MAN calls for regulations to protect manufacturers, consumers

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria is calling for fair regulatory frameworks to protect the interests of both consumers and manufacturers.

Ajayi-Kadir, the Director General of MAN, emphasized the importance of equitable protection for both parties in light of a recent social media incident involving Erisco Foods and a dissatisfied customer, Mrs. Chioma Egodi, who criticized Nagiko Tomato Mix, a product of Erisco Foods, for its taste in a Facebook post on September 17, 2023.

Ajayi-Kadir commended the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria for conducting thorough investigations that cleared the manufacturer of any wrongdoing in the matter.

Highlighting the challenging business environment in Nigeria, Ajayi-Kadir stressed the vital role of consumer support in sustaining local manufacturing enterprises. He advocated for a shift in consumer behavior towards favoring domestic products and promoting their quality globally.

In September 2023, Mrs. Chioma Okoli faced arrest after posting a now-deleted Facebook review criticizing Erisco tomato paste for its sweetness. Erisco Foods Ltd. promptly refuted the allegation and pledged to defend its reputation against what it considered malicious attacks. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, under former CEO Babatunde Irukera, intervened to seek clarity on the arrest and initiate regulatory procedures.

Erisco Food Founder Eric Umeofia mentioned potential settlement terms but disputed FCCPC’s role in Chioma’s release, attributing it instead to her uncle. The incident prompted scrutiny of the product’s registration, leading the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to confirm Eriscofoods’ Nagiko Tomato Mix’s registration in 2021.

In response, Erisco Foods announced plans to sue Okoli for N5 billion, alleging damage to their reputation from her failure to issue a public apology. Okoli’s lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, declared readiness to counter-sue, asserting that the apology was signed under duress.

Effiong also announced plans to file a lawsuit against Erisco Foods for violating fundamental human rights and defaming Chioma’s character during an Arise TV interview. The Nigerian police reiterated their commitment to pursuing the case to completion. Nigerians voiced their concerns and opinions about Erisco Foods’ products on social media amidst the ongoing dispute.

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