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Lottery operators cry over taxation, want Act amended

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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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Why human rights abuse is major challenge in West Africa

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ECOWAS Community Court of Justice By Angela Atabo

Justice Micah Wilkins, a former Vice President, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice says human rights abuse remains a major challenge in West African countries.

Wilkins said this at the Human Rights Fiesta organised by the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) to mark the 2018 human rights day in Abuja.

According to him, the ECOWAS Court has many mandates but the human rights mandate is the most significant.

“Other aspects of the work that we are doing are not as much as the human rights mandate because 98 per cent of the cases we get involve violation of human rights across West African states.

“So human rights is important and it can never be too much, so we should all stand up for the rights of our people because today you may be privileged but the table can turn tomorrow we can become victims.

“So we have a duty to protect each other because violation to one is violation to all,” he said.

Wilkins lamented that in many countries, human rights activists are being seen as enemies of government rather than partners in progress.

He urged governments across West Africa to embrace the human rights community and work with it because of its checks and balance role.

He advised governments to learn to listen to criticisms and make correction so that lives of the citizens could be better.

Mr Frank Tietie, Executive Director, Citizen’s Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), said the event was organised to mark the 70th anniversary of the modern human rights since the signing of the universal declaration of human rights in 1948.

Tietie said his organisation had been promoting the rights of children and women as well as press freedom to promote journalists whose rights were always trampled upon in Nigeria.

He said CASER had been campaigning to ensure that in every case where a child is involved; the Child Rights Act is applied ‘’unfortunately that has not been the case.’’

He said this had led to increase in abuses against children.

“So our campaign is that, the Child Rights Act must be given effect at every time a child is affected with regards to any action of adult, rape or any matter.

“Nigeria enacted the Violence Against Persons Act, now effort must be made to ensure that the law is applicable and enforced,’’ he said.

Tietie said whereas Nigeria has some of the best regimes of human rights laws in the world, application had remained low because there had been ignorance on the part of the citizenry.

He said ignorance had bedeviled the human rights situation in Nigeria therefore making life very nasty.

“We need to increase the consciousness that the citizens will have the proper understanding of what it takes for them to have basic human rights,’’ he said.

Ms Dorothy Njemanze, an actress and human rights activists who just won the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award said child justice is expensive in Nigeria.

Njemanze said this is because if a child is raped, it has to pay the police for opening a file which is about N2000 as well as pays for its medication.

She said the same child has to pay for the medication of the rapists, pay for the police investigation and also pay the police prosecutors for appearing in court.

“So the cost of justice for Nigerian children especially those who are sexually violated is very expensive and something needs to be done about it,’’ he said.

Njemanze stressed the need for Nigerians to know their rights so they could always engage the system because human rights is a non negotiable right of all.

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Theresa May wins confidence vote

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British Prime Minister Theresa May will retain her job at least till next year, after she won a confidence vote triggered by 48 Conservative rebel MPs.

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Zamfara attacks: Only 12 people killed by bandits – Police insist

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Police
Following the recent simultaneous attacks on five villages in Zamafara State, the state police command said only 12 people were killed contrary to reports that 22 persons lost their lives.

Recall that on December 10, 2018, unidentified armed men on motorcycles simultaneously attacked five villages namely: Malikawa, Gidan Makera, Gyaddu, Gemawa and kunkumawa villages in Gidan Goga district of Maradun local government area of Zamfara State, killing several persons.

SP Mohammed Shehu, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, in a statement said, “Normalcy is returning to Zamfara State with improved police deployment to villages prone to bandits’ attacks and other flash points in the state.”

The statement further explained that combined teams of PMF, CTU, ‘F’ SARS and conventional police personnel headed by DPO Maradun have been mobilised to the affected villages to repel the attack and assess the level of damage.

The statement added, “While profiling the level of damage, total number of 12 people were found to have been killed with 4 others injured. Normalcy has been restored in the affected villages, while rigorous patrols and stop and search are ongoing.”

It added that the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operation, DIG Habila Joshak, after being deployed to the state to restore normalcy, has been on ground taking full control of the security situation.

The command stated that, although, there was a simultaneous attack on 5 villages in Maradun Local Government Area on December 10, 2018, the number of people quoted to have been killed by the bandits were outrageous; capable of causing panic in the state.

He added, “On the spur of the moment, combined teams of PMF, CTU, ‘F’ SARS and conventional police personnel headed by DPO Maradun mobilised to the affected villages to repel the attack and assess the level of damage.

“On arrival of the police joint teams, they embarked on coordinated bush combing of the affected villages and environs with a view to prevent further attack and arrest the perpetrators.”

The command enjoined the members of the media to verify their information before publication.

“While members of the public should continue to support the police and other security agencies in their effort to rid the state of vicious crimes,” the statement added.

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