N1.9 Million Raised for Chioma’s Lawsuit Against Erisco Foods, Sparks Police Concern

by Ohepo Ohepo

SaharaReporters recently highlighted a complex legal battle involving Erisco Foods Limited and Mrs. Chioma Okoli, a customer who faced arrest after reviewing the company’s tomato product. This lawsuit, initially filed in Abuja, has caught the attention of human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong, who is advocating for its relocation to Lagos.

The incident traces back to January, when police allegedly acting on orders from Inspector-General Kayode Egbetokun, forcefully entered Okoli’s Lagos residence. Despite lacking a court order, they attempted to re-arrest her, drawing widespread criticism and concern over the legality of their actions.

In an unexpected turn, the Nigerian police have issued a call for Okoli to present herself, asserting that this would facilitate the course of justice in her dispute with Erisco Foods Limited. Meanwhile, the public has rallied around Okoli, contributing N1.9 million to support her legal defense.

The police force, through a statement from ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has reaffirmed its dedication to the rule of law concerning the ongoing case. Adejobi warns against the spread of misinformation and the potential manipulation of public sentiment, particularly criticizing the role of crowdfunding in the legal process. He argues that such practices could jeopardize the justice system’s integrity, emphasizing the importance of adhering to legal principles over succumbing to emotional appeals.

Adejobi’s statement underscores the police’s determination to ensure justice prevails, free from external influences or attempts to subvert the legal process.

He said, “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 the cyber space.

“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 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, favour, 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 display of sentiments in the case, and in many others as the police will not be deterred by the antics of certain individuals to pervert justice in any way,” the statement added.

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