NLRC strongly condemned for shutting down NB’s offices over alleged infraction

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The Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has condemned the actions of the Director-General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Mr Lanre Gbajabiamila, for what it sees as his high handedness and lack of regard for the rule of law, to close down the offices of Nigerian Breweries Plc.

NECA said that Gbajabiamila’s action had failed to respect the ongoing suite – CA/A/207/2016, NECA & 1 or vs. AG Federation & 3 others – which is related to the matter that allegedly led to the closure of Nigeria Breweries. This was in obedience to the court order, which had restrained the National Lottery Commission and/or its agents from imposing/further imposing its own interpretation of ‘promos’ on NECA’s members and/or from further harassing, intimidating and/or sealing-up the offices of NECA’s members.

It noted that the court, since 2016, had directed parties in the case to maintain status quo ante.

“I am still in shock that the new helmsman at the NLRC would go all out to act in breach of the rule of law and utter contempt of court by shutting down the offices and business premises of Nigeria Breweries Plc in a case still before the Court of Appeal,” said Mr Olusegun Oshinowo, Director-General of NECA.

“Since 2016 when the case was filed in court, the past leadership of the commission had exercised restraint and due respect for the law of the land.

“It is unthinkable that a public servant would rashly shut down business premises of a multi-billion dollar investment without considering the dire implications on the economy.”

Oshinowo, therefore, called on the Presidency and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment to bring Gbajabiamila to order, saying his actions were not only illegal, unlawful and ultra vires, “but were counterproductive to the laudable efforts of the Federal Government in improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

“He should be called to order to avoid further damage to business and the fragile economy at large,” he added.

It was disclosed that NECA’s call on the Presidency and the Minister was informed by government’s belief in fairness and justice, and its several unequivocally affirmation of its belief in enterprise rights and those of ordinary Nigerians. These are hallmarks of good governance which will shore up investors’ confidence in the economy”.

Mr Oshinowo further hoped that “the Commission’s leadership will depart from its new ways and manner of carrying out its activities, which is totally at variance with Democratic Ethos”.

In the same vein, “Gbajabiamila should await the court’s interpretation on the definition of promos which we believe is not the same as lottery. This will enable the Commission operate within the limits guaranteed by law and also promote the survival of Enterprises in the country, who are the engine of growth in any economy”.

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