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ATTRIBUTES OF A LEGAL MORTGAGE

Dictum

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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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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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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FORECLOSURE PROCEEDING IS FOR EQUITABLE MORTGAGE – MORTGAGOR HOLDS LEGAL ESTATE IN TRUST

In considering the scope of the rights of an equitable mortgagee (not by way of charge) it should be borne in mind that the general rule is that foreclosure (and not sale) is the proper remedy of an equitable mortgagee (See James vs James (1873) L.R. 16 E. 153 citing with approval Pryce vs Bury at 154); and when an equitable mortgagee by deposit of title deeds and agreement to give a legal mortgage if called upon to do so takes foreclosure proceedings to enforce his security, the court usually decrees that the deposit operates as a mortgage and that in default of payments due under the mortgage the mortgagor is trustee of the legal estate for the mortgagee and that he must convey that estate to him.

– Idigbe JSC. Ogundiani v. Araba (1978)

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RIGHT TO REDEMPTION IN MORTGAGE CANNOT BE BARRED

It is a settled rule of equity that any agreement which directly bars the mortgagor’s right to redemption is ineffectual. – Iguh JSC. Ejikeme v. Okonkwo (1994)

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CONTINUING MORTGAGE NEEDS NO REGISTRATION

B.O.N Ltd. v. Akintoye (1999) 12 NWLR (Pt. 631) 392: “Where an original mortgage is a continuing security for raising a second mortgage, what is needed is to upstamp it. There is no need to obtain a fresh consent of the Governor for the second mortgage. In the instant case, where the wordings of the mortgage deeds relating to the security are clear and unambiguous and where the original deed was a continuing security, there was no need to obtain a fresh consent of the Governor for the second mortgage”.

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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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