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Airtel Fined 5 Million For Sending Text Messages

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Top Telecommunications company, Airtel Nigeria have been fined 5 million naira by the High Court in Abuja for violating a customer’s right to privacy by sending him unsolicited messages.
According to the Judge, Jude Okeke, who presided over the case, Airtel’s action infringed on the customer, Mr Emmanuel Anene’s right to privacy.
Airtel, like a number of other major telecom companies such as MTN Nigeria and Etisalat have over time sent unwanted messages and placed automated calls to customers to advertise various products.
Mr Anene had approached the court on December 21, 2015, to challenge the invasion of his privacy by the telecommunications firm through unsolicited messages – a plight many Nigerians have complained about.
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.
“The defendant who was afforded the opportunity failed to file a 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,” the judge held.
Justice Okeke held further that:

“In every wrong there must be a remedy, to vindicate the plaintiff’s right which has been violated in the forth 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.”
It is hoped that this ruling will help curb the excesses of network providers who bombard customers with unsolicited messages in spite of the restrictions put in place by NCC.

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