ERISCO vs Chioma Okoli: A twin pregnancy miscarriage in police custody

Earlier this year, the Nigerian police detained Chioma Okoli based on the claims of ERISCO Foods Limited. When she was arrested by the Nigerian police, Okoli was pregnant with twins. Despite her condition, she was detained at the Suleja detention centre awaiting trial and bail hearing. During this time, Okoli lost her pregnancy due to accumulated stress and the lack of proper medical provisions at the detention centre.

In a post on X, Okoli’s lawyer, Mr Inihebe Effiong,  confirmed the miscarriage, saying,

“I can confirm that Chioma Okoli suffered a miscarriage and lost her pregnancy. I made this disclosure to the Honourable Court during yesterday’s proceedings, and it was reported by pressmen in the court.Prior to yesterday, we decided to keep this information private and to only disclose it in court. I am only stating this here due to the fact that the Court is already aware of it and many people are asking for confirmation.”

Despite all appeals by Mrs. Okoli and her team and the loss of her unborn twins, Mrs. Okoli, the Nigerian Police Force continues to double down on the claims that Mrs. Okoli is guilty of cyberbullying.

Considering the sensitivity of the case, many people are sharing their sentiments about Mrs Okoli’s miscarriage and the next steps.


Is the Chioma-ERISCO case still viable?

On April 22, the Nigerian Senate amended the Cybercrimes Act to reflect new ideologies and priorities. Reports stated that Section 24 of the Cybercrimes Act, which allegedly flagged Mrs Okoli as guilty, has now been amended, raising the question of the case’s full viability.

On September 17, 2023, Chioma Egodi Jr. made waves across Facebook with her candid feedback on Nagiko tin tomato by Erisco Foods. In a relatable post, she shared her unexpected encounter with the product, saying

Following her post, Erisco Foods LTD swiftly responded, stating they would address the allegations made by Chioma Egodi Jr., claiming her remarks were potentially harmful to their reputation.

After Chioma Egodi’s comments went public, the Nigerian Police Force allegedly detained and transported her to Abuja following a complaint by ERISCO’s founder, Eric Umeofia. This action caught the attention of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), which stepped in to demand Chioma’s release, highlighting the case’s significance.

In a dramatic turn, Erisco Foods declared its intention to file a lawsuit against Chioma Egodi Jr., seeking N5 billion in damages for allegedly inciting negative sentiments against their products. Following this legal escalation, Chioma was eventually granted bail.

The laws that permitted ERISCO Foods’ claim

Erisco Foods has initiated a legal battle seeking a three-year imprisonment or a ₦5 billion fine against Chioma Egodi, invoking Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act of 2015. This section targets individuals accused of disseminating messages that provoke annoyance, insult, enmity, hatred, ill will, or needless anxiety.

Amidst widespread public outcry over this action, the Nigerian Police Force remains unwavering in its resolve to proceed with Chioma Egodi’s prosecution. Police spokesperson Olumuyiwa Adejobi affirmed this stance, emphasising the force’s commitment to upholding the law in this high-profile case:

“This case in point underscores the necessity of enforcing existing legislation, including the Cybercrime Act, to counteract the current spate of violations of the Act and the spread of misinformation and disinformation on social media. It is vital to reaffirm that the Nigeria Police is poised to enforce all laws without fear, favour, or sentiments in its commitment to ensuring justice and transparency for all citizens. We therefore advise the suspect to cease the continual jumping bail and turn up in court, as a neutral arbiter, to determine the matter and allow justice to take its course.”

This constitution has since been amended, and Chioma Okoli has pleaded not guilty to the claims by Erisco Foods and the Nigerian Police Force.

This is a developing story.


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