Court restrains Lagos, Ogun, security agencies from obstructing lottery operations
A Federal 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 granted 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.Justice Idris held that the two judgments were still subsisting.