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TAIWO KUPOLATI v. MTN NIGERIA COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED

(2020) LPELR-49538(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Wednesday, the 18th day of March, 2020

CA/L/743/2017


Before Their Lordships

MOHAMMED LAWAL GARBA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

UGOCHUKWU ANTHONY OGAKWU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JAMILU YAMMAMA TUKUR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

TAIWO KUPOLATI - Appellant(s)

AND

MTN NIGERIA COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the issue of Award of Damages.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the decision of the High Court of Lagos State. 

The Appellant is a Legal Practitioner. He is a post-paid customer of the Respondent on his GSM Line No. 0803-720-0757. The Appellant, contending that the Respondent breached its contractual obligations to him when, for a cumulative period of thirty-one (31) days, it blocked/disconnected his said GSM Line without any justification, consequent upon which he suffered enormous frustration, hardship, inconveniences, loss of income and economic loss; instituted proceedings before the High Court of Lagos State in SUIT NO. LD/1666/2012: TAIWO KUPOLATI vs. MTN NIGERIA COMMUNICATIONS LTD. 
The Appellant claimed the following reliefs:
"(a) A DECLARATION that the blocking/disconnection of the claimant's GSM line No. 0803-720-0757 and Blackberry Internet Services from 6 November, 2011 to 21 November, 2011 and from 6 October 2012 to 22 October 2012, without justification, is wrongful and a breach of the contractual obligations which the defendant owes to the claimant as a post-paid subscriber of the defendant's network services.
(b) A DECLARATION that the defendant's wrongful action of blocking/disconnection of the claimant's GSM line No. 0803-720-0757 and Blackberry Internet Services from 6 November, 2011 to 21 November, 2011 and from 6 October, 2012 to 22 October, 2012, without any justification, foisted enormous frustration, hardship, inconveniences, loss of income, economic loss on the claimant, for which the claimant ought to be assuaged by substantial award of general and exemplary damages against the defendant.
(c) N50, 00,000 (Fifty Million Naira) as general and exemplary damages against the defendant.
(d) Cost of this action."

After a plenary hearing at which testimonial and documentary evidence was adduced, the trial Court found and held that the Respondent was in breach of its contract with the Appellant when it blocked/disconnected the Appellant's said GSM line. It then proceeded to award the sum of N1, 000,000.00 to assuage the Appellant for the frustration, hardship and inconvenience occasioned by the wrongful disconnection of his said GSM line for the cumulative period of thirty-one (31) days. 

Dissatisfied with the quantum of damages awarded by the High Court, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court of Appeal determined the appeal on a sole issue which is:
Whether the circumstances of this matter are such for an Appellate Court to interfere with the quantum of damages awarded by the Lower Court.

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal.


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