NIGERIA – Fijabi Adebo, the man in the center of the Fanta, Sprite High Court ruling has appealed the lower court’s judgement to an appellate Court seeking unspecified damages from the Nigerian Bottling Company (“NBC”).
In the appeal filed at a Lagos Apellate Court, his counsel, Mr. Abiodun Onidare, argued that the trial judge failed to award damages and grant the reliefs sought by the petitioner, Fijabi Adebo and his firm Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited against NBC.
“The judge ignored the facts and the evidence before the court that the NBC was liable to Dr. Adebo and other consumers of its products, especially Fanta and Sprite, which was held to contain excessive benzoic acid and sunset yellow,” Onidare said.
“And the fact that it was declared unfit for human consumption by the Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council’s Trading Standard Department of Environment and Economy Directorate, United Kingdom and also corroborated by Coca Cola European Union being the food regulatory bodies of the United Kingdom and Europe on the NBC’s Franchise consequently negligent in its duty of care to the petitioner and other consumers”.
Adebo, through his counsel, urged the appellate court to set aside the decision of the lower court.
It would be recalled that a Lagos High Court awarded Mr. Adebo and his firm N2m against the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
For its part, NBC also appealed the lower court’s judgement, urging the appellate court, through its counsel to strike out the portion of the ruling instructing NAFDAC to mandate NBC to include a written caution on bottles of its soft drinks containing benzoic acid and that they should not be consumed with Vitamin C.
The counsel for NBC, Mr. Tunde O. Busari (SAN) based his recommendation on the fact that the petitioner neither sought the pronouncement nor prayed for it but the lower court proceeded to grant the said reliefs.
NAFDAC, which had also appealed the lower court decision, urged the appeal court through its counsel, Prof Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) to dismiss the petitioner’s amended statement of claim on the ground that the N2m compensatory damage award was gratuitous as the petitioner did not claim any money from the company.
In a submitted counter affidavit, the petitioner, Mr. Adebo and his firm urged the appeal court to throw out the two applications filed by NBC and NAFDAC on the grounds that the safety of the people was of paramount consideration to the court and as such there is a need to safeguard members of the public.
April 13, 2017: Beverage Industry News