By Rasheed Sobowale
The National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) has revealed that two lotto operators, Premier Lotto (a.k.a Baba Ijebu) and KC Gaming (a.k.a Bet9ja), have remitted a total of N1 billion to the federal government.
Mr Dele Oyewale Head, Media & Publicity of the NLTF said the payments by the lotto company was arrears of debt they owed as a result of “either neglect or refusal to remit 20 per cent of their turnover to the government through NLTF as required by law”.
“Section 24(3) of the National Lottery Act 2005 states that “a licensee shall pay to the Trust Fund, established under Section 35 of this Act, within a period of not more than 90 days after the determination of the result of each lottery, an amount of 20 per cent of the proceeds of the lottery for the first 5 years of the licence, 25 per cent in the subsequent 5 years and thereafter 27.5 per cent.”
Describing the prior act of non-compliance by the lottery companies as “economic sabotage”, Oyewale said; “A breakdown of the payments showed that Premier Lotto (Baba Ijebu) remitted N833,333,494.58, while KC Gaming (Bet9ja) remitted N166,666,827.92, totalling N1billion.”
“We are pleased to report that due to the diligent execution of the on-going strategic engagement between the NLTF, NLRC and the EFCC, recovery of unremitted fees by some lottery operators has been made.
“The board and management of NLTF wish to convey our appreciation for your patriotic intervention in ensuring the immediate recovery of government’s due remittances for good causes.”
Oyewale said the Commission had received a petition from Senator George Akume of the supervising Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, dated January 20, 2020.
Senator Akume had observed that “since the inception of lottery business in Nigeria in 2007, only over N9 billion has been remitted into the federal government coffers till date,” a development he described as “totally unacceptable to the present administration.”
Oyewale said the Lottery Commission after receipt of the petition made efforts to recover the outstanding debts owed the federal government by these lotto operatives but all efforts were to no avail.
Therefore, the ministry was left with no option than to draw the attention of the EFCC to assist in that regard.