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Police vow to investigate tomato paste saga without sentiment

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Muyiwa Adejobi has been confirmed as Police Force PPRO

The Nigeria Police has reaffirmed that the prosecution of Mrs. Chioma Okoli over the Erisco tomato paste saga is without sentiment.

The police, in a statement signed on Thursday by ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Force Public Relations Officer, 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.

The statement reads, “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 cyberspace.

“At this juncture, it is imperative to caution members of the public against spreading misinformation and attempting to manipulate public sentiment.

“The law operates impartially, and any attempt to subvert it will be met with the full force of legal action.

“The recent developments in the case are deeply worrisome, particularly the use of crowdfunding as a means to influence legal proceedings.

“Such actions undermine the integrity of the justice system and threaten the principles of fairness and accountability, as they are highly inimical to the existence of the rule of law.

“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 the 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, favor, or sentiments in its commitment to ensuring justice and transparency for all citizens.

“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 the 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, favor, 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, while we admonish Nigerians, most especially social media influencers, to resort to embracing the rule of law and shun all displays of sentiments in the case and many others, as the police will not be deterred by the antics of certain individuals to pervert justice in any way.

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