Telecommunications company Airtel Nig. Ltd. has been fined the sum of N5m for unsolicited messages.
In his ruling Justice Jude Okeke of an FCT high court Maitama on Wednesday ordered Airtel to pay the plaintiff Mr. Emmanuel Anene, N5m in damages as against the N200m he requested.
Anene had on December 21 filed a suit against Airtel for continuous disturbances through unsolicited messages to his line.
The judge said, “One of the reliefs sought an order of the court seeks for the award of damages.
“A plaintiff who seeks for a violation of right is to succeed on the strength of his case and not on the weakness or absence of the defence.
“Though he can rely on the absence of the defence to support his case.”
Justice Okeke said the defendant failed to file a defence challenging Anene’s claim.
He said, “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.
“Unless the court does not believe in the evidence or sees any reason in contrary in law it reserves a duty to act on such.
“The defendant failed to place any evidence on the other scale of balance there is nothing against in which the plaintiff’s evidence can be weighed.”
Justice Okeke added, “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 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 N200m the plaintiff asked for, but N5m only.”
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.