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ATTRIBUTES OF A LEGAL MORTGAGE

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The main attributes of a legal mortgage are:- (a) a covenant to pay the principal debt and interest on a given date; (b) a covenant to pay interest in the event of default in payment of the principal on the day named; (c) the demise or sub-demise of, or the charge by way of legal mortgage on the mortgaged property; (d) the proviso for cesser; and (e) Such variations of the statutory provisions with regard to mortgages, as the arrangement between the parties requires.

– Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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FORECLOSURE IS A POWERFUL REMEDY FOR AN EQUITABLE MORTGAGE

The right to foreclosure is very powerful remedy in the hands of the equitable mortgagee and the vendor who takes a legal estate with notice of an equitable mortgage and therefore subject to this class of equitable interest should bear this in mind since, in certain circumstances, he may find in the end that he has bought a worthless legal estate.

– Idigbe JSC. Ogundiani v. Araba (1978)

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VOID FOR CONSENT OF MILITARY GOVERNOR

In the circumstances of this case, I would, as the two lower courts did, hold that the deed of mortgage dated 5th September, 1980 (marked Exhibit A in these proceedings) executed by the 1st plaintiff in favour of the 1st Defendant bank to secure money owed it by the 2nd plaintiff company (Respondents herein) is null and void, the consent of Military Governor of Lagos State having not been obtained before the execution of the Deed.

– Nnamani, JSC. Savannah v. Ajilo (1989)

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DEFINITION OF MORTGAGE

A mortgage is defined as creation of an interest in a property defeasible, that is, annullable upon performing the condition of paying a given sum of money with interest at a certain time. Thus, the legal consequence of the above is that the owner of the mortgaged property becomes divested of the right to dispose of it until he has secured a release of the property from the mortgagee.

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

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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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READY BUILT HOUSES TO BE PAID FOR INSTALLMENTALLY ARE MORTGAGES

I will have to state clearly that the statutory corporations, with authority to build houses and sell on terms to people who otherwise would be unable to build on their own, are in someway mortgages to the buyers. But instead of outright loan to the buyer they provide ready built houses to be paid for on certain terms. The terms range according to the laid down policy of each corporation. Some require a certain percentage of the full price to be paid as first deposit and the remainder to be paid in certain instalments. They are in some cases flexible as to time but in most cases spell out when and how to liquidate the full price. All these terms are without prejudice to mortgagor’s right to pay the full price outright; or if he defaults for just a few days or even weeks in a reasonable way he still retains his equity of redemption, i.e. even if the contractual date had passed. Howard V Harris (1683) 1 Vern 190; Spurgeon V Collier (1578) 1 Eden 55; Jennings V Ward (1705) 5 Vern 520. What found its way into our statutes is no more than the historical Common Law Practice of protecting the weak borrowing from the overbearing lender. Once the lender (mortgagee) was adequately protected to recover his money in full plus interest at reasonable time even if somewhat outside the contracted period the mortgagor’s equity of redemption should not be vitiated. What is essentially a mortgage in this case is dressed up as a conveyance with the right to withhold possession from the mortgagor until he liquidated the debt; but should he fail to liquidate by unreasonably defaulting in payment and was in arrears for long the mortgagee’s right of foreclosure should also not be vitiated.

— Belgore, JSC. A.S.H.D.C. v Emekwue (1996) – SC. 282/1989

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MORTGAGOR IS ENTITLED TO POSSESSION AS OF RIGHT

As was said by Harman J. in Alliance Perpetual Building Society v. Belrum In-vestments Ltd. And Ors. (1957) 1 W.L.R. 720, at p. 722 – possession is a remedy to which a mortgagee is entitled as of right against a mortgagor, whether the principal or interest be due or not, unless there is some special clause in the mortgage excluding it. (See also Hughes v. Waite (1957) 1 W.L.R. 713; and Four Maids Ltd. v. Dudley Marshall (properties) Ltd. (1957) Ch. 317.

— Udoma, JSC. Nig. Housing Dev. Society v. Mumuni (1997) – SC 440/1975

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