Press Statement: First City Monument Bank’s Theft of Image and Deceptive Abuse of Model’s Rights and Passing Off


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On June 12th 2013, the firm of Attorneys, co-owned by the President, Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL), Sagittarian Berkeleys, was briefed by the former Nigerian model, Christopher Felix Alao on the criminal theft of his image (see attached photograph), illegal and unlawful commercial abuse of his model rights, cropping of or photo-shopping of his image (see attached photo) and the passing off of same without prior model release and permission by First City Monument Bank PLC.

We caused a letter dated 18th June 2013 to be served on the said First City Monument Bank PLC (FCMB) and its commercial agents, DDB Modelling Agency and Seal Entertainment Limited, wherein we drew attention to the unlawful use of our client’s image, moral rights and passing off without prior model release, consent or permission of our client and demanded the sum of five hundred million naira as specific and general damages.

Following FCMB’s offer of settlement, discussions between us and its Attorneys during the months of July and August 2013 broke down with no agreement reached on the pre-trial settlement sum, even where its Attorneys accepted liability. Let it be known that while we took every reasonable step to ensure the amicable resolution of the issue, FCMB and its agents demurred on the mediatory opportunity settlement offered, without regard to our client as the injured party.

And following collapse of mediation talks, we will now be approaching the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court to adjudicate on FCMB’s theft of model image, abuse of our client’s right and passing off; and to seek damages, including punitive damages for the infractions.

Abdul Mahmud

(Principal Attorney, Sagittarian Berkeleys

President, Public Interest Lawyers League)

20th August, 2013.



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