By Innocent Anaba
A trading company, Exim Vinson Nigeria Limited, has dragged Nestle Nigeria Plc before a Lagos High Court for allegedly misleading the public with its products, Maggi cube and Maggi Chicken, which were manufactured in Cote dâ€™Ivoire but have on their label â€œMade in Nigeria.â€
Managing Director of Exim Vinson, Mr Samuel Ngwa, in the suit is demanding N10 million against Nestle over an alleged breach of contract and $50,973 as special damage, being the money himself and the company expended in their effort to secure the release of goods bought from the defendant (Nestle).
The matter is before Justice Jumoke Pedro.
The claimants in their statement of claim, contend that on or about Mach 30, 2005 they purchased from the defendant, 460 cartons of Nestle products comprising of 360 cantons of Maggi cubes and 100 cartons of Maggi chicken cubes and that during negotiations, they made it clear to the defendant that the goods were to be exported to the United States of America and after the purchase of the products, they proceeded to export same to the USA and on arrival at the USA, the claimant alleged that the Maggi chicken cubes alongside other goods bought by them were blocked by the US Department of Agriculture at Newark Port, New Jersey.
The claimants said the US Department of Agriculture demanded to know whether the Nestle Maggi chicken cubes were produced at a temperature above 100 degrees centigrade so as to ensure that the chicken part of the Nestle chicken cubes is fit for human consumption, following which they promptly passed the question to the defendant, from whom the products were bought but got a shocker when the defendant in its reply informed them that the Maggi chicken cubes were not produced in Nigeria but in Ivory Coast.
According to them, the revelation that the products were not produced in Nigeria is contrary to all known standard manufacturing practices and consumer protection regulations requiring the manufacturer of a commodity to display on its label the date and place of manufacture and that their detained goods started attracting demurrage charges and this fact was brought to the attention of the defendant.
However, in its statement of defence, Lanre Oliyide, the defendantâ€™s lawyer denied most of the averments of the claimants but acknowledged that the claimants requested information as to whether the chicken portion of the Maggi chicken cubes was heated to a temperature of 100 degrees centigrade as required by the US Department of Agriculture and USA Customs of Newark, NJ Port but was immediately informed that he never discussed shipment of the goods to USA.