There is a twist in the case of a 50-year old blind man, Samuel Ikeh, whose empty bottles were seized by NAFDAC for allegedly refusing to sell the empty bottle to the Director of Skit Brady, Emeka Ikeh, in Lagos State.
P.M.EXPRESS reports that NAFDAC was said to have released official documents on their operations in Nigeria to Jas Hennessey based in France, which they used to file a suit against Ikeh and others at the Federal High Court, Lagos, asking for N100m as damages for picking their bottles from refuse dumps and selling to users as waste products in Nigeria.
The suit was filed by the same lawyer, Barrister A.O. Aponmade, who wrote a rejoinder in P.M.EXPRESS for NAFDAC and Mrs. Uba, who was said to have been used to seize the empty bottles at Adeniyi Adele Police Command, Lagos.
While the Code of Conduct Bureau at Abuja is still investigating the conduct of Mrs. Uba over the seizure of the empty bottles, Barrister Aponmade, whose chamber is located on Ikorodu Road, Obanikoro, Lagos, went and filed a suit before the Federal High Court asking the Court to order the blind Samuel Ikeh, his wife and others to pay Hennessey N100m as damages for picking and selling the empty bottles from refuse dumps, and which was allegedly used for adulteration. He also stated that the Court should order NAFDAC to crush the empty bottles seized from Samuel Ikeh.
In the statement of claims, it stated that the claimant is a company incorporated under the law of Republic of France and manufactures Hennessey Cognac and other drinks.
That the defendants, Samuel Ikeh and his wife, were the owners of empty Hennessey bottles seized by the Police in a truck sometime in January 2021 and NAFDAC at a warehouse located at Isheri Olowora in Lagos State.
That the Court should order NAFDAC to invoke their powers under section of counterfeit and fake drugs and wholesome processed food and to prosecute Samuel Ikeh and others for aiding and abetting by picking empty bottles and supplying to manufacture fake Hennessey.
The witness in the matter is one Olumide Festus Olurungbohunmi, who in statement on oath stated that he is Practice and Investigation Manager of Barrister A.O.Aponmade and Co, solicitor to Hennessey, who is the plaintiff in the matter and stated that he is conversant with the facts therein.
P.M.EXPRESS has written to Jas Hennessey in France to ascertain if they were actually behind the litigation; they promised to get back to us but nothing has been heard from them as at the time of filing this report.
The man in the picture, Samuel Ikeh, got blind in Lagos but still continued his business of buying and selling empty used bottles with the help of his wife by picking them from various refuse dumps and was selling to Emeka Ikeh, who uses them to produce Skit drinks.
However, Samuel was said to have had a disagreement with Emeka Ikeh over the price of supplying him the used bottles. According to embittered Samuel, he was selling the bottles for N450 per bag to him for seven years before sometime in January, 2021, when he asked Emeka to add some money to it and be buying for N600 in order to cover his cost of buying and washing the bottles. But Emeka refused insisting that some of the bottles he was buying from him were his products.Hence, Samuel had a customer, who offered to buy at N1000 and he loaded one truck worth about N3.5m to sell in Aba, Abia State.
Samuel said when Emeka got the information that he had loaded the bottles to sell to another customer, he arranged with armed Police officers from Adeniji Adele, Lagos and stormed his shop at Kara Market area of Ogun State. The Police alleged that they got information that Samuel loaded arms and ammunition inside the truck with the bottles to Aba.
The truck was impounded and taken to Adeniji Adele, Lagos, for investigation but the Police later found out that the information as alleged by Emeka, who was the complainant, was false and the Police released the truck with the bottles to Samuel.
It was at that point that Emeka then contacted Mrs. Uba at NAFDAC office at Apapa and she sent some officers to Adeniji Adele. The bottles were seized and taken to their office at Mobil Road in Apapa, Lagos.
At the NAFDAC office, Mrs. Uba was said to have asked the blind man, Samuel Ikeh, to sign an undertaking that he will sell the empty bottles only to the Skit director, Emeka, at the amount he wanted to buy them. As he refused, she then ordered her officers to go to Samuel Ikeh’s shop and impound his remaining bottles but allowed others in the same market to continue to sell the same bottles.