HomeNewsPregnant Nigerian's Ordeal, After Critic Of Erisco Tomato Puree, Gains CNN, Others'...

Pregnant Nigerian’s Ordeal, After Critic Of Erisco Tomato Puree, Gains CNN, Others’ Attention

A pregnant Nigerian mom was arrested and tossed in jail for making an online post criticizing a local brand of tomato puree, reports said.

Chioma Okoli, 39, is facing up to a year behind bars for allegedly breaching Lagos’ cybercrime law, after she said a can of tomato sauce by Nigerian brand Erisco Foods was too sweet in her social media comment.

Pregnant Nigerian woman Chioma Okoli was arrested for criticizing a local brand of tomato paste in a post online.

Pregnant Nigerian woman Chioma Okoli was arrested for criticizing a local brand of tomato puree in a post online.

The mom of three remarked on Facebook last September to her 18,000 followers. She said she picked up the Erisco’s Nagiko Tomato Mix because her store was out of the brand she typically bought.

“I went to but Tin tomatoes yesterday that I will use to make stew, but didn’t see my favourites, so I decided to buy this one. When I opened it, I decided to taste it omo! Sugar is just too much! Haa biko let me know if you hav used this tin tomato before because this is an ikegwuru situation!” Okoli wrote.

The post, which included an image of the product, generated friction between Okoli and other social media users and gained over 3,000 comments.

“Stop spoiling my brother product, if you don’t like it, use another one than bring it to social media or call the customer service Erisco Foods Limited,” one person wrote.

In response, Okoli replied: “Help me advise your brother to stop ki–ing people with his product; yesterday was my first time using it, and it’s pure sugar. Tueh!”

A week after making the post, on Sept. 24, Okoli was arrested, according to CNN.

Okoli, who is pregnant with her fourth child, told CNN she was arrested at church by a plainclothes cop.

“I was put in the cell around 6 p.m. There were no seats, so I stood all through till the next day. My legs were inside the water (that came from the jail cell’s leaking roof). Sometimes, I squatted to reduce the pressure on my legs. I was thinking about my children who were at home. I was talking to myself. I would think, I would pray, I was messed up,” she said.

She was released the following day on bail on the condition that she apologize — which her attorney says she only agreed to under duress. She has not issued an apology.

The Nigeria Police Force accused Okoli of using her Facebook “with the intention of instigating people against Erisco Foods,” according to legal filings viewed by CNN.

Police later noted in a March 7 statement that their investigation has “unearthed compelling evidence indicating Mrs. Chioma’s alleged role in the violation of extant laws, particularly those related to the proper use of the cyberspace.”

If she is found guilty, Okoli could face up to three years in jail or a fine of 7 million naira ($5,000), or both.

Okoli was also charged with conspiring with two other individuals “with the intention of instigating people against Erisco Foods Limited.” If convicted of this charge she could face a seven-year prison sentence.

She is also being sued by Erisco for over $3 million. The company claims it is defending its reputation after her comments “resulted in several suppliers deciding to disassociate” with the brand.

Okoli says she plans to file a counter-suit against the police and food company.

NYP Holdings, Inc.


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