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Erisco Foods: Nigerians react to Tomato reviewer’s court case with CEO  

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Chioma vs Erisco food boss

The ongoing legal dispute involving Chioma Okoli, who posted a product review on her Facebook page about Erisco Tomato paste, has spurred widespread reactions among Nigerians on social media platform X.  

In the aftermath of Okoli’s review, Erisco Foods Ltd initiated a N5 Billion lawsuit against her, a move that has captured public attention. 

According to details shared by Okoli’s lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, the Facebook post attracted numerous comments, leading to legal action by Erisco Foods.

The subsequent development saw the Inspector General of Police filing a “cybercrime” charge against Chioma.

Effiong disclosed that they appeared in the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday, February 29, 2024, to address the charge. 

What Nigerians are saying 

Ikenna Nzimora 

  • “Boycott all products made by Erisco Foods.” 

https://twitter.com/ronaldnzimora/status/1763890916203368523

Dr. Nnanyelugo 

  • “Dear Erisco food, What you are doing to Chioma is bullying, in her tweet, there is nowhere it said that your product is bad. In review, people can give you one star, go to a Google store and see it. All she did was ask honest questions. You are doing this because it is Food, is Nigeria anyway.” 

Fozzadoza 

  • “I worry about how battered mentally we are in Nigeria by corrupt and flawed systems. Chioma has the right to review a product as a consumer. Erisco has the right to file an action if they feel aggrieved. Erisco HAS ZERO RIGHTS TO BULLY A CITIZEN WITH THE POLICE.” 

Emmanuel Faith 

  • “This is when you need the media! Why is the country not even boycotting Erisco food and their products already? Gosh! I am so sad I should go offline” 

Omalicha Babe 

  • “Lol. The time for Emotional blackmail is over. She made a mistake. Instead of apologizing to ERISCO,   she decided to grandstand. She will learn in a very hard way.”

Socrates 

  • “If this kind of case was brought before Kenyan courts I can fairly predict how it’ll end. Erisco Foods would not only lose customers, it will lose the case and pay for all her legal fees. But in this contraption called Nigeria where even ordinary Nigerians can’t stand on business.”

Austin Akpos 

  • “I understand the displeasure of The CEO of Erisco Food. A bad review particularly done online can kill the years of hard work it takes to an build a business brand. If the reviews by the lady are unfounded, all we can do if beg the CEO.”

Fatima 

  • “Eric Umeofia the CEO of Erisco Food is surfing on the lawlessness of the Nigerian State & ignorance cum weakness of the citizenry. That Arise TV video is very depressing. An empowered citizenry would #BoycottEriscoFoods until they apologise & indemnify Chioma for all the trauma.

Toluwani  

  • “I watched the documentary of the lady being prosecuted by Erisco Foods Limited. All I can say is that Nigeria needs to protect consumers of products. If the Product damaged her internal organs what are we going to be saying? Quality control for eatables should be very strict.

Nsogbu 

  • “Mrs Chioma DIDN’T make a review,  what she did was an attempt to make people boycott Erisco products. She is not a defenseless lady. If you live in glass house, don’t throw stone.  
  • Even in Nigeria, if you cant afford a lawyer, the State DPP provides you a lawyer. If Erisco’s legal team proved she’s a flight risk, she might be remanded. The question is what did her legal team do? I am sure she was probably served or invited for questioning and probably ignored or tried, to evade, before she had to be picked up………………..  
  • “There is no dictatorship in this matter. She beat the drum, she should tie the wrapper and dance to the beats. Emotional blackmail doesn’t work in the court of law”. 

What you should know 

In a recent social media post, Effiong explained that they have filed an application seeking the transfer of the case from Abuja to Lagos.

This move is based on the argument that the events leading to the charge occurred in Lagos, where both parties are located.

Interestingly, the police had not served Chioma with the charge sheet as of the previous day, claiming difficulty in doing so.

The police filed a motion to serve her through her counsel (Effiong)Food to but withdrew it after failing to provide evidence of their attempts to serve her personally. 

Effiong informed the court about their decision not to further waste time due to the police’s failure to serve Chioma, revealing that they had independently obtained the charge.

He also mentioned a pending Notice of Preliminary Objection challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to hear the case, advocating for its dismissal or transfer to the Lagos Division. 

The case has been adjourned to April 18, 2024, for possible arraignment or the hearing of pending applications/objections.

Chioma was not present in court on Thursday due to the lack of service, but she is expected on the next adjourned date.

Effiong emphasized that their legal representation for Chioma is pro bono, and he encouraged conscientious Nigerians to contribute to Chioma’s Legal Defense Fund.

The case update garnered significant attention, particularly following an interview featuring Chioma Okoli and the CEO of Erisco Foods. 

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