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Lagos Objects To Suit On Lottery, Gaming Regulation

Lagos State Government Thursday urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit challenging its powers to regulate lottery and gaming business.

It said the court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate on the issue as it bordered on taxation.

The state said only the Lagos State High Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate issues relating to taxation of businesses operating in the state.

Arguing a preliminary objection, state counsel Mr O. K. Akerele said Lagos reserved the right to tax lottery and gaming businesses.

“The suit as presently constituted is outside the jurisdictional issues my lord can entertain. We urge my lord to strike out the matter,” he said.

The plaintiff, Mobile Lottery Nigeria Limited, is praying the court to hold that the state lacks powers to regulate lottery operations.

Its counsel Mark Anata said only the Federal Government through the National Lottery Commission can register and regulate lottery businesses.

Anata said despite being issued an operating license by the Federal Government through the commission, officials of the Lagos State Government had been obstructing its operations through various demands on the basis of the Lagos State Lottery Law of 2004.

The plaintiff is, therefore, challenging the state’s powers to enact laws on lottery regulation, adding that such matters are covered by Item 62 (A) of the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution.

According to Anata, the court has jurisdiction to entertain the suit since it involves a federal agency.

Replying on points of law, Akerele said state High Courts were not precluded from interpreting constitutional issues.

Justice Babs Kuewumi adjourned till January 30 next year for ruling.

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