Home OPINIONFEEDBACK Critical Review: The Case Of Chioma Okoli vs. Erisco Foods

Critical Review: The Case Of Chioma Okoli vs. Erisco Foods

by inlandtownadmin
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Nigerian woman faces 7-year sentence for critical review of tomato puree.

Chioma Okoli, a 39-year-old Lagos-based businesswoman, faces criminal and civil lawsuits for criticizing a product from Nigerian foodmaker Erisco Foods.

She sought feedback from her 18,000 Facebook followers on Ericso’s Nagiko Tomato Mix, stating it was too sweet and sharing a photo of the opened can.

One commenter said: ‘Stop spoiling my brother’s product. If [you] don’t like it, use another one than bring it to social media or call the customer service.’

Ms. Okoli replied, “Tell your brother to stop harming people with his product; it’s pure sugar.”

Plainclothes officers from Nigeria’s national police arrested the pregnant businesswoman in September while she was in church. She informed CNN that they kept her in a leaky cell for hours.

There were no seats, so I stood all through till the next day. My legs were inside the water [that came in from the leaking roof]’, she said.

‘Sometimes, I squatted to reduce the pressure on my legs. If found guilty, pregnant Ms. Okoli could get seven years in jail.

Okoli faces up to 7 years in prison for two criminal charges.

She was charged with conspiring with two other individuals with ‘the intention of instigating people against Erisco Foods Limited’, and may have to go to prison for up to seven years.

Okoli was also charged with ‘instigating Erisco Foods Limited, knowing the said information to be false’, a crime that could end with her going to prison for three years, having to pay a fine of seven million naira (£3,950).

Erisco itself is also bringing a civil lawsuit against her, after claiming earlier this year that ‘several suppliers’ cut ties with the company following her remarks, and is seeking 5 billion naira (£2.8 million) in damages.

She countersued the police and Erisco, framing it as a David vs. Goliath battle due to their treatment of her.

The company’s CEO Eric Umeofia has come under fire in Nigeria for his threatening behaviour against Okoli.

During an interview, he revealed her address to the nation, leading her lawyer to criticize the action as disregarding Chioma’s security.

He said he’d “rather die than let anyone tarnish my 40-year reputation.”

The behaviour of the police and Erisco have come under fire from groups across the world.

Amnesty International said: ‘Harassment and intimidation of Chioma Okoli must end now.’

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