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Erisco Food: Police insists on prosecuting Chioma Egodi, says no sentiment in law 

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Chioma vs Erisco food boss

The Nigerian police have reiterated their decision to prosecute Chioma Egodi, alleging her online commentary on Erisco Foods Limited’s tomato paste violates the Cybercrime Act of 2015. 

Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the police spokesperson, made this statement on Thursday, advising Egodi to cease bail jumping and submit to the judicial process for resolution. 

According to the police, initial investigations have revealed significant evidence suggesting Mrs. Chioma’s involvement in breaking existing laws, especially concerning the appropriate use of cyberspace. 

Egodi had in a Facebook post on September 17, 2023, claimed she bought Nagiko Tomato Mix, a product of Erisco Foods, the previous day, and that it tasted too much sugar. She said she had intended to purchase her regular brands, Gino or Sonia, but they were not readily available. 

Her post generated reactions and forced the management of the company to involve the police through a petition to Kayode Egbetokun, the Inspector General of Police.  

She was arrested initially but was later released on bail conditions.  

What the Police is Saying 

Adejobi noted: 

  • “The Nigeria Police Force reaffirms its commitment to upholding the rule of law in the Erisco Tomato matter. The involvement of Mrs. Chioma warrants scrutiny as she stands accused of violating some salient parts of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 as preliminary investigations conducted have unearthed compelling evidence indicating Mrs. Chioma’s alleged role in the violation of extant laws, particularly those related to the proper use of the cyber space.  
  • “This case in point underscores the necessity of enforcing existing legislation, including the Cybercrime Act, to counteract the current spate of violations of the Act and spread of misinformation and disinformation on social media.  
  • “It is vital to reaffirm that the Nigeria Police is poised to enforce all laws without fear, favour, or sentiments in its commitment to ensuring justice and transparency for all citizens.  
  • “We therefore advise the suspect to cease the continual jumping bail and turn up in court, as a neutral arbiter, to determine the matter, and allow justice to take its course,” he said. 

Backstory 

  • On September 17, 2023, Egodi shared a Facebook post stating that she purchased Nagiko Tomato Mix from Erisco Foods the day before and found it overly sweet. She mentioned that she normally buys Gino or Sonia brands, but they were out of stock.  
  • After her post sparked significant reactions, the company’s management decided to contact the police, petitioning Inspector General Kayode Egbetokun, which resulted in her arrest.  
  • This incident prompted the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to advocate for her release. 
  • However, Erisco Food Founder, Eric Umeofia, mentioned settlement terms but disputed FCCPC’s involvement in Chioma’s release. Umeofia clarified that Chioma’s uncle facilitated her release. 
  • The controversy also prompted scrutiny of the product’s registration, leading the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to confirm Eriscofoods’ Nagiko Tomato Mix’s registration in 2021. 
  • In response to Okoli’s critical content, Erisco Foods announced plans to sue her for N5 billion, citing harm to their reputation due to her failure to issue a public apology. 

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