*LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON LIQUOR LICENSES IN KARU LGA, NASARAWA STATE. * Daily Law Tips (Tip 515) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

Local Governments being the third level of government, are also empowered by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to assess, charge and collect taxes, levies and fines for some specific items. Just like, Federal and State governments, the law does not allow Local Governments to delegate these powers or to engage and use third parties, private companies, citizens, louts and armed officers to assess, collect or recover its taxes, levies and fines. First of all, “LIQUOR” is any liquid which if used as a beverage that may have an intoxicating effect, like wines and beers. And, “LIQUOR LICENSE” is a government issued permit (authority) allowing its holder to deal, warehouse, transport, market, retail or sell alcoholic beverages. Below are the latest development on liquor licenses in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State in Nigeria.

Note the following facts about liquor licenses in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State in Nigeria.

1. Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State has a new bye-law (LIQUOR LICENSING BYE-LAW (NO.2)2018) governing liquor and liquor licensing in the local government area.

2. The bye-law applies to all persons in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, irrespective of tribe, religion, occupation and place residence.

3. It is illegal to deal or sale any liquor in any part of Karu Local Government Area without Liquor License.

4. Punishment for selling liquor without license or selling at a place outside the license is fine of N100, 000.00

5. Liquor License cannot be transferred to a third party

6. It must be surrendered to the Local Government Council, if the holder winds-up business (shuts down business) and/or intends to leave the Local Government Area.

7. License may be obtained on application and upon payment of the fees prescribed from time to time by the Local Government Council

8. Not minding the day and month of issuance of a liquor license, it must expire on the 31st of December of the year it was issued .

9. A license issued must be renewed every year and on payment of the prescribed fees.

10. The most expensive liquor license is for Large Depot (Beer) and goes for N350, 000.00 while the lowest liquor license is for Small Native Liquor and goes for N1000.00.

11. It must be displayed at a conspicuous place within the place of sale of such liquor.

12. Holders of Wine and Beer On license and Wine and Beer Off License cannot sell wine or beer containing more than twenty per cent of pure alcohol.

13. Holders of Wine and Beer Off License cannot sell liquor in quantities exceeding twelve bottles during the space of 24 hours to any one person, for consumption off its premises.

14. Holder of Retail License cannot allow riot/quarrel in his premises or sell to a drunken person, a child of less than 16 years to consume at the premises, army officer/police/security officer on duty, run brothel, sell outside approved hours or obstruct inspections. Punishment for doing any of those is fine of N100, 000.00 or imprisonment for 6 months.

15. Except for persons sleeping in hotel or members of Club, it is illegal to sell liquor at any time before 8:00am or after 12 midnight on any day.

16. Any person that impersonates an occupier of premises with license to sell liquor or to be family member of such holder or to be sleeping in a hotel, in order to consume liquor after midnight is guilty of an offence punishable with fine of N30, 000.00

17. Every person holding license to sell and retail liquor, must have a board at the entrance of the licensed premises showing the name of the license and the class. Not doing this is an offence, punishable with fine of N100, 000.00

18. Where any person that is not licensed to sell liquor puts any title/word on his premises to suggest that he/she is licensed or even where a licensed person misrepresents his type/class of licence, he/she has committed an offence. Punishment for the offence is fine of N100, 000.00 or imprisonment for 6 months.

19. The Local Government Council can grant a temporal liquor license to retail that can last for only 3 days for the sale of liquor at any place other than a place of recreation, amusement or assembly and it must clearly state days and time for such sales.

20. Agents of government can from time to time but before 6:00pm in any day, enter any premise for inspection on premises with issued liquor licenses.

21. Where any person contravens a Liquor License, such person can be prosecuted in a Magistrate Court.

22. The following types of Liquor Licenses can be issued ; (a) A tavern license; (b) A wine and beer on- license; (e) A wine and beer off-license; (d) A hotel liquor license; (e) A club liquor license; (f) A general wholesales liquor license; (g) A general retail liquor license and (h) Restaurant/Bar liquor license.

23. List of places that alcoholic drinks cannot be sold at, are; (a) Schools, (b) Motor Parks, (c) Markets, (d) Residential quarters, (e) Worship centers, (f) Cinema homes, (g) Hospitals and (h) Any other places as the Local Government Council may specify in a Public Notice.

24. Chairman of Karu Local Government can set up a monitoring committee to be headed by a Councillor/Director-in-charge of Social Service to ensure compliance.

25. Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa’s bye-law (LIQUOR LICENSING BYE-LAW (NO.2)2018) has been in operation since Friday 26 October 2018

Click to read our earlier publication with the title , “NO PERSON/FIRM CAN COLLECT TAX/LEVY ON BEHALF OF ANY GOVERNMENT IN ANY PART NIGERIA”.

My authorities are;

1. Sections 2 and 5 as well as the Schedule to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, 1998 and the Schedule to the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, (Amendment) Order 2015.

2. Sections 4(5), 7(5), Paragraphs 7, 8 and 9, Part II of Second Schedule and Paragraph 1(J) of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

3. Sections 1 to 22 of the Liquor Licensing Bye-Law (No.2) 2018, Karu Local Government Bye-Law 2018(Gazetted on Nasarawa State Gazette No. 7, Vol. 21, 1st November, 2018). A FREE copy can be downloaded above cited authority can be downloaded via the link below.

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