Justice Esohe Ikpomwen of Edo High Court, on Wednesday, ordered the Nigerian Breweries Plc, to apologise to one of its customers, Prof. Ernest Izevbigie, for the wrongful inscription of “low sugar’’ on its product.
Izevbigie, a professor of Biochemistry had alleged that the company inscribed misleading information, “low sugar,” on the can of one of its non-alcoholic drinks, Amstel Malt.
The claimant had sued NB plc through his lawyer, Okonkwo Emmanuel of Henry Idahagbon and Co. (Trinity Chambers).
Izevbigie, the former Vice-Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University, Benin, said that a laboratory investigation revealed that the product contained more sugar than the company put on the brand.
He urged the court to order the company to tender a written apology to him as he had been injured by the deception.
Izevbigie also prayed the court to pronounce that the inscription on the product was misleading to the public.
Delivering judgment, Ikponmwen, the Chief Judge of the state, ordered the company to tender an unreserved apology to members of the public who might have been lured by the “trade trick’’ of low sugar on the can.
The judge, however, held that evidence before the court showed that the sugar content of Amstel Malt was between the approved 10 per cent and 15 per cent of sugar by the regulatory body.
She said NB should have indicated that the sugar content contained in the product was lower than other beverage non-alcoholic drinks rather than the “low sugar’’ inscription.
Ikponmwen held that while she might not grant the request suggesting that the information was deceitful, she held that it was a trade trick competition taken too far by the firm.
She held that the claimant’s request urging the court to hold that Amstel malt was a normal non-alcoholic drink and not “low sugar’’ succeeded.
“The defendant is ordered to apologise to the claimant and other public consumers in Nigeria for making them to erroneously believe that Amstel malt is low in sugar within 30 days from the date of this judgment,’’ she held.