Onitsha-based entrepreneur, Okey Joseph Okeke, popularly known as ‘Big Fish’ has been arraigned at the Federal High Court, Awka on a three-count charge of selling and importing unwholesome processed foods, including Goya extra virgin cooking oil, Olivia cooking vegetable oil among others.
Francis Ekpone stated that In the charge number FHC/Awk/C/88/17 before Justice I.N Oweibo, the prosecuting counsel on behalf of the Federal Government and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), alleged that the accused person whose shop is located at No. L-D 2/5 Abuja Plaza complex, Onitsha, Anambra State on or about the 23rd day of October 2017, “within the jurisdiction of the honourable court did sell unwholesome processed food to wit-Olivia vegetable cooking oil, Goya Extra Virgin cooking oil, King Brajole Deluxe whisky, Loko Bitters Alcoholic whisky and white Mischief Ultra-Pure Vodka, thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (1) (a) of counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed food Act CAP C34 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 3 (a) of the same Act.
Count 2 of the charge stated that the suspect, Okey Okeke under same date and place did sell food to wit, Olivia vegetable cooking oil, Goya extra Virgin cooking oil, King Brajole Deluxe whisky, Loko Bitters Alcoholic whisky and white Mischief Ultra-Pure Vodka without registration and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (1) of food, Drugs and related products (Registration etc.) Act Cap F.33 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 6 (1) (a) of the same Act.
Count 3 of the charge also noted that the suspect, under the same date and place did import foods, to wit the above products without registration and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (1) of food, Drugs and Related products (Registration etc) Act Cap F. 33 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 6 (1) (a) of the same Act.
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The suspect, Okey pleaded not guilty and was granted bail in the sum of N500, 000. He was, however, remanded in police custody pending the satisfaction of his bail conditions following his counsel’s motion on notice, praying the court for an order to admit the applicant on bail pending the trial of the matter.
Counsel to the Federal Government of Nigeria and NAFDAC, Mr. Nnamdi Obi, in an interview, noted that original Goya extra virgin Olive oil is exclusively marketed in Nigeria by Ekulo International Limited, stressing that NAFDAC is poised to the eradication fake and substandard products in the country no matter whose ox is gored.
He lamented the increasing rate of importation and selling of substandard products in various markets in the country, warning the public to beware of all unregistered products.