Police Swoop On Illegal Lotto Operators

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Detectives at the Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Milverton Road, Ikoyi have intensified efforts aimed at sanitising the operations of lotto and pools betting in the country with the arrest of over 150 people operating lotto business illegally.

Earlier, the SFU arrested the Chairman of Skytouch Lotto, Olalekan Falodun, in Ibadan for not only operating illegally, but also refusing to pay winners of his game as well as using guns to threaten and harass them.

Falodun’s arrest was sequel to a petition sent to the Acting Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar by Seadog Organisation alleging that the Skytouch boss was fond of not paying his winnings and harassing his customers with guns.

After the arrest of Falodun, men of the SFU continued to investigate activities of the various people and companies operating the lotto business.

“Investigation into the case of Falodun brought to the fore the reckless ways people have been operating lotto games illegally hence the decision of the SFU to arrest this. I want to say that we have made serious progress as we are picking the illegal operators in their hideouts,” a source from the SFU told our correspondent.

Investigation by the police revealed that the illegal lotto operators had perfected ways of using names of legal lotto operators for their illegal activities.

“They use the game of popular and authentic lotto operators to deceive the players of the game that they were playing the games of the legal operators. However, when the players win, these illegal operators will refuse to pay leaving the lotto players to bombard the authentic owners of the game with claims of winnings,” our source added.

The police source stated that apart from the petition by the Seadog Organisation, there have been several complaints against these illegal operators but the petition was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

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P.M.NEWS gathered that the illegal lotto operators were mostly found in Ibadan because of the absence of an enabling law to guide lotto and pools betting in the Oyo State capital.

“Ibadan is their base because they can operate freely due to the fact that there is no law guiding the operation of lotto and pools betting in Oyo State,” sources told our correspondent.

Some of the illegal operators arrested include owners of Golden Star Lotto and Legal Lotto, among others.

“Our men have been combing the nooks and crannies of Ibadan and we have arrested some of these illegal operators mainly located in areas like Iwo Road, Ojoo, Bodija, Beere, Mokola and Apata. We are not relenting as we are continuing investigation into their activities. We are bent on sanitising this sector to protect innocent Nigerians who play lotto.

“ If we don’t weed out these undesirable elements, Nigerians will not have confidence in playing lotto and this will result in the loss of huge sums of money for legal and registered lotto companies who have invested their resources in the business” a police source told our correspondent.

The source confirmed that the men of the SFU are still continuing investigation on the activities of the illegal lotto operators with the determination to ensure that only legal and registered operators with proven records are allowed to remain in the business.

“We don’t want these illegal operators to continue fleecing Nigerians of their hard earned money anymore,” police said.

—Jamiu Yisa