Adetunji Omole, Lagos
A Lagos-based lawyer, Victor Emerson, has petitioned the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, to probe the unpaid winnings of over N186m to his clients by Betbonanza.
Emerson, in the petition dated February 24, 2021, alleged that his clients, Cephas Esemeka, Goodluck Solomon and Uloeze Odum, won the sum of N186,554,545 after placing bets with the firm but were not paid.
Emerson’s clients, in a letter dated January 16, 2012, and received by the NLRC on February 17, 2021, alleged that upon winning the bet, they went to the Betbonanza’s agent in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to get their rewards but they were told that the firm withdrew the money from the agent’s account.
The petitioners, who noted that they went to the betting firm’s head office in Lagos to complain about the matter, said the company alleged that the games were fixed.
The petitioners urged the NLRC to investigate the non-payment of the winnings and help them redeem the rewards from the betting firm.
Their lawyer alleged that the lottery commission had refused to respond to their petitions after several weeks of receiving them.
He stated, “We note with regret the commission’s apathetic attitude to the plight of our clients and the treatment of our petitions as we have not been even accorded any response after three weeks of the commission’s receipt of our letter thus lending credence to our clients’ suspicion that the commission may have assumed a position on this issue to their detriment.
“We want to assure the commission that we are irrevocably and immutably committed to ensuring that justice is done to our clients and we have no hesitation whatsoever in taking this matter outside the commission, where it appears the commission is being deliberate in the dereliction of its statutory duties.
“We, therefore call on the commission to take the appropriate steps to ensure that our petition is given its due consideration as it is statutorily appointed to do.”
However, the betting company, in a letter signed by its lawyers, Babajimi Ayorinde and Oladimeji Sarumi, said the petitioners breached the firm’s terms and conditions.
The letter read in part, “Our client has gone through your letter and the tickets you forwarded to us and is of the view that your clients have breached its terms and conditions, amongst other infractions.
“In light of this, our client is of the view that your clients are not entitled to any winnings. We hope you will advise your clients accordingly.”