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MORTGAGEE’S RIGHT OF PROPERTY SALE

Dictum

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 IS NOT A TRUSTEE OF A POWER OF SALE FOR THE MORTGAGOR

The purchaser ought to have been made a party to this suit in view of the reliefs of the plaintiff to declare the sale null and void and consequently to set it aside. Any order made in favour of the plaintiff will adversely affect the purchaser. It is also pertinent that where there is prayer to set aside an auction sale, the court must remember that it is settled law that a mortgagee is not a trustee of a power of sale for the mortgagor except for the balance of the purchase money. It is a power given to him for his own benefit, enabling him to protect the mortgage debt. A purchaser who bought a property sold by a legal mortgage in exercise of his power of sale under a mortgage upon a default and repayment of a loan by the mortgagor is not a trespasser. All State Trust Bank v. Nsofor (2004) All FWLR Pt. 201, Pg. 7719 Union Bank of Nigeria v. Ozigi (1991) 2 NWLR Pt. 176, Pg. 677.

— O.O. Adekeye, JSC. Agboola v UBA (2011) – SC.86/2003

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EQUITY LOOKS AT SUBSTANCE NOT FORM IN MORTGAGES

In determining whether any given transaction is in the nature of a mortgage, equity looks at the substance of the matter and not merely at the form. – Iguh 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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EQUITABLE MORTGAGE HAS PART PERFORMANCE

“An equitable mortgage is an agreement that has arisen out of the deposit of the mortgagor’s title deeds with the mortgagee for loan as security. The essence of an equitable mortgage by deposit of title deeds is an agreement, between parties concerned, followed by an act of part performance. Where a party pursuant to an oral agreement deposits his title deeds with a bank as here, the act of depositing the title deeds is regarded as part performance of an agreement, which removes the transaction from the provisions of the Statute of Frauds 1677.” as per Barclays Bank of Nigeria Ltd. v. Alhaji Adamu B. Ashiru and Anor. (1978) 6-7 S.C. (Reprint) 70; (1978) 6-7 S.C. 70

– Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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DATE FOR PAYMENT IN A MORTGAGE AGREEMENT

Fixing a date for repayment in a mortgage transaction does not generally indicate the parties intention that the actual payment is to be made on the named date, but only that the mortgagee may call for payment on or after that date, if so minded, but not before. See Ogioro v. Igbinovia (supra), and B.O.N Ltd. v.Akintoye (supra), where it was also held that if the mortgage debt is not paid at any time fixed for payment, the mortgagee is entitled to exercise his power of sale, the debt having been deemed to have become due and payable on that day.

– Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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EQUITABLE MORTGAGE TO CREATE A LEGAL MORTGAGE CAN SUE IN SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE

The equitable mortgage by agreement to create a legal mortgage, therefore, entitles the equitable mortgagee to something more than a mere right to payment out of the property or premises mortgaged; under the general principles, his remedies correspond as nearly as possible with those of the legal mortgagee. Because equity regards that as done which ought to be done the equitable mortgagee, by agreement to create a legal mortgage, can enforce the execution of a legal mortgage by suing in equity for specific performance; if successful he obtains a legal term of years and can then pursue all the statutory remedies open to a legal mortgagee.

– Idigbe JSC. Ogundiani v. Araba (1978)

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