30th December, 2011
An Ejigbo Magistratesâ€˜ Court in Lagos on Thursday struck out a case of a 36-year old man who pleaded guilty to the production of adulterated bleach.
Magistrate Maimunat Folami struck out the charge after Francis Ogbonnaâ€™s arraignment on a two-count charge of breach of public peace and manufacturing of adulterated product.
Although Ogbonna pleaded guilty to the charge, Folami held that the prosecution could not provide enough evidence that Ogbonna breached public peace.
She also held that the charge of manufacture of adulterated product was not contained in Section 243 (1) (2 ) of the Lagos State Criminal Code, as claimed by the prosecution.
â€œThe subject matter says â€˜bleachâ€™ and not food or drink as contained in Section 243 (1) (2),â€œ she said.
She, however, ordered that the 55 packs of the bleach be confiscated and destroyed.
The magistrate urged Ogbonna to be of good behaviour.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while pleading guilty, Ogbonna blamed the alleged acts on unemployment.
However, his counsel, Mr. J. C. Ogbedeleto, submitted that the charge was defective.
â€œBleach does not fall under the category; therefore, the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter,â€ Ogbedeleto said.
He prayed the court to dismiss the charge.
The prosecutor, Cpl. Oladejo Balogun, who tendered 55 packs of the allegedly adulterated product as exhibits, had told the court that Ogbonna contravened Section 243 (1)(2) and 249 (d) of the Criminal Code.
Balogun said that Ogbonna adulterated Hypo Bleach without the permission of the authorised manufacturer, Hypo Hygienic Products Ltd.
He said that the alleged offences occurred on or before Decemmber 15.
The prosecutor said that Ogbonna manufactured the products at his residence in Ajangbadi, and that he was arrested following a tip off.
â€œThe accused illegally manufactured adulterated Hypo Bleach without the consent and permission of the parent company, Hypo Hygienic Products Ltd.
â€œHe is aware that his product is unhygienic, yet he produces and sells for public consumption,â€œ Balogun said.
He submitted that the alleged offences were punishable under Sections 243 of the Criminal Code of Lagos State.
NAN reports that Section 243 (1) (2) states that any person who adulterates any article of food or drink, so as to make such article noxious as food or drink, intending to sell such as food or drink, is guilty of misdemeanour and is liable to one year in prison.