House C’ttee Orders Suspension of Lottery Activities with Telcos


By James Emejo in Abuja

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the activities of telcoms operators and vendors has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) to end all existing lottery contracts between GSM companies and lottery operators.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Ahmed Abu (Niger, APC), said the existing lottery contracts which has now gone awry were carried out in breach of the National Lottery Act and constituted illegality.

Speaking at a meeting with the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the acting Managing Director, NLRC, Mr.  Adamu Muhammed Sifawa and Director, Operations, National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF),  Mr.  Bello Maigari, over a controversial sharing formula for lottery proceeds among the stakeholders, the committee chairman also advised the parties to seek amicable solution to the issue or have it resolved at a public hearing.
The bone of contention was that the National Lottery Act had already stipulated how revenues realised from lottery should be shared among stakeholders.

It stipulates that 50 percent should go to the winner at any particular point in time while 30 percent should go to the operator as well as 20 percent to the regulatory commission.
But further realising the potential of mobile telecommunications in recent times, particularly handheld devices to further expand the scope of their operations,  lottery operators reportedly entered into a contract with GSM companies to leverage on their infrastructure to deliver lottery products to consumers.
But the sharing formula for revenues generated had since been a bone of contention between the parties.
It was gathered that the telcos charged 70 percent of the total share, leaving lottery operators and the commission with 30 percent to share.
The lottery operators argued that the percentage charged by the telcos was unilaterally decided without their involvement.

Although, there’s an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the NLRC and the NCC, it doesn’t however, cover the agreement between lottery operators and the NCC.
Nevertheless, Abu ruled that the parties should end the existing contract immediately stressing that they had been operating illegally.
He said their operations are also shortchanging government while the telcos feed fat at the expense of Nigerians.

There was yet another contention between the NLTF and the NLRC over the channeling of revenues meant for the Trust Fund according to the establishment Acts.