A Lagos-based trader, Mrs Amuda Adeleke, Tuesday filed a suit at a Federal High Court in Lagos, against former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki for allegedly using her picture on campaign billboards without her consent.
Saraki was the Director-General of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation for the 2019 General Election.
Joined in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/./19, are the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku, who was the party’s presidential flag bearer, and his running mate, Mr. Peter Obi.
Amuda, in the suit filed by her counsel, Kingsley Iheakaram, is claiming N45 million from the respondents jointly and severally as compensation for the “unlawful, unauthorised and unconstitutional use of her image by the respondents.”
The applicant is also seeking an order of the court directing the immediate withdrawal and destruction of the campaign materials containing her unauthorised images anywhere within and outside Nigeria.
She is also seeking a court declaration that the alleged unauthorised “use, publication and display of her image as advertisement” by Saraki as head of the Atiku, Obi Presidential Campaign Organisation constitutes a breach and an infringement of her fundamental right to privacy as enshrined, guaranteed and provided for in the 1999 Constitution.
The applicant in an affidavit in support of the Originating Motion averred that last December 4, 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 in the 2019 presidential race.
It was further averred that in the course of the campaign, AACO 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 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.
She further stated 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.
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 country while people started calling her from different places.
She added 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 that had lost all hope and was prepared to commit suicide.
However, the respondents in their counter-affidavit to the suit, while they all denied some of the plaintiff’s averment, said the 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 snapshots or photographs with her.
The defendants 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 defendants 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 Omulekulo during the interview as contained in the consent agreement she signed with AHC Productions Limited.
The Defendants averred that the applicant was so excited about this possibility of a change of government.
They claimed 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 used for the electronic campaigns advertisement were duly paid and made to sign an agreement before their photographs and names were used.
They urged the court to dismiss the suit.
Justice Ayokunle Faji fixed January 27, 2020, for further hearing.