In a compelling show of solidarity, Nigerians took to the platform formerly known as Twitter to demand the release of Chioma Egodi, a woman allegedly arrested by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on the orders of Erisco Food.
The controversy began when Chioma, on September 17, shared her honest opinion of an Erisco Food product on Facebook, sparking a heated debate.
Chioma’s review read,
“I went to buy tin tomatoes yesterday that I will use to make stew. I didn’t see Gino and Sonia. So, I decided to buy this one. When I opened it, I decided to taste it. Omo! Sugar was just too much. Haaa, Biko let me know if you have used this tin tomato before because this is an Ike gwuru situation.”
In response, Erisco Food vehemently denied the allegations, stating that Chioma’s claims were baseless and intended to mislead customers and tarnish their reputation.
The statement reads,
“Our initial reaction was to ignore and disregard the post which was obviously intended to mislead our esteemed customers and discredit the image of Erisco Foods Limited,”
It claimed that similar posts were previously instigated by “some elements and syndicates” uncomfortable with the company’s “market dominance”.
“Considering, however, that Erisco Foods Limited has built a reputation as a credible organisation committed to due process and the good of humanity, we have decided to bring the said publication to the attention of relevant authorities,” the statement added.
The company vowed that it would take “all necessary actions against any malicious attack” on its reputation.
The situation escalated as Babatunde Irukera, confirmed Chioma’s arrest and the transfer of her case to Abuja by the Police Force.
The FCCPC Director-General, Babatunde Irukere said, “@fccpcnigeria operatives have confirmed arrest and transfer of the case to Abuja by the Police Force. She was no longer at the station on arrival. Working to determine the exact current location & engaging Force HQ in Abuja. Summons being issued to @EriscoFoodsLtd immediately.”
Concerned citizens expressed outrage over the arrest, questioning the motives behind detaining a consumer who had offered an honest review of a product.
@harrisosenum wrote, “They say school is a scam. But simple response to a customer’s observation of a particular product, they bungled. How hard or is it rocket science to respond professionally to a customer’s observation of your product?”
@emmaoghenemaga reacted. “Heck, no one even knows about the product. This was an opportunity to cause a little social media buzz around his product, but, no, the “do you know who I am’ syndrome is what he cares about.”
“@EriscoFoodsLtd lost a great opportunity to market their products. Very poor handling of this issue has already messed the company up. I just discard the remains of their product in my kitchen,” @Funcaliphate said.
@shawnokuyemi said, “Na to cancel @EriscoFoodsLtd, this is anti-consumer. No one should ever buy their products again.”
“Now @EriscoFoodsLtd has drenched its image further in the sewage. I am checking the name of that product! When I see it I remember Chioma,” wrote @myke_destiny.
“Never mind, this is the beginning of the end of that product,” @captainblack03 reacted. “Nigerians are not to be joked with. We are in this together. Shebi Una get time and money for legal war, let the battle continue and see where the brand stands by the end of the year.”
However, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Olumuyiwa Adejobi, denied knowledge of the case, raising further questions about the circumstances surrounding Chioma’s arrest.
The incident has sparked a wave of support on social media, with users demanding justice for Chioma and calling for legal actions against both Erisco Food and the Nigerian police if necessary.