Mon. Apr 15th, 2024
alert-–-nigerian-woman-faces-seven-years-in-prison-for-writing-a-damning-online-review-of-tomato-pureeAlert – Nigerian woman faces seven years in prison for writing a damning online review of tomato puree

A Nigerian woman is facing up to seven years in prison for writing a damning review of a can of tomato puree, after its maker accused her of damaging its business. 

Chioma Okoli, a 39-year-old businesswoman based in Lagos, the country’s largest city, is being criminally prosecuted and sued in a civil court after she made negative comments about a product made by Nigerian foodmaker Erisco Foods. 

She called on her 18,000 Facebook followers to share their thoughts about Ericso’s Nagiko Tomato Mix, after sharing a picture of an opened can of the product and saying it was too sweet. 

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.’

Okoli responded: ‘Help me advise your brother to stop ki***ing people with his product, yesterday was my first time of using and it’s pure sugar.’

Chioma Okoli (pictured) is being criminally prosecuted and sued in a civil court after she made negative comments about a product made by Nigerian foodmaker Erisco Foods

Chioma Okoli (pictured) is being criminally prosecuted and sued in a civil court after she made negative comments about a product made by Nigerian foodmaker Erisco Foods

She called on her 18,000 Facebook followers to share their thoughts about Ericso's Nagiko Tomato Mix (pictured)

She called on her 18,000 Facebook followers to share their thoughts about Ericso’s Nagiko Tomato Mix (pictured)

The businesswoman, who’s currently pregnant with her fourth child, was arrested by plainclothes officers from Nigeria’s national police in September while she was in church, and told CNN that she was made to stand around in a leaky cell for hours. 

READ MORE: Dozens of nurses and midwives from Nigeria STILL working in the UK despite fears their medical exam results are ‘fraudulent or incorrect’

‘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. I was thinking about my children who were at home. I was talking to myself. I would think, I would pray, I was messed up,’ she added. 

Okoli was criminally charged with two separate crimes, the most serious of which could land her behind bars for up to seven years. 

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). 

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

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

He revealed her address to the nation during an interview about the ongoing legal battle

He revealed her address to the nation during an interview about the ongoing legal battle

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 has launched two countersuits against the police and Erisco, which her legal team has described as a David vs. Goliath battle, for their treatment of the businesswoman. 

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

He revealed her address to the nation during an interview about the ongoing legal battle, which her lawyer, Inhibehe Effiong, said was done ‘without regard for the security and safety of Chioma, her husband, and her entire family.’ 

He also told broadcasters that he would ‘rather die than allow someone to tarnish my image I worked 40 years to grow.’

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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