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Consumer Privacy: Court fines Zenith Bank N.5m over hundreds of unsolicited e-mails to woman

*The plaintiff had alleged that the Nigerian commercial bank kept sending over 300 spam e-mails to her from February 16 to May 26, 2021, despite the fact that she did not own an account with Zenith Bank Plc

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

A high court in Ogun State of Nigeria has ruled and fined Zenith Bank Plc N500,000 for sending spam e-mails to certain Ms. Omotola Fathiat Quadri.

Quadri had sued Zenith Bank for infringing on her fundamental human right to privacy as stated under Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), according to report.

The plaintiff also alleged that the commercial bank sent her over 300 e-mail messages from February 16 to May 26, 2021, despite the fact that she did not own an account with the bank.

Quadri also stated that the messages kept coming even after writing to the bank through her solicitors and a petition to both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in Abuja, FCT.

The young woman demanded that the court stops the respondent from sending her messages, and also award her N5,000,000 as damages against the bank.

In a counter-affidavit the bank through Clarkson Adebayo,  its solicitor, claimed that the applicant’s e-mail address was provided by certain Omotola Rashidat Quadri, a customer.

Adebayo also stated that the bank stopped sending e-mails to the applicant and contacted the customer to update her account records.

However, the general promotional advertisement was still being sent to the applicant because her e-mail was still registered in the respondent’s database.

The bank insisted that it could be held liable for invasion of privacy for acting in compliance with the e-mail address supplied by its customer.

Delivering the judgement March 16, 2022, the presiding judge, Sonia Akinbiyi, ordered the bank to pay N500,000 to the applicant.

The Justice stated: “The admission to sending a plethora of messages and promotional messages even in the face of several letters and petitions against the respondent to stop same violates the fundamental rights of the applicant.

“The application succeeds in its prayers (I) and (2), this court declare that the unsolicited e-mail violates the applicant’s privacy, the respondent is hereby restrained from further sending such unsolicited e-mails in any manner infringing the applicant’s fundamental rights.”

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