BREAKING: 300 Women Groups Lead Protest, Call For Boycott Of Erisco Products Over Chioma Okoli Case

A coalition of over 300 women’s groups, operating under Womanifesto, has demanded that all Nigerian women stop purchasing products from Erisco Foods Limited immediately. This boycott demand arises from the continued imprisonment of Tomato Paste reviewer Chioma Okoli, due to a complaint filed by Erisco Foods CEO, Eric Omeofia, in 2023....CONTINUE READING THE ARTICLE FROM THE SOURCE

According to him, Chioma Okoli’s negative review, alleging that the Nagiko Tomota Mix she bought had too much sugar, negatively affected his business.

In September 2023, the police arrested Okoli, with her lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, claiming that her fundamental rights were being violated by both the police and Omeofia.

Okoli is being prosecuted on charges of conspiracy and cyberstalking.

Okoli pleaded not guilty during her arraignment before Justice Peter Lifu of a Federal High Court in Abuja and was remanded in Suleja Correctional Centre until today, Friday, May 31, 2024, for the ruling on her bail application.

Human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong, along with S. M. Oyeghe, represented her, while Abdulrashid Isyaku-Sidi appeared for the Inspector-General of Police.

In a statement by Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Executive Director of Women Advocates and Research Documentation Centre (WARDC), and other signatories on behalf of over 300 women organizations, Womanifesto called on the government to come to the aid of Chioma, noting that its silence is deafening and “loudly telling us that we the consumers cannot voice our opinions about goods we purchase with our hard-earned money.”

The statement titled, “Womanifesto Demands Release of Chioma Okoli”, reads: “We call on all Nigerian women to join us to #BoycottErisco products with immediate effect, for the following reasons:

“The continued harassment & detention of Chioma Okoli. The insufferable stress and trauma that has been inflicted on Chioma Okoli since September 2023 to date, which has also led to the loss of her pregnancy.

“Loss of earnings and livelihood due to her inability to work and provide for her family as a direct consequence of the ongoing persecution and psychological molestation.

“The apparent risk and threat to her life and flagrant abuse of her human rights.

“For being subjected to constant litigation for exercising her freedom of speech and expression, including freedom to hold opinions, and to receive and impart information without interference as granted to her under section 39 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution.

“We are concerned about her ability to get justice in a country with a reputation for compromised justice.

“We salute Chioma’s continued courage, bravery and tenacity in the face of intimidation and threats. We will continue to support her quest for justice.

“It is worthy to note that in other countries where the health and nutritional well-being of the citizens are paramount, relevant government agencies would be at the forefront of the investigations into all Erisco products and the corresponding labels, instead of leaving this landmark issue in the hands of those who prioritise profit to the lives and general well-being of 200 million Nigerians.

“We call on the government to come to the aid of Chioma as your silence is deafening; loudly telling us that we the consumers cannot voice our opinions about goods we purchase with our hard earned money. Is it silence or suffer?Like it or be locked up? Purchase tomato paste, next stop prison. #ReleaseChiomanow!”

Other signatories included prominent figures such as Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, as well as organizations like Women Aid Collective (WACOL), ActionAid Nigeria, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights, Christian Women in Nigerian Politics, Christian Association of Nigeria, Women’s Wing (WOWICAN), 100 Women Lobby Group (100WLG), Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN), Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Women In Politics Forum (WiPF), Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NTWF), and Nasrul – Lahi-L- Faith Society (NASFAT).

They joined Womanifesto in calling for government support for Chioma and highlighting the importance of consumer voices in purchasing decisions.

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