Chizoba Okoli, the husband of Chioma Okoli the customer of Erisco Foods Ltd who made a bad review of the tomato brand has said that the company’s founder and president, Eric Umeofia, ‘threatened to kidnap and kill his wife’ if she did not tender a written apology.
Okoli made the claim on Friday during a right of reply aired on Arise TV and insisted on suing the company, its founder and the Nigerian Police Force for violating his wife’s fundamental rights.
He made the allegation in response to the claims made by the founder of Erisco on Arise TV on Thursday, where he claimed that the customer was paid by his competitors to run him out of business.
Umeofia claimed that the customer regretted and denounced her statement about the product which led to her writing an apology later which must be posted on her social media page.
The Erisco founder further threatened that he would institute a N5bn lawsuit if the customer failed to post the apology on her Facebook page within seven days as agreed.
The fallout of the Facebook review began with Chioma posting on her social media on September 17 that she bought Nagiko Tomato Mix and “I decided to taste it. Sugar is just too much.”
In response, the company released a statement threatening to “take all necessary actions against any malicious attack on our reputation”, leading to her arrest in Lagos by the police and later transferred to Abuja for further questioning.
Her husband explained that she was arrested in the church and was ‘manhandled’ in the police station in Ogudu.
He narrated, “After writing her statement, we were thinking she would go home because they said it was an invitation although they didn’t give us any invitation. They collected her phone, went through the phone and after that, they kept it and thrown into the police station. She spent a night there and, in the morning, she was taken to Abuja.
“We got to Abuja around 4pm and we met a senior police officer who did not question her instead throwing accusations without allowing her to say her own side of the story. After that, we were told that the head of the IGP monitoring unit was not around and we had to come back the next day.
“She was taken to Asokoro police station where they detained her again. She slept there till Tuesday (26th September 2023) morning. She spent like three days in the station (both in Lagos and Abuja).
“Mr Eric Omeofia the owner of Erisco Foods Ltd told my wife in the presence of the policemen in the office that he will kidnap her and kill her and nothing will happen.”
Her lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, who also spoke on the show said his client did not use the “kill” in her review as claimed by the Erisco founder adding that “Chief Erisco is supposed to be arrested today.”
Effiong claimed that the apology was obtained from the customer under “threat, under operation. She is a nursing mother; she was arrested in Lagos and her statement was obtained in Lagos. The police did not take any written statement from her in Abuja.”
He added, “We are filling two cases: one is for the violation of her fundamental human right and (second) defamation. We will sue for not less than N500m. He is asking for N5bn we wish him well.”