Nigeria – Model sued Wema Bank with 97Million Naira

Nigerian model based in the United States of America, Nneoma Anosike’s lawsuit against Wema Bank PLC resumed on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos as she’s suing the financial institution for the unauthorised use of her pictures for commercial purposes.

Nneoma Anosike, 22, sued the bank through her father, Frank Anosike, who is also her lawyer, the model is asking the court to award her N97 million as damages.

According to Nneoma Anosike, the bank on April 11, 2016, used her photo for a commercial on a social network platform – Instagram, without her consent or authorization from Ford Models Inc, her American management company.

The picture was used for an advert with the bank’s corporate logo beside her face and the words, “Be yourself, Everyone else is taken”.

Nneoma Anosike’s claims to the bank includes;

  • N75 million for allegedly passing off her services
  • N20 million for the breach of her privacy by advertising her private correspondence,
  • N2 million as cost of filing the suit
  • a written apology in two national dailies in Nigeria and in the US
  • an injunction restraining the defendant from passing off or causing others to pass off her professional services and a declaration that she is entitled to her privacy of her correspondence under Section 37 of the Nigerian Constitution.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Nneoma Anosike’s father appeared as the case’s sole witness to reveal to the court how Wema Bank’s unauthorised use of her pictures had jeopardized negotiations for a contract renewal with the management company as her professional photo was edited and further advertised on the bank’s website. The plaintiff further averred that her contract with Ford Models Inc took her to the U.S. and that prior to the defendant’s advert of her, she was in negotiations with the company for a renewal of her contract. But on April 11 last year, according to Anosike, the management of Ford Models summoned her to a meeting on April 12 wherein she was presented with her photo advert procured from the Instagram account of the defendant. She alleged that the defendant mutilated and edited her professional photo for the said advert uploaded on the internet, adding that based on that action, her contract renewal with the American company has been jeopardized.

But in its statement of defence, Wema Bank Plc averred that the bank was not a party to the alleged modelling contract between the plaintiff and the American company and was not privy to it. The defendant rejected the claim that the picture had been used for commercial purposes, claiming instead that it was used for purely free educational purpose under its Corporate Social Responsibility programme. And argued that the photo was acquired from social media for its weekly online motivational and educational series, intended to inspire online users.

Justice Buba adjourned the case until November 20.

The model had won the ‘Elite Model Look’ in 2013 and made brand ambassador for Aquafina water by Pepsi-Cola Nigeria before she left the country to work for Ford Models Inc in the US.

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