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Lottery operators cry over taxation, want Act amended



Some Nigerian lottery operators have called for amendment to the National Lottery Regulation Act, decrying multiple taxation and infiltration of the industry by unlicensed operators.

They made the call at the one-day Public Forum on the Operations of Lottery Industry in Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

Speaking at the forum, Mr Chima Onwuka, Chairman, Lottery Operators Forum, urged the Federal Government to accord due respect in view of the importance attached to it and its international recognition.

According to him, the Act that governs the lottery industry in Nigeria is defective on the issue of tax and should be amended.

Onwuka expressed regret that double taxation had caused the collapse of all Jackpot lottery companies in the country, stating that none lasted for six months.

He stressed the need for stricter regulations in terms of the participation of underage in lottery, particularly in the area of sports betting.

According to him, licensed operators incur a lot of surcharges due to cheating in the game and high number of illegal operators in the industry.

“Nobody is taxing or regulating sports betting, you find children below 18 years old participating in sports betting.

“Many people are addicted to betting in this country, you find children stepping into betting offices.

“Government’s focus should not just be on what the industry brings in but on eradicating illegal operators and regulating the system properly”, Onwuka said.

Contributing, Mr Mobolaji Johnson, Representative of People Empowerment Lottery Operator, said that double taxation was a major challenge to lottery operators.

He maintained that many operators are folding up and losing their licences due to excessive taxation on the part of the regulating body.

“In UK there is no Value Added Tax on lottery business, recently in Ghana they declared amnesty on tax and one of the key things on the amnesty is that you don’t pay ‘Withholding Tax’.

“We have quite a number of illegal lottery operators, they don’t have licences and the average licence fee per year is 15 million, these among others are very serious challenge that this industry is facing.

“We are in dilemma, government is over regulating us and looking for money that is not with us.

“If urgent measures are not taken to address the challenges in the industry, lots of people will lose their jobs and there will be a catastrophe,” he said.

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Nigeria Police law obsolete, existing since 1943 – Senator



By Sarauniya G Usman, Abuja

Sen. Bala Na’Allah, the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate on Monday said the nation was operating an obsolete Nigeria Police law, which had been in existence since 1943.

Na’Allah said this at a dialogue session with the National Assembly and Stakeholders on Police Reform and Police Bill organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja.

He said that was why he decided to sponsor the Police Reform Bill to make the police to be abreast with global best practice.

He said that the bill had passed second reading and was currently at the committee level and hopefully, public hearing would be conducted, then senate would consider the report within the next 30 days.

“The Nigeria police force is always critisised for not delivering on their responsibility; as a party that promised to leave Nigeria more secured than it met it, we decided to initiate this reform.

“We are not too comfortable with the situation where only the few get good security while the larger population is left at their own peril.

“So we decided that let us look at what happens around the world and check what is wrong with our own system.

“We discovered that the structure of the Nigerian police will never ever give it the kind of efficiency and effectiveness that it requires to be able to secure the population of Nigeria .’’

Na’Allah said that was the reason for the reforms to bring sufficient funding, and localise the operation of the police in such a manner that every community would be secured based on international best practice.

He said that the reform when passed would enhance the coverage of the police to the grassroots and enable them carry out their duties without boundaries.

“If you are travelling on the road, and you are robbed at the border between one police station and another, the police will proudly tell you that it is not under their jurisdiction.

“Yet we have one Nigerian police, so how can it be that when something is happening somebody will say it is not under our jurisdiction? That is not done anywhere in the civilised world,’’he said.

Na’Allah said that the police reform would ensure that every citizen in need of help got it and there would no more be the issue of bringing police report before treating gunshot patients.

He said that an elaborate provision was being made including constituting a police committee to receive complaints from the public and deal with it decisively.

Mr Lawal Abubakar, the Chairman House Committee on Police Affairs, said that the bill was going for public hearing, adding that it would change the narrative of the activities of the police.

Abubakar called for the input of citizens and the police to enrich the reform process and produce a bill that would stand the taste of time to face the contemporary Nigerian challenges.

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who was represented by CP Adat Ududo, CP Admin, Research and Planning Department commended National Assembly for the reform.

Idris advised that the issue of funding and manpower should be taken into consideration.

Mr Clement Nwankwo, the Executive Director, PLAC said that the event was organised to essentially to look at the bill of the reform of the police.

Nwankwo said that Nigeria was operating a 1943 law guiding the operations and the work of the police thus the reason for the review, especially in the light of new circumstances.

“Operating a Nigerian police with 1943 law is certainly unacceptable so we need to bring the legal framework guiding the creation operation and functions of the police in the modern times.

“This will be the first time that the 1943 law will be considered for a reform so certainly it is important for us to get the police law reformed.

“We hope that this is the huge opportunity everybody takes advantage of to ensure that we bring our law into conformity with modern times.’’

Nwankwo said that the law when passed, would create a well funded police that would be accountability to ensure that police respect human lives among other things.

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2019 presidency: How we’ll stop APC from rigging election – Atiku’s camp



Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar

The Atiku Campaign Organisation has said that the People Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will defeat President Muhammadu Bubari in the forthcoming general election with a wide margin to make it difficult for the ruling party to attempt rigging.

Spokesman of the campaign team, Segun Sowunmi also revealed on Monday in Abuja that the PDP campaign team will not exercise any form of fear going into the February presidential election.

Speaking at the public presentation of a book, “The man Atiku Abubakar, a square peg in a square hole; 100 reasons to vote,” Sowunmi said the insinuations in some quarters that the ruling party will rig the coming election should be dismissed.

“They say they will rig in 2019 but I tell them, it is only when we don’t beat them with a wide margin. We will beat them with a wide margin and make it impossible for them to rig in 2019.”

According to Sowunmi, Atiku will not spend one day as president wasting time, even as the PDP administration will not bring indolent with him when he emerges the next president.

He urged the Atiku support group to tak the message to the people across the country on the need to rescue the country from the hands of the current handlers.

Meanwhile, the PDP has, however, expressed willingness to sign Peace Accord between major political parties and major contenders as it is being canvassed by the European Union and other countries ahead of 2019 general elections.

Speaking on the need for the Peace Accord, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, said, “We will support peace accord between major political parties and between major contenders. The People Democratic Party is open to that because we are a party of peace. We are a democratic party, who believe in the tenets of democracy, rule of law, justice, freedom, these are what make us a democratic party.

“If there is any group or a group of Nations that are canvassing that we should allow peace to reign during the election, surely the PDP will abide by that.”

He called on INEC to allow for a free, fair and credible election.

“I want to assure because Nigerians are sick and tired of the hunger, starvation, denial that the All Progressives Congress has imposed on Nigerians we plead with INEC to allow for a free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2019.

“We also want them to take a lesson from our National Convention in Pirt Harcourt, which was adjudged as one of the best in the political history of our country. It was civil, it was clean, it was clear, it was transparent and it was generally acceptable by all the aspirants.

“So we look forward to INEC holding Nigeria elections that will generally accepted by the majority of parties and the majority of Nigerians.”

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Sex-for-mark: OAU professor lands in prison



Disgraced Professor Richard Akindele: now sacked by OAU authorities

Disgraced Professor Richard Akindele: now sacked by OAU authorities

A Federal High Court in Osun has remanded an Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Lecturer, Prof. Richard Akindele, in Ilesa prison custody, for allegedly demanding sex for mark from his student.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Maureen Onyetenu ordered the remand on Monday pending the filing of his formal bail application.

Mr Kehinde Adedoye, the Independent Corrupt Practise and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Prosecutor, had told the court that the defendant had on Sept. 16, 2017 unlawfully demanded sexual benefits for marks from Monica Osagie.

According to the prosecutor, the defendant is facing a four-count charge.

“The defendant corruptly asked for sexual benefits from Ms Monica Osagie on account of favour to be afterwards shown to her in the discharge of his official duties as a lecturer, to wit: altering her academic grades from fail to pass in the course, MBA 632 – Research Method,” he said.

The offences, he said, contravened Sections 8 (1) (A) (2) and 18 (d) of the corrupt practices and other related offenses Act 2000 and punishable under same sections.

NAN reports that the defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.

The Defense Counsel, Mr Fola Omotoso, thereafter, prayed the court to grant his client bail in the most liberal terms.

The ICPC counsel, however, opposed the bail application, noting that the defendant had refused to appear before the commission since he was granted administrative bail.

Onyetenu, therefore, ordered the defense counsel to file a formal bail application before the next date of adjournment.

The trial judge adjourned the matter till Nov. 27 for definite hearing and ordered the remand of the defendant.

NAN reports that the defendant is a lecturer in the Department of Management and Accounting of the university.

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