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Gaming rights: CSO, lotto operators protest, demand justice for 22 companies

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A Civil Society Organisation on the platform of Conduct and Due Process Group (CDPG) in collaboration with some retail Lottery Operators have staged a protest at the premises of Federal High Court 7, in Ikoyi to demand justice for 22 lotto companies being sued by Western Lotto Nigeria Limited over their alleged infringement of proprietary gaming rights.

The protesters which on MondayJuly 20th began the protest and continued on Tuesday July 21st, over what they described as bias in the handling of a lawsuit filed by Western Lotto Limited, said they will not relent until justice is served.

Chanting solidarity songs, including “We no go gree oh, we want justice, we no go gree”, they marched around the court’s premises demanding justice on behalf of the 3rd to 25th defendants in the suit.

In the case being handled by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, Western Lotto Limited sued 23 rival lottery firms over alleged infringement on its licence on “Ghana games.”

In a Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Section 6(6) of the 1999 Constitution, the 3rd defendant, Premier Lotto Ltd, is specifically seeking three reliefs, including “An order asking the court to decline jurisdiction to entertain, adopt or otherwise give effect to the Terms of Settlement executed between the Plaintiff, Western Lotto Ltd and the 1st Defendant, National Lottery Regulatory Commission.”

One of the defendants is Premier Lotto Limited, popularly known as Baba Ijebu Gaming Limited, which belongs to Chief Keshington Adebutu.

Western Lotto Limited belongs to businessman and politician, Senator Buruji Kashamu.

In Dec. 2019, Justice Aneke had granted an order authorising Western Lotto to enter into and search the offices of the defendants for evidence of the alleged infringement on its licence.

But in a statement made available to newsmen by the protesters’ spokesperson, Adeniran Raymond, said Conduct and Due Process Group in alliance with retail lotto operators will continue to occupy Federal High Court 7, Ikoyi until justice is served.

“Upon realizing that there was an impending conflict of interest which could lead to the impediment of justice we quickly wadded in and occupied the court to air our fears and demand for justice. The case was slated to be heard in court on the 20th of July, 2020 by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, however, the protest lead to the adjournment of the case until Tuesday 21st of July, 2020 at 11:30.

We are unrelenting and we have strong believe that Justice Aneke will ensure that justice is served. If allowed Western Lotto would suffocate and oppress lotto companies. This would affect even the retail lottery operator who are already struggling to survive.

“It is unfair business practice to allow a company stifle the competition until there is none. That is tantamount to anti-competitive practice and it will not be tolerated.

“For those who do not understand, what the Kashamu owned Western Lotto is trying to do is equal to blocking all mobile telephone service providers from offering 4G services to its customers.

“It is an unfair business practice for competing companies and the impact and consequences would be unprecedented. For this reason, we shall be staging a second part of our peaceful protest at the Federal High Court 7, being presided on by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke and we shall demand for justice,” Raymond stated.

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Business

Port Harcourt Refinery to Resume Operations in December, Tinubu Assures Labour Leaders

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*We”Ll Take Decision On Suspension Of Strike At NEC Meeting Today-Ajaero

President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday night, assured the leaders of the organised labour that the Port Harcourt refinery will commence operations by December 2023.

The organised labour revealed this in a statement on Wednesday night.

The labour centers also noted that the president made a series of promises following which they agreed to return to the negotiations table.

The national presidents of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero and Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo in the statement also hailed Nigerians for supporting the nationwide protest.

Tinubu with labour leaders


“It is pertinent to inform Nigerians that the extent of the success of the protest is underlined by the request of the President of the federal republic of Nigeria; Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu to meet with the leadership of the NLC and TUC in a closed-door session.

“The engagement was fruitful that immense mileage was obtained with regards to the issues that bogged down the work of the Presidential Committee on Subsidy removal and necessitated the protest viz; He committed to an immediate restructuring of the framework for engagement in line with the input of the Labour leaders.

“He let out a certainty that the Port Harcourt Refinery will commence production by December this year. He pledged to ensure that Agreement is reached on the Wage Award for Nigerian workers immediately.

“He promised to unveil a workable roadmap to the CNG alternative next week. On the strength of the president’s pledge and commitment, we have decided to return to a new and reinvigorated dialogue process to allow for full implementation.

“Once again, we thank Nigerians while we wait for the Government to fulfill its own part of the understanding as agreed with His Excellency; the President.”

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the brief meeting with the President, the President of the NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said they deepened their discussions with the President on palliatives for workers.

He disclosed that the President explained certain things hitherto not in his nationwide broadcast to them at the meeting.

On whether the President urged them to call off the strike, Ajaero said no one person could do that disclosing however that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NLC would meet today (Thursday) to decide on the next line.of action.

He said, “We met with him (President Tinubu). The issues we discussed are the same issues that led to the protest today.

“He has expressed his position, made some commitments, which were taken side-by-side with what the Senate said, and we’re taking it back to the office with our colleagues to review it and release a document on our next line of action.”

Asked whether the commitments were different from the one he did during the broadcast, Ajaero, flanked by the TUC President, Comrade Festus Osifo said, “We have gone deeper into them. The broadcast has broader issues, but there are one or two things that need immediate attention.”

Further asked whether the organised labour will call off the peaceful protest, he said, “No one person can call it off. That’s why I said we’ll have to go back to the office. So that they will look at it, the Exco looks at it before they come up. And by tomorrow, the NLC will equally have their NEC meeting, to look at the bigger picture.”

Asked whether the President told them to suspend the protest, he simply said, “The President is a pro-democracy activist. So he understands protests.”

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Aviation Ministry, MOFI Agree on Collaboration for National Asset Register

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Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika has said a collaboration between the Aviation Ministry and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) was paramount in the Civil Aviation part of the Nigerian economy.

Sirika made this statement during a courtesy call to the Ministry by the MOFI management for collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the organisation on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Minister expressed his excitement that there was a structure for MOFI, and it has fallen into the right hand to get the mandate of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria delivered and effected appropriately.

A statement by Nawani Abdullahad, an
Assistant Director (Press) in the Ministry, said the Minister recalled that during the Nation’s Transition Committee period, there was an extensive discussion as to what contribution the aviation sector could make, and it was considered to add up to 5% to the GDP of Nigeria.

The Minister added that a road map was created for the Civil Aviation industry to create a robust sector that would be financially healthy and which would also make aviation the most preferred means of transportation.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, the CEO of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), Dr. Armstrong Takang congratulated the Minister on his recent appointment as a member of the MOFI Governing Council.

He said the appointment demonstrated Mr President’s trust in him given his vast experience in driving governance to achieve desirous outcomes, which would be valuable for MOFI in delivering significant value to its key stakeholders and its portfolio companies.
Dr Armstrong recalled that MOFI was used as a Special Purpose Vehicle across the economic sector, focused on holdingfederall government investments, which it had been using to invest in commercial entities for over 60 years.

However, he added that MOFI was not structured to deliver on the mandate that was expected of it, noting that its peers established at the same time and restructured to reflect current realities, had gone on to make major social and economic impacts in their respective countries. Many of them, he said, had become global brands for investing beyond their home countries’ borders.

He said, in line with the approval of Mr.President to create a comprehensive National Asset Register (NAR) by aggregating, profiling and managing all national assets and investments, the NAR would be harnessed to strengthen the nation’s fiscal and economic realities and the optimization of our investments and assets, noting that the development and modernization of the country’s airports was crucial for socio economic development.

The MOFI Chief Executive further expressed their strong interest in supporting the growth and expansion of Nigerian airlines, adding that MOFI would like to explore ways in which it can provide financing and investment for airlines to expand their fleets, enhance their devices and compete on the global stage.

He noted that the investment and collaboration would bring about mutual benefits for both MOFI and the Ministry of Aviation.

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Aviation

Concession: Preferred, Reserved Bidders Emerge for Abuja, Lagos and Kano Airports

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… as No Bid Received for Port Harcourt Airport

The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced the preferred bidders for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, as the Concession programme enters its final phase.

The minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika unveiled the successful bidders at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said the Request for Proposals (RFP) phase of the Nigeria Airports Concession Programme (NACP), which came to a close on the 19 of September 2022 has seen the emergence of preferred and reserve bidders for three (3) out of four (4) Airports and Cargo Terminals as approved for concession under the programme under the supervision of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

He announced that “the preferred bidder for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, is Corporacion America Airports Consortium. ENL Consortium has also been selected as the reserve bidder for NAIA. ”

“The preferred bidder for Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, is TAV/NAHCO/PROJECT PLANET LIMITED(PPL) Consortium. Sifax/Changi Consortium has also been selected as the reserve bidder for MMIA” he said.

“The preferred bidder for Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, is Corporacion America Airports Consortium. There are no reserve bidders for MAKIA as at the time of this announcement,” he said.

For the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Port Harcourt, Sirika said the ministry “did not receive any proposals as of the RFP deadline close and as such has not had preferred and reserve bidders attached to it.”

He said the next stage now it’s the negotiation stage adding that the organised labour has been a part of all the negotiations that has happened and will still be part of future negotiations.

He also said no Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) official will lose their jobs.

“The next stage of the programme is the negotiations and due diligence stage, during which the Federal Government will invite preferred bidders to enter detailed negotiations with its representatives, with a view to developing a Full Business Case (FBC) before onward transmission to ICRC for review and approval. Only after successful conclusion of the negotiation and due diligence stage will the FBC and all other approvals be presented before the Federal Executive Council for final approval by the Federal Government of Nigeria” he explained.

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