Justice Esohe Ikponmwen of Edo High Court will on Nov. 30, decide whether Nigerian Breweries Plc is guilty of alleged deception in a suit filed against it by a professor of Biochemistry.
Ernest Izevbigie, former Vice Chancellor of the Benson Idahosa University, Benin, has accused the company of allegedly inscribing misleading information “low sugar’’ on the can of one of its non-alcoholic beverages, Amstel Malta.
The claimant, through his counsel, Mr Emmanuel Okonkwo of Henry Idahagbon’s chamber alleged in his suit: B/281/17 that a laboratory test result revealed that Amstel Malta drink contained more sugar than the company claimed in the inscription on the brand.
Izevbigie, therefore, urged the court to order the company to tender a written apology to him as he had been injured by the alleged deception.
He further asked the court to pronounce that the inscription on the product was misleading to the public.
The claimant told the court that he discovered during a routine medical examination that his blood sugar level was high, which was traced to his regular consumption of the said Malt drink.
Izevbigie, had during cross examination by the defence counsel, Mr L. Ogefere, maintained that the Amstel Malta did not merit the “low sugar’’ label, saying it was deceitful as proven by clinical research.
The claimant had responded that he had been taking Amstel drink with the belief that he was taking a low sugar malt drink of less than 2.5g of sugar content as universally recognised.
He said rather, the drink contained 10 cubes of sugar from clinical research.
Izevbigie said he surprisingly discovered that his blood sugar level went beyond the normal range “which prompted me to carry out analysis /research’’.
“And my findings showed that Amstel Malta drink is just a regular/normal malta drink and not low sugar drink as wrongly, mischievously and deceitfully claimed by the defendant.
“The defendant at all time did not act within the regulatory requirement of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON).’’
But the defendant who denied the allegation, saying all its products complied with the prescribed nutritional value in accordance with best practice, asked the court to strike out the suit for lack of merit.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, both parties, through their counsel, adopted their written addresses, maintaining their earlier positions during trial.
Justice Ikponmwen consequently adjourned judgment until Nov. 30. (NAN)