Home News IGP Defies Court Order: Orders Re-Arrest of Chioma Okoli Over Erisco Tomato Review

IGP Defies Court Order: Orders Re-Arrest of Chioma Okoli Over Erisco Tomato Review

In a quite startling turn of events, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has allegedly defied court order, as officers allegedly acting on the IGP’s directive besieged and sought to re-arrest Mrs. Chioma Edoka Okoli earlier today at her residence in Sangotedo, Lagos State.

This saga traces back to September 2023 when Okoli was initially detained over her review of a tomato, Nagiko Tomato Mix, a product by Erisco Foods Limited.

According to reports from the legal counsel representing Okoli, a team of officers from Abuja, allegedly acting on the IGP’s directive, came to arrest Okoli, without providing a court order authorizing the re-arrest.

He also mentioned that this team were being supported by policemen from the Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah, Lagos. He said, “The initial team that arrived at her residence called for reinforcement after we demanded to see the court order authorizing them to rearrest her. They are currently trying to break into her house where she lives with her baby.”

According to the Human Rights Activist, Inibehe Effiong, who also happens to be Okoli’s lawyer, the latest attack on Chioma is in connection with the ongoing case between his client and the police on the instigation of Erisco Foods Limited and its founder, Chief Eric Umeofia, wherein the police had secretly filed a “charge” against Chioma at the Federal High Court in Abuja instead of Lagos where the case arose.

When the case filed by the police in Abuja came up on 7th December 2023, the police counsel informed the court that they were unable to serve his client, Chioma Okoli, with the charge, even though no attempt was made. The case was then adjourned by the ruling Justice to Wednesday, 10th January 2024 for hearing of the motion.

“We are astonished that the police would turn around today to invade the residence of my client and harass her and her baby without recourse to the court where the charge is currently pending.

“My client has not been served with any charge, summons, or arraignment notice as required by law. The case is before the court and is coming up tomorrow, 10th January 2024 for the hearing of the motion the police said they would file to secure a court order to serve my client with their “charge” and accompanying documents.” stated Okoli’s lawyer.

He also stated, “The team leader told me over the phone that he is a DSP, and that he has four ASPs with him and other police officers. He also told me that the PSO to the IGP spoke with him directly and that he cannot disobey the order of the IGP despite the court order barring the police from re-arresting my client.”

Questioning the IGP directive to overrule the subsisting order of a court of competent jurisdiction, Inibehe Effiong condemned this reckless display of utter impunity, calling on the IGP to abide by the rule of law and direct his officers to allow the court to handle the case in line with due process.

“My client is presumed innocent of any charge filed against her by Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution. This is an action that can only be tolerated in a banana republic.” he stated.


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