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CLAIM FOR INTEREST MUST BE SPECIFICALLY PLEADED

Dictum

Also, the law is now clear that a claim for interest must be specifically pleaded. Some of the pleading requirements may be summarized as follows: If the claim for interest is under a contract, express or implied or under mercantile usage, the relevant contractual term or any other relevant facts and matters relied upon for the entitlement must be specifically pleaded. If the plaintiff claims interest under the equitable jurisdiction of the court, he must plead all the relevant facts and matters relied upon to support such claim (See Bullen and Leake and Jacobs, (13th Ed.) pp. 567 – 8). It is evident that the appellant had completely ignored these requirements.

— Ayoola, JSC. Saeby v. Olaogun (1999) – SC.261/1993

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ADMISSION AGAINST INTEREST

An admission against interest, in order to be valid in favour of the adverse party, must not only vindicate or reflect the material evidence before the court; it must also vindicate and reflect the legal position. Where an admission against interest does not vindicate or reflect the legal position, it will be regarded for all intents and purposes as superfluous. And a court of law is entitled not to assign any probative value to it.

– Tobi JSC. Odutola v. Papersack (2007)

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REVERSIONARY INTEREST CANNOT BE SOLD WHEN ANOTHER IS IN POSSESSION

It appears to me to be the law that a reversioner, such as the 2nd respondent, cannot sell his reversionary interest, that is his particular estate, as fee simple while another person is in possession of the land. He must first either first recover possession from that other person in possession or sell his reversionary interest subject to that person’s possession. For what the reversioner has in such a case is the freehold reversion subject to the possession in another person and not a fee simple absolute free from incumberances. It must be noted that interests in land, whether legal or equitable, are carved out as it were on a plane of time. Any holder of a particular interest or estate who attempts to sell more than the quantum of his estate will be caught by the maxim: nemo dat quod non habet (no one can give or sell what he has not).

– Nnaemeka-agu, JSC. Ude v. Nwara (1993)

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EVEN WHERE INTEREST IS NOT CLAIMED, COURT MAY AWARD INTEREST

It has been held in effect “that in purely commercial transactions a party who holds on to the money of another and keeps it for a long time without any justification and thus deprives that other of the use of funds for the period should be liable to pay compensation by way of interests.” See; Nigerian General Superintendence Co. Ltd. Vs Nigeria Ports Authority (1990) 1 NWLR (Pt.129) 71, Adeyemi V. Lan & Baker (Nig.) Ltd (2000) 7 NWLR (Pt.653) 33. However even where interest is not claimed in the Writ of Summons, the Court is entitled, in appropriate cases, to award interest in the form of consequential order. See; N.G.S.O. Ltd V. N.P.A. (supra) Ferrero & Co. Ltd. V. Henkel (Nig) Ltd. (2011) 8 SCM1 at 11.

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CHANGE IN THE RATE OF INTEREST MUST BE COMMUNICATED

Any change in the rate of interest should be brought to the attention of the customer by the banker as a condition for the banker to change the agreed rate of interest. [Okolo v. U.B.N.Ltd (1998) 2 NWLR (Pt. 539) 618 referred to]

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

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TWO CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE INTEREST MAY BE AWARDED

Interest may be awarded in a case in two distinct circumstances, namely: (i) As of right: and (ii) Where there is a power conferred by statute to do so, in exercise of the Court’s discretion. Interest may be claimed as a right where it is contemplated by the agreement between the parties, or under a mercantile custom, or under a principle of equity such as breach of a fiduciary relationship. Where interest is being claimed as a matter of right, the proper practice is to claim entitlement to it on the writ and plead facts which show such an entitlement in the statement of claim. See Per NNAEMEKA-AGU, JSC in EKWUNIFE V. WAYNE WEST AFRICA LTD (1989) LPELR-1104(SC) (PP. 33-42, PARAS. C-A).

— U.M. Abba Aji, JSC. Cappa v NDIC (2021) – SC.147/2006

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PARTY WITHHELD MONEY DUE, INTEREST WILL FLOW

It is also trite in law that when in a business transaction like the one under discourse a party is found to have withheld money due to the other party for sometime after being due, it is a natural consequence that flows from the default that interest be paid for the period of default until liquidation. I rely on ACME Builders Ltd v Kaduna State Water Board (1999} 2 SC 1 at 9.

— M. Peter-Odili, JSC. Cappa v NDIC (2021) – SC.147/2006

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