By Robert Egbe
A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his Campaign Director, Dr Bukola Saraki, to pay N5m damages to a Lagos trader, Amuda Adeleke, for unauthorised use of her photograph on their campaign billboard.
Justice Ayokunle Faji, who made the monetary award in a judgment on Monday, said the N5m would be jointly and severally paid by Atiku, Saraki, the PDP and Peter Obi, who was Atiku’s running mate in the poll.
In s suit marked FHC/L/CS/19, Adeleke had told the court that the defendants used her photograph on their campaign billboard without her consent.
The trader said this caused her embarrassment and she prayed the court to award N45m against the defendants for infringing on her fundamental right to privacy as enshrined, in the 1999 Constitution.
But after entering judgment in her favour, Justice Faji awarded N5m against the defendants.
In the suit, Adeleke explained that in December 2018, during the build-up to the 2019 general elections, agents of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, led by Saraki, came to Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos to campaign for Atiku and his running mate, Obi.
She said Saraki and his team engaged people on the street, including herself.
Adeleke said she saw members of the campaign train taking photographs during the engagement with the crowd and she thought it was merely to preserve the memory of the event.
Adeleke said she was however shocked when she began to receive phone calls from those who knew her, calling her attention to her photograph on the PDP campaign billboards in Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere.
“All my friends who saw the campaign billboard said it portrayed me as a woman stricken with poverty who had lost all hope and was prepared to commit suicide,” she said.