Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate has waded into the raging battle in Nigeria’s carbonated soft drink industry between Rite Foods Limited, makers of Bigi drinks and Seven-Up Bottling Company.
The intervention follows a petition by lawyers to Rite Foods against Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc and its Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Ziad Maalouf.
The matter was referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for investigations and further legislative action.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Ayo Akinyelure, told newsmen in Abuja that the two companies had been given two weeks to resolve their differences and report back on the way forward.
The lawmaker who brokered a closed door deal between the two warring parties in a session yesterday, also dismissed media reports that the problem had gone out of hand, stressing the issues were being over exaggerated.
Akinyelure said they decided to shut out the media to avoid further escalation of the issue, adding that resolving the problem will help the industry and also create more jobs. He said: “As senior citizens and the true representatives of the people, we decided to have a closed door session with the parties involved. We decided to do this so that we can protect all of them. “At the end of the meeting which was very fruitful, we decided to give the two parties two weeks to resolve the issues and report back to us. We will then take a decision that will be in the interest of everyone.
“We don’t want any crisis in that sector. We want them to prosper and employ more Nigerians. They’re among the big players in the industry and we want peace. That is all I can tell you for now.”