A Lagos-based trader, Mrs. Amuda Adeleke, has dragged former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar before the Federal High Court in Lagos over the unauthorised use of her picture on campaign billboards during the last general elections.
Apart from Atiku and Saraki, who was the Director-General of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, other defendants in the case are: the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi.
The trader, in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/./19, is claiming the the sum of N45 million from the respondents jointly and severally as compensation for the unlawful , unauthorised and unconstitutional use of her image by the respondents.
Mrs. Adeleke, who filed the suit through her counsel, Kingsley Iheakaram, is also seeking for an order of the court directing the immediate withdrawal and destruction of the campaign materials containing her unauthorised images anywhere within and outside Nigeria.
The applicant is further asking the court for a declaration that the unauthorised use, publication and display of her image as advertisement by Saraki as head of the Atiku, Obi Presidential Campaign Organisation constitute a breach and infringement of her fundamental right, to privacy as enshrined, guaranteed and provided for in the 1999 Constitution.
The applicant in an affidavit filed in support of the Originating Motion averred that sometimes on December 4, 2018, the agents of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation (AACO) under the leadership of Dr. Bukola Saraki led a campaign on behalf of Atiku and Obi to Oyin Jolayemi Street Victoria Island, Lagos, to draw support for the candidacy of Atiku and Obi for the 2019 presidential polls.
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She further averred that in the course of the campaign, AACO and and Saraki began to personally engage the individuals, traders entrepreneurs and other citizens on the said street including the plaintiff on their expectations in respect of the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
The plaintiff said that during the interactive engagement, most of the individuals in the locality of the campaign including herself pledged support for Atiku and Obi due to the harsh economic situation in the country.
The applicant claimed that during the interaction Saraki and his agents took photographs without informing her that they were going to put them to any use and that she did not think much of it, thinking the first respondent took the picture just to commemorate the event.
Mrs. Adeleke said that it was afterwards that she started seeing her pictures being used on campaign Bill Boards both in Lagos, Abuja and other places in the county while people strated calling her from different places.
She maintained that sequel to the infringement on her privacy, she had to take time to explain to friends, relatives and well wishers who had been inundating her with calls of the true state of affairs in regard to the unauthorised display of her image on billboards.
The plaintiff said all her friends who saw the advert said it portrayed her as a woman stricken by poverty who had lost all hope and was prepared to commit suicide.
However, the respondents in their counter affidavit to the suit, denied some of the plaintiff’s averement, insisting that Atiku and Obi did not meet the plaintiff physically or in any other manner in the course of their campaign in Lagos State and neither took snapshot or photograph with her.
The respondents stated that all matters of electronic/billboards campaigns were contracted out to Messrs AHC Production Limited and so she was contacted and interviewed by that company.
The first and second respondents said they were informed by Mr Tokunbo Omulekulo of the said AHC Productions Limited at the PDP office in Abuja that the name of the applicant is not Mrs Amuda Adeleke, but Tope Olukolu with GSM phone number 08035059775 which is the name she gave to Tokunbo Omulekulo during the interview as contain in the consent agreement she signed with AHC Productions Limited.
They claimed that the applicant was so excited about about this possibility of a change of government that can restore economic stability and guarantee the security of life and Properties and generally make Nigeria to work again as represented by Atiku and Obi.
That the applicant, his friends and neighbours knew that their pictures were going to be used for electronic campaigns for Atiku and Obi and that each person’s used for the electronic campaigns advertisement were dully paid and made to sign an agreement before their photographs and names were used.
The respondents maintained that the action of the plaintiff it’s a clear case of goal digging because when the electronic billboards advertisement were going on, the applicant called Mr Tokunbo Omulekulo and asked for more money to be given because the advert was more than what she expected.
They therefore urged the court to dismiss the case for lacking in merit.
Justice Ayokunle Faji has adjourned the matter till January 27, 2020 for hearing.