One of Nigeria’s telecom operator, Airtel Nigeria Ltd has been slammed a fine of N5 million for the violation of customer’s right to privacy.
Justice Jude Okeke of an Abuja High Court gave the verdict on Tuesday, while delivering judgement in suit filed by Mr. Emmanuel Anene against Airtel for continuous disturbances through unsolicited messages to his line.
The judge held that the crucial issue that calls for determination here was whether or not that the plaintiff evidence made out a case to justify the claims in the reliefs he sought. He said the burden of proof could shift from party to party until the issue in contention is resolved.
The court records showed that the plaintiff evidence of claims was served on the defendant and led evidence in the support of same. “The defendant who was afforded the opportunity failed to file statement of defence contradicting the plaintiff’s statement of claim or fails to lead evidence in challenge to the claims; it means he had admitted the facts.
Okeke held that the plaintiff complained about disturbances and distractions which he did solicit for, from the defendant but the defendant did not reply nor do anything about it.
“The plaintiff having purchase the defendant telephone number a contractual relationship is satisfied, the defendant is in violation of the right to the plaintiff privacy.
“The defendant, having received complaints from the plaintiff, but continued to disturb the plaintiff from quiet enjoyment of the line.
“In every wrong there must be a remedy, to vindicate the plaintiff’s right which has been violated in the fourth going circumstance by the defendant; the plaintiff shall be awarded damages based on the discretion of the court.
“Against this background putting into consideration the obvious inconveniences, discomfort and the 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.