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IN LEGAL MORTGAGE PROPERTY IS TRANSFERRED TO THE MORTGAGEE SUBJECT TO REDEMPTION

Dictum

In a legal mortgage, title to the property is therefore transferred to the mortgagee subject to the proviso that the mortgage property would be reconveyed by the mortgagee to the mortgagor upon the performance of the conditions stipulated in the mortgage deed and upon payment of the debt at the time stipulated therein. In other words, the mortgagor is liable to repay the loan as stipulated; otherwise the mortgaged property is foreclosed. See BANK OF NORTH V. BELLO (2000) 7 NWLR (prt 664) 244, ADETONA V. ZENITH INTERNATIONAL BANK PLC (2011) 18 NWLR (prt 1278) 627 and ATIBA IYALAMU SAVINGS & LOANS LTD V. SUBERU (2018) 13 NWLR (prt 1637) 387 at 414.

— M.L. Shuaibu, JCA. FBN v Benlion (2021) – CA/C/31/2016

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DEPOSIT OF TITLE DEED CREATES EQUITABLE MORTGAGE

Kadiri v. Olusaga (1956) 1 FSC at p. 178: “It is the case, as stated by the learned trial Judge, that the security given was not the form of a legal mortgage, that is to say by deed, transferring the legal estate to the respondent, but the deposit of title deeds as security for a loan is an equitable mortgage, and I am unable to agree that the loan was an unsecured one within the meaning of the legislation in question. As Lord Macnaghten said when delivering the judgment of the Board in Bank of New South Wales v. O’Connor (1889) 14 AC page 273. ‘It is a well established rule of equity that a deposit of a document of title without either writing or word of mouth will create in equity a charge upon the property to which the document relates to the extent of the interest of the person who makes the deposit. In the absence of consent that charge can only be displaced by actual payment of the amount secured.'”

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MORTGAGEE’S RIGHT OF PROPERTY SALE

Intercity Bank Plc. v. F and F F (Nig.) Ltd. (2001) 17 NWLR (Pt.742) 347, wherein Omage, J.C.A. stated as follows on page 365 “In my respectful opinion, the complaint of the mortgagor notwithstanding, about the actual sum owing on the mortgage, the court will not interfere or restrain the mortgagee from exercising his right of sale of the mortgaged property. To intervene is to seek to vary the terms of the mortgage agreement and the court will not rewrite the mortgage agreement for the parties. The right of sale of the mortgagee is the only certain shield of recovery of the mortgagee’s investment … and he should be allowed to sell, ceteris paribus (all things being equal)”.

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A MORTGAGEE HAS A POWER OF SALE AS OF RIGHT IN THIS INSTANCE

A mortgagee, unless where a contrary intention is shown, has a power of sale provided: (a) the mortgage was made by deed; and (b) the mortgage money is due, that is the legal date for redemption has passed. Where the money is payable by installments, the power of sale arises as soon as any installment is in arrears.

– L.A. Ayanlere v. Federal Mortgage Bank of Nig. Ltd. (1998) – CA/K/186/96

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MORTGAGEE WILL ENTER POSSESSION ONCE MORTGAGOR’s PAYMENT OF INSTALLMENT IS IN ARREARS

In Robertson v. Cilia, (1956) 1 W.L.R. 1502, there a mortgagee applied by summons to the court for an order for pos-session of the mortgaged property on the ground that payment of instalments was in arrear. The mortgagor applied for the case to stand over generally. After certain interlocutory proceedings, the summons was adjourned into court in order that it might be determined to what extent the court had power to stand over generally a summon of that nature. At the time of the hearing, all arrears of instalments due under the mortgage had been paid up, but the right to repay by instalments had lapsed; and it was admitted that owing to general credit restrictions the mortgagor would not be in a position to redeem within any foreseen time. It was held that, an order for possession should be made as the mortgagee was entitled to possession, and in those circumstance, there was no power to stand the matter over generally without the consent of the mortgagee nor would it be a reasonable exercise of power to stand it over for a period when there was no prospect that the mortgagee would be in a position to make an acceptable offer. (See also Hinkley and South Leicester Permanent Benefit Building Society v. Freeman, (1941) Ch.32).

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IN MORTGAGE THERE IS IMPLIED PROMISE TO REPAY

Exhibit ‘A’ does not contain a covenant to pay the principal’s debt and interest on a given date. On the authorities however, there is an implied promise to pay and as no date has been fixed for the repayment it is my view that a reasonable time will be implied. – Ogundare JSC. Ejikeme v. Okonkwo (1994)

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WHERE MORTGAGE IS BY CHARGE

In other words where the mortgage is by way of charge, and not by conveyance, the mortgagee takes no estate whatsoever in the land or in the property but he has generally only an equitable interest to be enforced by sale upon an order of court. The equitable charge simpliciter only gives a right to payment out of the property; it does not amount to an agreement to give a legal mortgage at all. The strict mode of enforcing the charge is, however, by sale (or appointment of a receiver under an order of court) but never by foreclosure. On the other hand where, as here, the agreement is to create a legal mortgage when required following a default in the terms of the agreement, the agreement may be enforced according to its terms notwithstanding that the legal mortgage when executed will also confer on the mortgagee an immediate power of sale.

– Idigbe JSC. Ogundiani v. Araba (1978)

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