A divisible contract is separable into parts, so that separate parts of the agreed consideration may be assigned to severable parts of the performance. Such divisible agreements admit of pro rata payments for each portion that was performed, and is independent of performance of other parts of the contract.

— J.A. Fabiyi, JSC. BFI v. Bureau PE (2012) – SC.12/2008

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An agreement is made where there exists an offer, acceptance, consideration, capacity to contract and intention to create legal relationship. – Niki Tobi JSC. Yaro v. Arewa CL (2007)

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A contract is an agreement between two or more parties which creates reciprocal obligations to do or not to do a particular thing. Thus, for a valid contract to be formed, there must be mutuality of purpose and intention. In other words, the two or more minds must meet at the same point, event, or incident. They must not meet at different points, events or incidents. They must be saying the same thing at the same time. See ORIENT BANK (NIG) PLC V BILANTE INTERNATIONAL LTD (1997) 8 NWLR (pt. 515) 37.

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

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Breach of contract arises in a situation wherein a party to an agreement, fails to perform his own obligations, thereby causing damages to the other party or parties to the agreement, who have taken certain steps on the basis of the agreement. In order to prove breach of contract, the party asserting must clearly show what actions or omissions the defaulting party is guilty of that constitutes the breach.

– Tukur JCA. Odulate v. FBN (2019)

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The position of the law is that where a statute declares a contract or transaction between parties not only void but also imposes a penalty for violation, that contract or transaction is illegal ab initio. However where the legal sanction is merely to prevent abuse or fraud and no penalty is imposed for the violation of the provision of the statute, the violation is merely voidable and not illegal. See Solanke v. Abed (supra); Oil-field Supply Centre Ltd. v. Johnson (1987) 2 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 58) 265 and Ibrahim v. Osim (1988) 3 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 82) 257 and Pan Bishbilder (Nigeria) Ltd. v. First Bank of Nigeria Ltd (2000) 1 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 642) 684 at 693 where Achike JSC (of blessed memory) clearly stated the position of the law:- “Permit me to digress generally on illegality. It is common ground that illegality and voidness of the loan contract between the parties is the main subject matter of controversy in this appeal. Definition of the term illegal contract has been elusive. The production of clarity of the classification of illegality appears to be almost confounded and rendered intractable primarily because – writers and the Judges have continued to use the terms ‘void’ and ‘illegal’ interchangeably. Halsbury’s Laws of England (3rd ed. vol. 8 p. 126 para. 218) states that – ‘A contract is illegal where the subject matter of the promise is illegal or where the consideration or any part of it is illegal.’ Without getting unduly enmeshed in the controversy regarding the definition or classification of that term, it will be enough to say that contracts which are prohibited by statute or at common law, coupled with provisions for sanction (such as fine or imprisonment) in the event of its contravention are said to be illegal. There is however the need to make a distinction between contracts that are merely declared void and those declared illegal. For instance, if the provisions of the law require certain formalities to be performed as conditions precedent for the validity of the transaction without however imposing any penalty for non-compliance, the result of failure to comply with the formalities merely renders the transaction void, but if a penalty is imposed, the transaction is not only void but illegal, unless the circumstances are such that the provisions of the statute stipulate otherwise. See Solanke v. Abed & Anor. (1962) N.R.N .L.R. 92, (1962) 1 S.C.N.L.R. 371 and P. Kasumu & Ors. v. Baba-Egbe 14 WACA 444.”

— Mohammed, JSC. Fasel v NPA (2009) – SC.88/2003

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A contract may be defined as a legally binding agreement between two or more persons by which rights are acquired by one party in return for acts or forbearances on the part of the other. In effect a contract is a bilateral affair which needs the ad idem of the parties, therefore where the parties are not ad idem, the court will find as a matter of law that an agreement or contract was not duly made between the parties. Odutola v. Papersack (Nigeria) Limited (2006) 18 NWLR Pt. 1012 pg.470. Olowofoyeku v. A-G. Oyo State (1990) 2 NWLR Pt. 132 pg. 369 Oreint Bank (Nigeria) Plc. v. Bilante International Limited (1997) 8 NWLR Pt. 515 pg. 37 Societe General Bank (Nigeria) v. Safa Steel and Chemical Manufacturing Limited (1998) 5 NWLR Pt. 548 pg. 168.

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

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I am in full support of the submission of appellant’s counsel that it was a misdirection for the lower court in consideration of whether the land, the subject matter in controversy, was bare land or included the structures thereon to have relied on only clauses 3 and 6 in the entire lease agreement to arrive at its conclusion. The learned Justices of the lower court were clearly in error because it is a fundamental rule of construction of instruments that its several clauses, must be interpreted harmoniously so that the various parts of the instrument are not brought in conflict to their natural meaning. Emphasising the same point, the learned authors of Halsbury’s Laws of England. Vo1.12, (4th ed.) para. 1469) stated tersely but pointedly: “The best construction of deeds is to make one part of the deed expound the other, and so make all the parts agree. Effect must, so far as possible, be given to every word and every clause.” The same principle was approved by this Court in Lamikoro Ojokolobo & Ors. v. Lapade Alamu & Anor. (1987) 7 SCNJ 98, (1987) 3 NWLR (pt.61) 339. Surely, a fragmentary interpretation of the various clause of the lease agreement without recourse to the entire Lease Agreement would do violence to the content in which the controversial terms “premises” and “land” were employed and therefore the ascertainment of the parties’ intention in relation to these two terms was bound to be distorted and erroneous and consequently unacceptable.

— Achike, JSC. Unilife v. Adeshigbin (2001) 4 NWLR (Pt.704) 609

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