It is common knowledge that the Nigerian Constitution demands in a matter of this nature, the suspect shall be charged to court within 24 hours, will be released on bail and can be seen in Sections 35(4) and (5A)of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“In spite of the bail application served on the police on April 29, that was exactly one week after they had been detained, the police now hurriedly went to see a judicial officer.
“I think the Chief Registrar of the state judiciary or high court, one Bartholomew Kaigama, who issued a warrant of detention without hearing out the accused.
“From the police cell, they were taken straight to prison. This is judicial rascality of a monumental proportion and it is condemnable.
“It is unwarranted and must be investigated and whoever is found trying to drag the name of the judiciary into the mud must be punished accordingly,” he said.
Supporting the motion, Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi, said that the matter was quite unfortunate.
“Unfortunate in the sense that if this is true, it shows clearly that some people are using the privilege of their own power to oppress young people, who perhaps have said something negative.
“These issues that are presented here may require further investigation.
“If this is true, it clearly shows one of the reasons people are opposed to the idea of state police where a governor will have unfettered power to do and undo.

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