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PARTIES BOUND BY AGREEMENT

Dictum

It is trite law that persons of full age and sound mind are bound by any agreement lawfully entered into by them. – Kutigi JSC. Okonkwo v. Cooperative Bank (2003)

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CONSTITUTING A BINDING CONTRACT: OFFER, ACCEPTANCE, CONSENSUS AD IDEM

In law, to constitute a binding contract between parties, there must be a meeting of the mind often referred to as consensus ad idem. The mutual consent relates to offer and acceptance. While an offer is the expression by a party of readiness to contract on the terms specified by him by which if accepted by the offeree gives rise to a binding contract, the offer only matures into a contract where the offeree signifies a clear and unequivocal intention to accept the offer. An offer can be accepted in such a manner as may be implied, such as doing an act which the person expecting acceptance wants done. On the other hand, an invitation to treat is simply the first step in negotiations between the parties to a contract. It may or may not lead to a definite offer being made by one of the parties to the other in the negotiation. In law therefore, an invitation to treat is thus not an agreement or contract. See Meka BAB Manufacturing Co. Ltd v. ACB Ltd (2004) 2 NWLR (PT. 858) 521. See also Unitab Nigeria Ltd v. Engr. Oyelola and Anor (2005) All FWLR (Pt. 286) 824 @ pp. 829-830; Okugbule and Anor v. Oyegbola and Ors (1990) 4 NWLR (pt. 147) 723; See also Afolabi v. Polymera Industries Ltd (1967) 1 All NLR 144; Nneji v. Zakhem Construction Nig. Ltd (2006) 12 NWLR (Pt. 994) 297; BFI Group Corporation v. Bureau of Public Enterprises (2012) LPELR-9339 (SC).

— 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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WHERE CONTRACTUAL NEW TERM CAN BE INTRODUCED

Where parties enter into an agreement and subsequently decide to introduce new terms, they can only do so by specific reference to the earlier agreement to the effect that the later agreement has introduced new terms thereof.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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REPUDIATION OF CONTRACT CANNOT BE DONE BY ONE PARTY ALONE

Contracts are made by parties and the Court interprets same. Repudiation of contract cannot be done by one party, see ADENIYI VS GOVERNING COUNCIL OF YABA TECH (1993) LPELR-128(SC) held thus; “But repudiation by one party standing alone does not terminate the contract. It takes two to end it, by repudiation on the one side, and acceptance of the repudiation on the other.”

— Nimpar, JCA. Ekpo v GTB (2018) – CA/C/324/2013

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COURT CANNOT IMPOSE CONTRACT ON A PARTIES

The relationship between the parties in this case is well-scripted, known and appreciated by them. The Court cannot write or rewrite any agreement for the parties. The parties to any transaction usually have their positions which they bring to their table of negotiation. When they are done with their negotiations, they now have their terms well-crafted to govern the transaction they enter into. The parties and no other are responsible for their terms of engagement. No Court has the power to script or foist on the parties terms which are strange to their agreement. Parties are bound by the terms of their contract.

— S.J. Adah, JCA. Luck Guard v. Adariku (2022) – CA/A/1061/2020

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SEVERAL PERSONS – ONLY THOSE WHO ENTER CONTRACT ARE LIABLE

In the case of Chief Olowofoyeku v. The Attorney-General of Oyo State (1990) 2 NWLR (Pt. 132) 369, cited by learned Senior Advocate for the appellants, the Court of Appeal correctly held that where an agreement is intended to be made by several persons jointly, if any of those persons failed to enter into the agreement, there is no contract, and liability is incurred by such of them as have entered into the agreement.

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SUCCEEDING IN A BREACH OF CONTRACT

For a claimant to succeed in an action for breach of contract, he must establish not only that there was a breach but also that there was in existence an enforceable contract which was breached.

— Adekeye, JSC. Best Ltd. v. Blackwood Hodge (2011) – SC

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