Court Restrains IGP, Erisco Foods Company From Re-Arresting Female Customer Over Product Review


A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State on Thursday restrained the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, the head of IGP Monitoring Unit, DCP Adamu Elleman, Nigeria Police Force, Erisco Foods Limited and its President/CEO, Eric Umeofia, from re-arresting and detaining the female customer, Chioma Edoka Okoli.

Okoli was earlier arrested and detained for three days in September after she reviewed Erisco Food’s tomato product on her Facebook page.

CKNNews  gathered that a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong who is representing Chioma, had instituted a fundamental rights enforcement suit through an Originating Motion on Notice filed on 25th October, 2023 marked Suit Number: FHC/L/CS/2164/2023 at the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division, against Erisco Foods and the IGP and others over Chioma’s arrest.

In the suit, Effiong sought the sum of N500 million as compensation and public apology on behalf of his client.

When the case came up on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 before Justice Y. C. Bogoro, the lawyer prayed the court to grant an interim order to restrain the respondents from re-arresting and further detaining Chioma pending the determination of the suit.

Ruling on the ex-parte application, Justice Bogoro granted the prayers sought by the applicant and made an interim order restraining the IGP, the head of IGP Monitoring Unit, Nigeria Police Force, Erisco Foods and its President/CEO, from re-arresting, detaining or interring with the personal liberty of Chioma in anyway pending the determination of the suit.

Reacting to the decision of the court, Effiong stated that his client was not afraid of facing Erisco in court in the event that the police decide to file a charge against her.

“We are not saying that the police should not file a charge against Chioma if they really believe that this case is worthy of their attention, time and resources, we are saying that the police must adhere to the rule of law and respect her fundamental rights. We will be happy to see how they prove their charges.”

Effiong reiterated that the case is purely civil and that the police is only meddling in it because a billionaire is the one pushing them. 

He said, “In fact, in our application for interim injunction, I told His Lordship that if she is summoned by a court to face criminal charges, we are ready to confront them in court so that the world can see how oppressive, whimsical and frivolous the Nigeria Police Force can be when exercising their prosecutorial powers.

“The Court agreed with us and made an interim order that she must not be arrested or detained until our fundamental rights suit is heard and determined, or except on the order of a court of competent jurisdiction if she is served with a summons or notice of arraignment and she fails to show up in court in the event that a charge is filed while the case is pending.This is what we applied for and the court has granted it.

“We are confident in our position that this is a purely civil matter which has been illegally escalated by the police to massage the insatiable ego of an arrogant billionaire.”

In a 41 paragraphed affidavit deposed to by Chioma in support of the suit, the nursing mother gave a graphic account of how policemen acting on the instigation of Erisco Foods and its President/CEO, arrested her from St. Andrews Anglican Church in Ogudu, Lagos on September 24, 2023 without prior invitation, and detained her at the Ogudu Police Station.

According to her, the police officers forced her to board a Valujet flight the next day to Abuja where she was further detained at the Asokoro Police Station.

She noted that the officers took her before the head of the IGP Monitoring Unit, DCP Elleman, and the Erisco Foods boss, Chief Eric Umeofia, on 26th September, 2023 and subjected her to further humiliation, intimidation and abuse.

She narrated how Chief Eric repeatedly boasted in the presence of the police officers, that he could have kidnapped and killed her and nothing would happen.

She also accused the police of refusing to make facilities for her to bathe and defecate for the three days she was in police custody, and accused the police and Chief Eric of forcing her to write an apology letter and demanded that she post the apology on Facebook and delete her review of the Nagiko Tomato Mix from her Facebook account as preconditions for her release.

The judge adjourned the case to the February 1, 2024.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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