The National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) has secured a major judicial victory over the Nigeria Employer’s Consultative Association (NECA) and Nigerian Breweries Plc on whether Sales Promotion falls within the regulation of the Commission.
NECA and Nigerian Breweries had on November 15, 2018 instituted the case against the Commission contending that it had no power to regulate sales promotions. But their lawyers were unable to convince Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of Abuja Federal High Court, who, last Wednesday dismissed the suit.
Joined in the suit as defendants were the Attorney General of the Federation and the National Lottery Trust Fund.
In the suit, the plaintiffs sought the determination of 10 questions by the court, one of which was whether the National Lottery Act of 2005 and the National Lottery Regulation 2007 could be made in exercise of federal legislative powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
The plaintiffs wanted the court to determine whether sales promotion to consumers of manufactured goods arising from the purchase of the 2nd plaintiff’s (Nigerian Breweries) product, otherwise titled, “United we shine, win a trip to Russia,” or any such promo comes within the contemplation of the business of the National Lottery and consequently subject to the regulatory powers of the NLRC.
In his judgment, Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo said the two views formulated by the 2nd defendant (National Lottery Regulatory Commission) could conveniently resolve the dispute and accommodate all the arguments of the parties.
In the first issue, Justice Taiwo held that the National Lottery Act of 2005 was in no doubt enacted by the National Assembly by the powers vested in the National Assembly to make laws as provided by the constitution.
He ruled, “It will therefore be wrong to declare that the National Lottery Act was enacted in violation of the constitution. The National Lottery Regulation 2007 was made by the governing board of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission with the consent of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as provided in Section 55(1) of the National Lottery Act and as such, if these laws were made in violation of the constitution, they would not have seen the light of day. To this end, I distill from the issues on this point in favour of the defendants.”
On the second issue, the judge averred that the processes filed by the plaintiffs in the suit revealed that sales promotion carried out by them had all the essential elements of a lottery scheme or arrangement and that the argument of the plaintiff that it did not sell tickets to participants was of no merit because the right to participate in the promo was limited to the customers who participated in the business of the 2nd plaintiff within a specified period of time.
He ruled, “Consequently, I hold that I resolve this suit against the plaintiffs (NECA and Nigerian Breweries) and refuse all reliefs sought by the plaintiffs. Consequently, I hereby dismiss the suit of the plaintiffs in its entirety. I make no order as to cost.”