The House of Representatives Committee on Inter Governmental Affairs has begun investigation into the crisis rocking the lottery industry with a view to block leakages and increase government revenue.
The ActingChairman of the committee, Rep. Mansir Manshi (APC-Kaduna) at hearing on Tuesday in Abuja said that the committee would do everything within the constitutional powers to address the challenges.
Manshi said that the house resolved on March 18, mandating the committee to intervene in rift on the “Ghana Games” between the operators of the Premier Lotto and Western Lotto and report back.
“It is the hope of the committee that a workable solution will be reached to attain the optimal potentials of the industry.
“We also have in mind the huge amount the industry is loosing and the lost revenue due to government as a result of this crisis,” he said.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Western Lotto, Mr Usman Tajudeen, said that the rift was between what is bad and what is good.
According to him, it is between international best practices and business as usual.
He said that Western Lotto had acquired franchise from authentic authorities in Ghana over the “Ghan Games” and there are verifiable documents.
He explained that the franchise meant that Western Lotto is now the owner of “Ghana Games” and that other interested operators in the sector must consult Western Lotto to play.
Tajudeen said that Western Lotto was not out to stop other operators in the industry but to ensure transparency.
However, the Chairman, Licensed Lottery Operators Forum, Mr Chima Onwuka, said Western Lotto had not proved that it had a franchise for the Ghana Games.
He said that there is no trademark agreement between Western Lotto and the National Lottery Authority of Ghana, saying that Western Lotto had been dealing with agents.
According to him, Western Lotto is trying to be an operator and a regulator of the industry at the same time.
He said that the matter was already in court and that Western Lotto is claiming N500 billion against other operators over their involvement in the ‘Ghana Games.’
Onwuka said that the Western Lotto had drawn up terms of agreement with the National Lottery Regulation Commission (NLRC) of Nigeria without consulting the Licensed Lottery Operators Forum.
He said that here was no need to rush into any form of unbalanced settlement, saying that the court should hear the case to a logical conclusion.
According to him, any hasty unbalanced agreement will only lead to the detriment of the industry.
The Director General, NLRC, Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, told the committee that the commission “is faced with many challenges”.
He said that there is no central monitoring system to check the activities of the operators in the industry.
Gbajabimila said that the commission was working closely with other sister agencies to address the challenges.
He urged the committee to amend the NLRC Act of 2005 to meet the current demands of the industry.
According to him, it is difficult to maximise the potential of the industry with the act as it currently stands.
The committee then adjourned hearing to June 23.(NAN)