Facts have emerged on how Nigerian-based food product manufacturing company, Erisco Foods Limited allegedly used operatives of the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and intimidate one of their customers, Chioma Blessing Edoka.
In a long release at #Tech4Justice, operated by civic organisation, Citizens Gavel, on its verified X, Twitter page, it was alleged that Chioma was arrested over her Facebook post on one of the food products manufactured by Erisco.
The statement reads, “On the 17th of September, 2023, Chioma Blessing Edoka, a Nigerian consumer, purchased a tin of Nagiko tomato mix and took to her Facebook page to share her concerns and express her opinion on the product.
“However, what followed was both surprising and concerning. Ericso Foods Limited, the manufacturer of Nagiko tomato paste, issued an official statement in response to Chioma’s review. While responding to customer feedback is a standard business practice, the company’s reaction took an unprecedented and extreme turn. Instead of addressing Chioma’s concerns or seeking a constructive dialogue, they chose to escalate the situation by involving the Nigerian Police Force, who arrested Chioma on the 24th of September, 2023.”
The statement also tackled Erisco Foods Limited for bringing the police into a matter they described as civil issues between the company and a customer.
The statement continued: “This extreme measure, taken against a customer who had committed no crime other than sharing her honest review, raises significant questions about consumer rights, the legal implications of such actions and the use of the Nigerian Police Force as an instrument of intimidation and harassment over civil disputes.
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“Consumer rights are fundamental in any society, and Nigeria is no exception. Consumers have a right to seek redress when dissatisfied with a product or service. Consumers must not only be treated fairly and have the right to express their concerns and grievances freely.
“We hereby call upon the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission @fcccpc, the agency responsible for safeguarding the rights of consumers across the country, to look into this violation.
“Erisco Foods Limited’s decision to involve the Nigerian Police Force in response to Chioma’s review is highly reprehensible. Arresting a consumer who exercised her right to free speech and provided an honest review is a potential violation of her constitutional right to freedom of expression.
“The misuse of the Nigerian Police Force to intimidate and harass citizens over civil disputes is a matter of great concern. Law enforcement agencies are expected to uphold the law impartially. Involving the police in civil matters not related to criminal activity undermines the trust and confidence citizens have in the law enforcement system.”