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Nigerians blast Police over continuous prosecution of Chioma



Erisco female customer resize

The Nigerian police have come under severe criticism over their continuous prosecution and detention of Mrs. Chioma Okoli over the Erisco tomato paste saga.

The police reaffirmed Thursday that the prosecution of Chioma over the Erisco tomato paste saga is without sentiment.

In a statement signed on Thursday by ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Force Public Relations Officer, it was noted that Mrs. Chioma is accused of violating “parts of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015.

The police statement added that Chioma allegedly violated “extant laws, particularly those related to the proper use of cyberspace.”

Chronicle NG reports that Erisco customer Mrs. Chioma Okoli, who gave a review of the tomato paste brand, was re-arrested on the orders of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, despite court orders. Okoli was arrested around 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.

She was previously arrested and detained in September 2023 over her review of a tomato product manufactured by Erisco Foods Limited.

Chioma, on September 17, 2023, made a post on her Facebook page, highlighting the high sugar content in the tomato mix and inviting her followers who might have used the same product to share their opinions.

The police statement also urged members of the public against spreading misinformation and attempting to manipulate public sentiment.

Responding to the statement from the police, Ebuka Etisiobi accused the police of collecting financial inducements from “the hands of Erisco.”

“What does the cybercrime law say? You just want to justify your paymasters; what you just wrote is rubbish. Go and defend the fact that you are a willing tool in the hands of Erisco.

“We’re together stronger with Chioma. Erisco won’t win the case. Better move the case to Lagos, where both parties reside,” Erisiobi stated.

Ayo Akande accused the police of ignorance. He alleged that the police do not know the difference between a civil offense and a criminal offense.

Akande wrote, “This is why it’s difficult to ever move back home. The police do not know the difference between a civil offense and a criminal offense.

“There is no prosecution involved in a case of libel or slander, which is the worst scenario in this issue.

“The offended party can sue for damages in court, which is only financially punitive. This has nothing to do with the police. I weep for my people.”

Philip Nwaochei wrote, “The Nigerian Police have always been known to be on the side of the rich; the proper thing to do was to verify the woman’s claim, not this shameful route they are taking because Erisco has doled out money.”

An X user, Benson, alleged that “police in Nigeria are for hire. Very shameless organization. After, they will be looking for who is destroying the country’s image.”

Alluding to the assault of IBD Dende over a police officer, Benson wrote, “That guy that almost strangled a customs officer for an illegal act is still roaming free.”

Arguing that “the alleged cybercrime against Chioma cannot be treated solely as one,” Tola Olaosebikan opined that “Chioma was a contractual customer to Erisco Foods by sale purchase.

“Her statement of review, positive or negative, of the product she purchased cannot just be taken out of context and termed cybercrime. ‘Something cannot be built on anything’. There was a contract.”

Alleging that the Nigeria police is a corrupt outfit, A. Bolanle said, “A customer review is cyber bullying? Not of a person (if we are to agree with the charge, but we don’t) but of a business.

“You guys are one of the most corrupt and unprofessional police forces in the world, so we are not surprised.”

“The Nigerian police are far worse than the politicians. It is you who have destroyed this country and its integrity.

“You’re the reason most people are scared of doing business in Nigeria or even coming to Nigeria because you’re the most compromised and corrupt institution on earth,” Kajay Prince notes.

Accusing the police of wrongly prosecuting Chioma, Felix Olusola Abayomi noted that “no law on earth can prosecute product review. It is a public safety issue.

“You are lucky you are in a lawless country. That’s why you can do this. Our constitution guarantees freedom of speech, and any law that is inconsistent with the constitution is non-existent and void. I hope you meet a judge that sets this right at some point.”