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RIGHT TO REDEMPTION IN MORTGAGE CANNOT BE BARRED

Dictum

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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MORTGAGE DEBT HAS TO BE OUTSTANDING FOR MORTGAGEE TO TAKE POSSESSION

A deed of legal mortgage is said to have been created once an agreement exists between the parties, and the instrument signed by the parties which is described as a legal mortgage, provided it is under a seal. Therefore, the legal effect of a deed of legal mortgage is that it allows the mortgagee exercise its possessory rights over the mortgage property. It is to be noted however, that caveat in the position of a mortgagee remains that the mortgage debt has to be outstanding and unliquidated in order for the right of a mortgagee to immediate possession of the mortgaged property to become activated. See AFRIBANK V. ALADE (2000) LPELR – 10722 (CA) and S.W.V. (NIG) LTD V. AMCON (2020) 3 NWLR (prt 1710) 179.

— M.L. Shuaibu, JCA. FBN v Benlion (2021) – CA/C/31/2016

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MORTGAGE DEBT SUPERSEDES EQUITABLE MORTGAGE

I have showed above that the only interest the 1st respondent in equity can deal with is the equity of redemption not the legal estate in the said property. The appellant from the very beginning of the deal with the 1st respondent over the said property has been aware i.e. acquainted with due notice of the bank loan and the mortgage of the said property to the 2nd respondent and the lodgement of the title deeds of the said property with the 2nd respondent to secure the bank loan. The appellant has had due notice that all he was negotiating was as regards the 1st respondent’s interests in the equity of redemption. And so, any purported attempt to transfer the legal estate by the mortgagor to the appellant as the 2nd relief in the claim is contending without getting rid of the mortgage debt and so, supersede the 2nd respondent’s equitable mortgage cannot be allowed in equity.

– Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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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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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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EQUITY LOOKS AT SUBSTANCE NOT FORM IN MORTGAGES

In determining whether any given transaction is in the nature of a mortgage, equity looks at the substance of the matter and not merely at the form. – Iguh JSC. Ejikeme v. Okonkwo (1994)

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ATTRIBUTES OF A LEGAL MORTGAGE

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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