The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has intervened in the case of a Nigerian lady arrested by the Police for posting a negative review about an Erisco Foods product on Facebook.
The Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, while responding to the social media outcry over the arrest, said the Commission had set up a team to clarify the arrest and detention of the lady and activated the regulatory process to secure an explanation from Erisco Foods Ltd.
The lady in question Chioma Egodi Jnr. on Sept. 17, expressed her dissatisfaction on Facebook after using Nagiko Tomato Mix, one of the company’s products.
According to the lady, the tomato paste she bought had ‘too much sugar’. Erisco Foods Ltd., thereafter, issued a statement in which it faulted the claim. While noting that it recognized the rights of its customers to make genuine observations about its products, the company in the statement said, “We will take all necessary actions against any malicious attack on our reputation.”
Confirming the arrest of the lady, the FCCPC CEO via a post on X wrote:
- @fccpcnigeria operatives have confirmed the arrest & 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 are being issued to @EriscoFoodsLtd immediately.
While noting that calling out a company is not wrong, Irukera pointed out that there are “circumstances where speech is modified by fact, demotion or brand damage, but ordinarily, consequence is civil not usually criminal.”
Responding to questions from the Nigerians on the update of the case as of Tuesday morning, Irukera said:
- “Engagement underway, investigation active, Erisco under summons. We are working on the case. We will provide updates as applicable. Some engagements are either not worthy of note, or public disclosure. Rest assured we are focused.
- “Anxiety is well and rightly understood. A consumer’s liberty is at stake, and so is societal governance and accountability.”
The FCCPC is the leading authority for competition and consumer protection in Nigeria. The Commission is empowered by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018 (FCCPA) to, among other things, promote fair business practices and safeguard the interests of consumers.