A group under the aegis of concerned Nigerians have come out to protest against what they described as hate speech emanating from the MD of PepsiCo Nigeria where he said, “One company will flourish, one will diminish, another will finish. B-brand model of business will either become a temptation for anyone who has a bit of money to start own brand in Nigeria, or a curse that ensures no one takes such decision again.”
Here are screenshots from the leaked mail
According to the Group, ever since this issue came to the public domain, PepsiCo has not come out to react to the issue in the contest. They had a press conference two days ago, and Journalists asked them questions in respect of the outburst, but they declined specific questions on the matter.
Speaking on behalf of the group today in Lagos, during the protest at Seven-Up Bottling Company, Motor Ways Ikeja, the Chief Strategist of the group, Olamide Wallington disclosed that, “we are a non-governmental organization under the aegis of CONCERNED NIGERIANS and the essence of this gathering is to stage a peaceful protest against unhealthy competition, and also ask the government to protect local brands against harsh competition in the market.
“We want the government to come up with legislation against the unhealthy competition. Competition is allowed, but there should be sanity in players’ choice of words,” he added.
While responding to questions on whether the foreign brands pose a threat to indigenous ones, he pointed out that, “they have been here for ages, and no one is questioning their existence, but in a situation where handlers of the foreign brands begin to use hate speech in their competition messages, I think that is totally unacceptable.”
“It is a free market, but we are asking policymakers in Nigeria to come up with a policy that will protect the local brands from unhealthy competition.”
For instance, he continued, “the essence of closing the border is to appreciate our own locally made brands. Therefore, the government should not allow anything that will amount to hate speech in this market.”
Reacting to what the group intend to do with respect to recent outburst by one of the conglomerate, he said that, “that is why we here and we want the Pepsi company to know that our locally made soft drinks are of great standard and Nigerians will not fold their arms and watch someone saying we are a no match in our own market.”
Whether they intend to make any formal report to the government, he stated, “that is why we are here. We want the government to know that we are not happy with the recent outburst by the Pepsi company. Therefore, the government should swing into action immediately and call the culprit to order.”
When our correspondent approached the representative of the Pepsi company in the person of Kalu Nwokoto, who came to witness the protest, he declined to comment on the issue.
See more photos from the protest