A team of heavily armed men, believed to be operatives of National Security in the early hours of yesterday went on rampage, destroying lotto Kiosks belonging to writers of the game in parts of Accra.
The action of the armed security men which took lotto writers by surprise resulted in the beating of poor people who engage in lotto writing as a source of livelihood.
The armed security men, have not only destroyed lotto Kiosks, but also arrested these writers who are registered with the National Lottery Authority under the name the Concerned Lotto Agents Association of Ghana (CLAAG).
In some cases, there were gunshots to dispel the agitated writers.
The destruction of these lotto Kiosks and arrest of the writers is coming at a time when the association has written to the NLA to discuss issues pertaining to their operations.
Amidst rising cost of living and the general economic hardships, these lotto writers are of the view that the government is on a deliberate course to take them out of business.
It is not clear, what triggered the destruction and demolition of the Kiosks, but the lotto agents and the writers recently kicked against the reduction of their commission from 30percent to 20percent.
The argument they made to reject this reduction in their commission was that prices of goods and services have gone up, making life unbearable.
The reduction in their commission, they further explained, will worsen an already bad economic situation for them and their dependents.
The Executive Secretary of the Concerned Lotto Agents Association of Ghana, Kwaku Duah Tawiah, who issued a statement on the demolition, wondered why Agents and Writers who are downstream workers should be receiving such ill thought out and callous actions from the NLA with no reason given.
He believes that the NLA by encouraging a demolishing has a predetermined plan to frustrate them and prefers to tread the course of collision rather than to jaw-jaw.
“This action by the NPP government through the board and management of NLA israther insensitive and obnoxious especially coming at a time when unemployment is near all-time high, prices of goods and services have gone above the roof, inflation is out of control, sales have gone down considerably and Agents and Writers through CLAAG had engaged NLA with a proposal to contribute funds towards government revenue in spite of all the difficulties”, he noted.
“Writers and their families are suffering untold hardships and strangulation as a result of the general economic malaise. One would have thought that government through the Ministries of Finance and Labour will quickly intervene to assuage the wicked economic strangulation being visited on Lotto Writers and Agents by the board and management of NLA by the directive to already reduce our incomes via commission slashing, but alas, that is not to be”, he questioned.
The association, he pointed out, will not allow government functionaries, including board members, management and security apparatchiks of the NLA to continue to harass innocent citizens in such an insensitive manner.
While making reference to a video in which supposed National Security Operatives breaking locked Lotto Kiosks, he gave indications that the association will not sit down aloof for innocent agents being harassed.
“The actions of the NLA is lending credence to rumours making the rounds within the lotto fraternity that NLA has engaged EDITEACH COMPANY to take over the operations of lottery in Ghana, hence doing the bidding of the said company by eliminating us from the industry”, he alleged.
He applauded his members who he said were attacked but exercised the maximum restraint thereby forestalling confrontation and possible gunshots which could cause death to innocent Ghanaians.
“The leadership of CLAAG wants to assure lotto Writers and Agents across the length and breadth of the country that CLAAG will explore every legitimate means at its disposal to have this matter resolved hence members should continue to remain calm and law-abiding as leadership activates the various processes”, he appealed.
This action by the NLA for him, is needless and calls on the government to call the NLA to order.