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FORECLOSURE IS A POWERFUL REMEDY FOR AN EQUITABLE MORTGAGE

Dictum

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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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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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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OBJECTION TO MANNER OF SALE WILL NOT STOP A MORTGAGOR FROM SELLING

It is a well established principle of law that a mortgagee will not be restrained on the exercise of his power of sale merely because the mortgagor objects to the manner in which the sale is being arranged or because the mortgagor has commenced a redemption action in court. (See Adams v. Scott (1859) 7 WR 213). But the mortgagee will be restrained if the mortgagor pays the amount claimed by the mortgagee into court. (See Hickson v. Darlow (1883) 23 Ch.D. 690).

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

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A MORTGAGEE MAY CHOOSE EITHER TO: ENFORCE AGAINST THE PROPERTY OR SUE FOR PAYMENT

There is no doubt, and as earlier stated, the rights of a Mortgagee as the Appellant herein against the Mortgagor, the 3rd Respondents, is cumulative in the sense that it may decide either way, whether to enforce the security against the property or sue upon the personal covenant to the Mortgagor, for payment or go for both. Yet, it must be clearly stated in the pleadings which form the creditor has chosen, to recover its money. See Megany’s Manual of the Law of Real Property, 67th Edition page 484.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. African Intl. Bank Ltd. v Integrated Dimensional System (2012) – SC.278/2002

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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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DISPUTE AS TO AMOUNT OWNED IS NOT VALID GRANT FOR MORTGAGEE NOT TO SELL

A dispute as to volume of indebtedness is not a valid ground known to law such as can be relied upon to prohibit a mortgagee from exercising his right of sale. In other words, the mortgagee will not be restrained from exercising his power of sale because the amount due is in dispute. He will be restrained, however, if the mortgagor pays the amount claimed into court, that is the amount which the mortgagee swears to be due to him, unless on the terms of the mortgage the claim is exclusive. [Sabbagh v. Batik of West Africa (1962) 2 All NLR 225]

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

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