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SERAP urges Tinubu to stop continuous prosecution of Erisco Foods critic



Erisco female customer resize

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Bola Tinubu to order the stop of the continuous harassment and intimidation of Mrs. Chioma Okoli. 

Mrs. Okoli, a pregnant woman, is being prosecuted for making negative reviews about Erisco tomato paste.

Mrs. 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.

Mrs. Okoli, 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. Her post reads:

“I went to buy tin tomatoes yesterday that I will use to make stew. I didn’t see Gino and Sonia, so I decided to buy this one (Nagiko). When I opened it, Omo! I decided to taste it. Sugar is just too much. Haa biko (please) let me know if you have used this tin tomato before because this is like an ike gwuru (tiring) situation.”

The rearrest and continuous detention of Mrs. Okoli has caused a national outcry, with many calling for the boycott of all products of Erisco Foods Limited.

Reacting to the detaining of the pregnant woman, SERAP, in a statement on its X page on Wednesday, noted that “freedom of expression is a fundamental right.”

The rights group therefore called on Tinubu to bring to order the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun over the continuous harassment of Mrs. Okoli.

The body also urged Tinubu to order her immediate release from police detention.

SERAP‘s statement reads, “We urge President Tinubu to urgently direct the Inspector General of Police to immediately end the intimidation and harassment of Chioma Egodi over a review of tomato paste on social media. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right.”