The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has awarded the sum of N5 million against the 2019 Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his campaign director, Dr Bukola Saraki, over unauthorized use of the photograph of a Lagos-based trader, Mrs Amuda Adeleke, on their campaign billboard.
Justice Ayokunle Faji, who made the monetary award in a judgment delivered 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 during the election.
In a fundamental rights enforcement suit brought before the court, Adeleke through her lawyer, Kingsley Iheakaram, said the defendants used her photograph on their campaign billboard without seeking her consent.
Adeleke also explained that in December 2018, during the build-up to the 2019 general elections, agents of the Atiku Abubakar Organisation, led by Saraki, came to Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos to campaign and mobilize support 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.
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.
The trader said the unauthorised use of her photograph for the PDP presidential campaign caused her embarrassment.
She, therefore, asked the court to award N45m against the defendants for infringing on her fundamental right to privacy as enshrined, in the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Faji gave judgment in her favour and subsequently awarded N5 million only against the defendants.