Model demands N75m from Wema Bank over copyright infringement

Segun Oloketuyi MD Wema Bank
Wema Bank MD, Segun Oloketuyi

An American-based Nigerian model, Nneoma Anosike, has sued Wema Bank plc at a Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged infringement of her intellectual property.

The plaintiff, who is a 2014 brand Ambassador of Pepsi Cola Nigeria, sued through her father, Mr. Frank Anosike, as lawful attorney, claiming N75 million against the bank as general damages for passing off her services.

She is also claiming N20 million as damages for breach of her privacy by the bank advertising her photograph without her consent.

Nneoma is also seeking a public apology from the defendant to be advertised in national dailies which circulate in the U.S and Nigeria.

The plaintiff is further claiming two million naira as special damages of cost of action.

Besides, she is seeking the court’s declaration that she is entitled to her privacy and those of her correspondences, under Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, the sole witness for the plaintiff, Anosike, continued his examination in chief.

Led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr. Gideon Okebu, the witness told the court that his daughter entered into a three-year management contract with an international firm, Ford Model Incorporated, New York, in 2014.

He said that the plaintiff was granted a U.S. Visa through the instrumentality of Ford, following which she travelled from Nigeria to the U.S. to continue her career solely under Ford.

According to the witness, on April 11, 2016, his daughter was requisitioned to attend a meeting with the board of Ford where she was presented with photographic advert of her picture from Instagram, which was photo-edited by Wema Bank and further advertised on its website.

He said that his daughter’s picture was used for the advert with the bank’s corporate logo beside her face and the words, “Be yourself, Everyone else is taken”.

According to him, this projection of Nneoma by the bank was with the aim of projecting the bank’s value and goodwill using her fame and popularity.

He told the court that the defendant’s action constituted a breach of Nneoma’s agreement with Ford Model, as it had caused her a retraction of contract extension by the firm.

Justice Ibrahim Buba adjourned the case until November 20 for cross examination of the witness.