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A Nigerian woman who reviewed some tomato puree online is facing jail




A Nigerian woman who reviewed some tomato puree online is facing jail after its manufacturer accused her of making a "malicious allegation" that damaged its business. Okoli, a small-scale importer of children's wear, was arrested after posting on Facebook that she found a tomato puree she bought in place of her usual brands too sweet.


Okoli was charged with instigating Erisco Foods Limited, and was separately charged with conspiring with two other individuals to instigate people against Erisco Foods Limited. She faces a seven-year sentence if convicted. Okoli is also being sued by Erisco, for her comments, which it says led to several suppliers disassociating themselves from it. Okoli told CNN she was arrested by plainclothes police and detained in a leaky police cell. The police filed a case against Okoli in an Abuja court on October 5, and the first court hearing took place on December 7. Okoli told CNN that a month later, police entered her Lagos home and attempted to arrest her despite a restraining order.


Okoli's legal team is now gearing up for the two legal cases, which they describe as a David vs. Goliath battle. They have filed a 500 million naira countersuit against Erisco and the police, challenging her arrest and detention.

A Nigerian legal and public affairs analyst told CNN that there are limits to the freedom of speech defense, and that cybercrime is difficult to prove in court.

Okoli's case has sparked protests at Erisco's Lagos facility, but the company's founder has refused to drop the lawsuit against Okoli.


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