Court fines Airtel N5 million for unsolicited text messages

Justice Jude Okeke of an FCT High Court, Maitama, on Wednesday imposed a fine of N5 million on Airtel Nig. Ltd., for violation of customer’s right to privacy.

Mr. Okeke delivered judgment in a suit filed by Emmanuel Anene on December 21 filed against Airtel for continued disturbance through unsolicited messages to his telephone line.

“Putting into consideration the obvious inconveniences, discomfort and embarrassments, the plaintiff had undeniably gone through, the defendant has been directed to pay to the plaintiff damages, not the N200 million the plaintiff asked for but N5 million only,” Mr. Okeke held.

The judge said that the issue for determination was whether the plaintiff’s evidence made out a case to justify the claims in the reliefs he sought.

“One of the reliefs sought an order of the court seeking award of damages.

“A plaintiff who seeks reliefs for violation of right is to succeed on the strength of his case and not on the weakness or absence of the defence, though he can rely on the absence of the defence to support his case,” he held.

He said that the court records showed that the plaintiff’s evidence of claims was served on the defendant.

“The defendant, who was afforded the opportunity, failed to file a statement of defence contradicting the plaintiff’s statement of claim, or lead evidence in challenge to the claims; it means he has admitted the facts.

“Unless the court does not believe in the evidence or sees any reason in contrary in law, it reserves a duty to act on such.

“The defendant failed to place any evidence on the other scale of balance; there is nothing against which the plaintiff’s evidence can be weighed.”

“In every wrong, there must be a remedy. To vindicate the plaintiff’s right which has been violated in the forthgoing circumstance by the defendant, the plaintiff shall be awarded damages based on the discretion of the court,” he said.


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