Reports have started to come in from Nigeria that the local regulators are failing to cooperate with each other and are infringing on each others’ legal territory.
In more detail, The Association of State Gaming Regulations in Nigeria (ASGRN) has accused the National Lottery Regulatory Commission that it has crossed the legal line and allowed itself to take legal actions against entities directly below the jurisdiction of the ASGRN.
The most important argument is that the NLRC has taken the liberty to close down various gambling venues in several Nigerian states without consulting with their colleagues in the ASGRN.
Harrison Ogara and Felix Fagbohun, both holding high authoritative positions in their relative state gambling regulation agencies took it to the media in order to represent their colleagues against the actions of NLRC’s actions. In their words, the agents sent out by NLRC against state companies is a clear act of going against the constitution.
Felix Fagbohun who is a representative of the Ogun State Revenue Service mentioned that there are regulators in the country, such as the ASGRN that has experience of governing the local gambling market with legal frameworks as far back as 1981, while the NLRC has been active on the market since 2005 only.
Mr Fagbohun mentioned that the NLRC’s actions against state-based gambling entities would only be justified if they had amended the constitution beforehand. Since they didn’t do so, it puts them outside of the legal framework for governing these entities, only the state-based regulators have the right to make changes such as shutdowns or restrictions.
Not the first case of infringement
Mr.Ogara, the chairman of the Enugu state’s Gambling/Lotto commission has commented on the situation as well, mentioning just how surprising it was to see the NLRC go beyond their legal rights like this.
The chairman mentioned that before such activities were undertaken by the NLRC, they had reached out to state regulators and proposed a joint cooperation tactic to increase the regulatory threshold on gambling operators.
This was naturally well received by the state-based authorities even if they were to lose some income based off of VAT payments and otherwise.
Ogara emphasized just how important it is to go about constitution rules. Nigeria is a federation and therefore does not completely fall under centralized law. Every state has its own jurisdiction which it has to follow.
The state regulators are now urging the NLRC to seize its activities in their jurisdictions by bringing up legal action against them. Naturally, there have not been any court disputes yet, but if the NLRC were to continue these events, a lawsuit is extremely likely.
Naturally, Mr Ogara emphasized that the lawsuit is not in the interest of neither the ASGRN nor the NLRC, therefore he hopes that the organization understands the fragility of the legal state of affairs.
One thing that the regulators did agree upon was the damaging news circling the internet nowadays. The news was regarding a proposed inclusion of a value-added tax on gambling operations from the Federal Inland Revenue Services. All regulators unilaterally agreed that introducing the tax would do nothing but damage the economy.
Regardless of the constitution, it’s always nice to see different authorities cooperate on at least something.