Erisco Foods Saga: Court Grants Chioma Okoli ₦5m Bail

Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted Chioma Okoli ₦5 million bail with two sureties in like sum over allegations bordering on her online commentary on Erisco Foods Limited’s tomato paste. While admitting her to bail, Justice Lifu said that one of the sureties must be the defendant’s spouse or blood relative with a variable source of income and also residing within the jurisdiction of the court.....Read The Full Story Here ▶

The judge ordered the sureties to deposit a passport photograph for each, and directed the defendant to also deposit her international passport, if any.

Justice Lifu agreed with the arguments of her lawyer that the offence with which Okoli was charged was a bailable one.

Justice Lifu further held that pursuant to Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The judge added that denying her bail is a wrong application of discretion which will amount to a pre-trial judgment and judicial rascality.

He equally based the ruling on the health status of Okoli.

He adjourned the matter until June 13 for further hearing.

Okoli is being charged over her online commentary on Erisco Foods Limited’s tomato paste which the police alleged violated the Cybercrime Act, 2015.

She was arraigned before Justice Lifu by the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police on a two-count charge bordering on cyber crime.

She pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

The police had in September 2023 arrested Mrs Okoli over claim in a review that a tomato paste she bought in a market tasted sugary.

The paste which she referred to in her review is the Nagiko tomato mix, which is manufactured by Erisco Foods Limited, Lagos.

She made her review in a post on her Facebook page “Chioma Egodi Jnr” on 17 September, 2023.

A few days after Okoli’s post, police operatives arrested her in Lagos and flew her to Abuja for interrogation following a complaint by Erisco Foods Limited.

Erisco Foods Limited had in statement described Okoli’s claim that the Nagiko tomato paste tastes sugary as “untrue and unfounded.”

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