A Federal high court sitting in Lagos Southwest, Nigeria has adjourned till 27 March 2018 for hearing a N340 million suit filed against Cornerstone Insurance Company, and one of its subsidiary, Cornerstone Assurance by a Nigerian actor, Mr Ahmed Afolabi Roleola for alleged unauthorized use and exploitation of his photographs and goodwill in their promotional adverts in the form of handbills, posters and brochure calculated to mislead and deceive the public and an infringement of his right to publicity.
Joined as co-defendant is the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON.
In a statement of claim filed before the court in Lagos by his lawyer, Oluwakemi Balogun SAN, the actor Afolabi Roleola who is nationally acclaimed and recognized as a modelling icon and who over the years has established his name within and outside Nigeria as a model, personality and brand in modelling business, averred that sometimes in 2009 he saw advertorials containing his photographs in the form of handbills and posters used by the defendants to promote and advertise their policy tagged “Mortgage Protection Plan, both within and outside the country without his consent, knowledge and approval.
When he discovered the unauthorized use of his photographs and good will he mandated his solicitors to write a letter to the defendants expressing his displeasure on the unauthorized used of his photographs and demanded compensation.
But the defendants ignored his demands. Then he wrote another letter to the defendants but same was ignored.
The plaintiff averred that the insurance company have financially benefited well over N1billion from the sale of their products using the plaintiff ‘s photograph and goodwill.
Consequently, the plaintiff while urging the court to enter judgment in his favour in the sum of N240million being his entitlement from the sale of the defendants products and all other goodwill used to promote their various products from 2008 till date.
And the sum of N100 million as general damages for the unauthorized use of the actor’s photograph.
He also wants an order of the court directing APCON to prevail on the Cornerstone Insurance Plc and Cornerstone Life Assurance to ensure the payment of the plaintiff’s entitlement and apply sanctions where appropriate.
However, APCON in its statement of defence filed before the court by Barrister Okorie Micheal Okpei stated that its functions is to regulate the practise of advertising in Nigeria in all its aspect and ramification.
He stressed that APCON does not involve itself in the creating, making, execution of contractual relationship or enforcement of contracts or obligation between the plaintiff and any third party.
Consequently APCON urged the court to demise the suit of the plaintiff against APCON with substantial cost of N180million against the plaintiff in his favour being the cost of defending the suit.