The law on pre-judgment interest is that it is to be awarded where there is an agreement for payment of interest or under mercantile custom or under principle of equity, as in breach of fiduciary duty. In all such cases the law is that pre-judgment interest is as of right. The Appellant is no doubt a licensed Commercial Bank and thus bound by its trade custom to give interest on money lodged with it. The law requires a person claiming such right to pre-judgment interest to so plead and prove at the trial. In law generally the Courts have the power to award post-judgment interest but not pre-judgment interest since pre-judgment interest which must be based on pleadings and proof by the party so claiming entitlement to it save if it is part of the mercantile custom of the transaction involving the parties. In all therefore, it is never granted as of course, but must either be part of the contemplation of the parties by virtue of their contract terms or mercantile custom of fiduciary duty or it is specifically pleaded and proved. In Ferrero and Company Ltd. v. Henkel Chemicals Nigeria Ltd. (2011) LPELR 12 (SC). His Lordship, Onnoghen, JSC (as he then was, now CJN) had expatiated on the rationale behind this principle of law inter alia thus: It follows that before a party can claim pre-judgment interest, he has to plead not only his entitlement to the interest but the basis of the entitlement either by Statute or contract/agreement between the parties, or mercantile custom or principle of equity, such as breach of fiduciary relationship. It is not for the Court to speculate or conjecture or assume the facts relevant to the claim. The relevant facts must be pleaded, as fact not pleaded goes to no issue. In addition to the requirement of pleading the relevant facts, the Plaintiff must adduce evidence at the trial in proof of the relevant facts. Where there is no evidence in proof of the facts, then the pleadings are deemed abandoned. See also UBA Plc. v. Oranuba (2013) LPELR- 20692 (CA). See also Hausa v. FBN Plc (2000) 9 NWLR (Pt. 671) 64; Ekwunife v. Wayne W/A Ltd (1989) NWLR (Pt. 122) 422: Hinma Merchant Ltd v. Alhaji Inuwa Aliyu (1994) 5 NWLR (Pt. 347) 667 @ pp. 676-677; Stabilini Visinoni Ltd v. Metalum Ltd. (2007) LPELR-8661 (CA) UBN Ltd v. Salami (1998) 3 NWLR (Pt. 538) 347: Idakula v. Richards (2000) FWLR (Pt. 14) 2439; Jallco Ltd. v. Owoniboys Tech Serv. Ltd. (1995) 4 NWLR (Pt. 391) 534 @ p. 550; Petgas Resources Ltd. v. Louts N. Mbanefo (2007) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1031) 545 @ p. 549; Consolidated Resources Limited v. Abofar Ventures Nigeria Limited (2007) 6 NWLR (pt. 1030) 225.

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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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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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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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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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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Ordinarily, interest is not payable on ordinary debt in purely commercial transaction, in the absence of a term to that effect expressly or impliedly in the contract or mercantile usage or custom of the parties or as may be contained in a statute. It may also be in place through fiduciary relationship between the parties. See; RNA Ekwunife V. Wayne (West Africa) Ltd. (1989) 5 NWLR (Pt.122) 422 at 455.

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

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In TATE and LYLE FOOD AND DISTRIBUTION LTD. V. GREATER LONDON CONOI AND ANOTHER. 1981 3 All E.R. 716 Forbes J on how to arrive at the rate of interest in Commercial cases held that one must not look at the profit which the Defendant wrongfully made out of the money he withheld but at the cost to the plaintiff of being deprived of the money which he should have had. In my view interest in commercial cases of this nature is not awarded against the Defendant as a punitive measure for having kept the plaintiff out of his money but as an attempt to achieve restitution in intergrum.

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