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TWO CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE INTEREST MAY BE AWARDED

Dictum

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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CLAIM FOR INTEREST MUST BE SPECIFICALLY PLEADED

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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SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL NOTICE ON INTEREST RATE

The matter is not made easy by their claiming that they agreed on the interest rate of 13% when there was no such clause in the deed of legal mortgage and when it is a well-known fact which this court takes judicial notice of that interest rates are dependent of the policy on the Central Bank. No interest rate is static. It is not immutable. It varies depending on the nature of Government policy which follows the state of the economy.

– Pats-Acholonu, J.S.C. Pinder v. North (2004)

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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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INTEREST IS NOT PAYABLE ON ORDINARY DEBT

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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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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INTEREST WILL BE AWARDED WHERE PROVED EVEN IF NOT CLAIMED

In fact, where interest is not even claimed on the Writ, but the facts are pleaded as did the Appellant in its amended Statement of Claim and evidence was given which showed entitlement thereto, the Court may award interest as a general rule. See EKWUNIFE V. WAYNE (W/A) LTD (1989) 5 NWLR (PT.122) 428.

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

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