Model Sues Wema Bank 97Million Naira

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Nneoma Anosike, Nigerian model based in the United States of America, has filed an action against Wema Bank Plc before a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court for allegedly using her photos for commercial purposes without authorization.

Anosike, 22, through her father – Frank Anosike (a lawyer) sued the bank claiming N97 million as damages.

The case according to the plaintiff, 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 which is her American management company.

Among her prayers, the plaintiff is seeking an order directing the defendant to pay N75 million for allegedly passing off her services, an order directing the bank to pay her N20 million for the breach of her privacy by advertising her private correspondence, an order to publish a written apology in two national dailies in Nigeria and in the U.S., and N2 million as cost of filing the suit. She is also seeking 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.

According to the statement of claims attached to the suit, the plaintiff claimed that she is a reputable international model who had won many laurels within and outside the country. 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.

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 was jeopardized.

But in its statement of defence, The bank denied using the plaintiff’s photo for any advertisement purposes or for any commercial gain but for purely free educational purpose under its Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

Justice Buba adjourned the case until November 20.

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