Federal V States Lottery Regulation Supremacy Tussle: Supreme Court Fixes a Date in March 2024 to Hear Suit
The Nigerian Supreme Court has finally fixed March 13th, 2024, to hear the suit filed by the A G of Lagos State in 2008 against the Federal Government, to determine who has the regulatory control of the gaming and lottery Industry in Nigeria.
The regulatory supremacy tussle between the Federal and State government (s) has been on-going for years now. It started with Lagos state as far back as 2004 and has shown no sign of abating. After several back and forth, Attorney General (AG) of Lagos State filed a lawsuit in 2018 seeking judicial determination of the issue of regulatory control between federal and state from the Apex Court.
Ekiti State was joined as co-plaintiff in the suit following an order of the court made on October 6, 2020.
Oyo State previously applied to join the suit as plaintiff, but the application was later withdrawn.
The Supreme Court on November 15, 2022, joined the AGs of 34 other states as defendants to the suit that already has the AG of the Federation as the 1st defendant and the National Assembly as the 2nd defendant.
The suit by the plaintiffs seeks a declaration by the apex court that lottery is not one of the 68 items on the exclusive list for which the National Assembly has the sole vires to make its laws under Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The Suit is also seeking a declaration that the National Assembly lacks the vires to legally and constitutionally make any laws to regulate and control the operation of lottery in Nigeria.
A Seven-member panel of Justices of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, fixed the date for hearing in 2024.
For 1st and 2nd defendants, Innocent Daa’gba represented the Federal Government while the National Assembly was represented by Ifeanyi Mrialike. On the part of the plaintiffs, Bode Olanipekun (SAN), appeared for the Lagos State Government, while Adetunji Osho appeared for Ekiti state.
The Attorneys General of 33 out of 34 States who were served hearing notice, were duly represented and announced appearances, but Kwara State was a not represented.
All the processes filed out of time by the defendants were regularized by the court and deemed to have been properly filed.
All the State Governments with the same purpose, were advised by the Judge to have a common argument in order to save the time of the court at the hearing.