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BAD FAITH ON THE PURCHASER OF MORTGAGE PROPERTY

Dictum

The law of sale by auction or auction sale protects the purchaser and that is the basis of the principle of law that a mortgagor’s right essentially is in damages. The law has an important qualification and it is that the purchaser must have bought the mortgaged property in good faith, that is bona fide and not in bad faith, that is mala fide. The sympathies of the law on the purchaser will vanish the moment the court comes to the conclusion that the purchaser bought the property in bad faith. Bad faith on the part of the purchaser is a matter of fact to be deduced from the totality of the purchasing or buying conduct of the purchaser. Bad faith taints or better still, destroys a mortgage sale and therefore the property in the sale.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Okonkwo v. Cooperative Bank (2003)

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NON-COMPLIANCE WITH AUCTIONEERS LAW ONLY GIVES RISE TO DAMAGES

An auction sale of mortgaged property is however valid despite the non-compliance with auctioneers law. Thus, any irregularity in the sale is remediable to the mortgagor in damages. See OKONKWO V. C.C.B. (NIG) PLC. (Supra). In ABDULKADIR V. MOHAMMED (2019)12 NWLR (prt. 1687) 450 at 496, it was held that except where the sale of a mortgaged property by auction is tainted with fraud and collusion, any irregularity in an auction sale in breach of the auctioneers Law and Land use Act cannot vitiate the sale.

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

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EQUITABLE MORTGAGE TO CREATE A LEGAL MORTGAGE CAN SUE IN SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE

The equitable mortgage by agreement to create a legal mortgage, therefore, entitles the equitable mortgagee to something more than a mere right to payment out of the property or premises mortgaged; under the general principles, his remedies correspond as nearly as possible with those of the legal mortgagee. Because equity regards that as done which ought to be done the equitable mortgagee, by agreement to create a legal mortgage, can enforce the execution of a legal mortgage by suing in equity for specific performance; if successful he obtains a legal term of years and can then pursue all the statutory remedies open to a legal mortgagee.

– Idigbe JSC. Ogundiani v. Araba (1978)

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INDEBTEDNESS GAVE RISE TO THE AUCTION SALE

I do not think it has been denied that the 3rd respondent is the mother of the said Chief Kalu. It is not also disputed that Chief Kalu was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the bank. But I think a few matters ought to be put right. First, what gave rise to the auction sale was not the making of the Chairman, Board of Directors. It was the failure of the appellant to settle his indebtedness with the bank. Second, auction sale attracts all and sundry. It affords an opportunity for anyone able to meet the challenges of an auction sale to participate in it unless he is precluded by any regulation, agreement, undertaking or by virtue of his special position in relationship with the transaction from so participating.

– Uwaifo JSC. Okonkwo v. Cooperative Bank (2003)

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DISPUTE AS TO AMOUNT OWNED IS NOT VALID GRANT FOR MORTGAGEE NOT TO SELL

A dispute as to volume of indebtedness is not a valid ground known to law such as can be relied upon to prohibit a mortgagee from exercising his right of sale. In other words, the mortgagee will not be restrained from exercising his power of sale because the amount due is in dispute. He will be restrained, however, if the mortgagor pays the amount claimed into court, that is the amount which the mortgagee swears to be due to him, unless on the terms of the mortgage the claim is exclusive. [Sabbagh v. Batik of West Africa (1962) 2 All NLR 225]

– L.A. Ayanlere v. Federal Mortgage Bank of Nig. Ltd. (1998) – CA/K/186/96

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DATE FOR PAYMENT IN A MORTGAGE AGREEMENT

Fixing a date for repayment in a mortgage transaction does not generally indicate the parties intention that the actual payment is to be made on the named date, but only that the mortgagee may call for payment on or after that date, if so minded, but not before. See Ogioro v. Igbinovia (supra), and B.O.N Ltd. v.Akintoye (supra), where it was also held that if the mortgage debt is not paid at any time fixed for payment, the mortgagee is entitled to exercise his power of sale, the debt having been deemed to have become due and payable on that day.

– Augie JSC. Bank v. TEE (2003)

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MORTGAGEE WILL ENTER POSSESSION ONCE MORTGAGOR’s PAYMENT OF INSTALLMENT IS IN ARREARS

In Robertson v. Cilia, (1956) 1 W.L.R. 1502, there a mortgagee applied by summons to the court for an order for pos-session of the mortgaged property on the ground that payment of instalments was in arrear. The mortgagor applied for the case to stand over generally. After certain interlocutory proceedings, the summons was adjourned into court in order that it might be determined to what extent the court had power to stand over generally a summon of that nature. At the time of the hearing, all arrears of instalments due under the mortgage had been paid up, but the right to repay by instalments had lapsed; and it was admitted that owing to general credit restrictions the mortgagor would not be in a position to redeem within any foreseen time. It was held that, an order for possession should be made as the mortgagee was entitled to possession, and in those circumstance, there was no power to stand the matter over generally without the consent of the mortgagee nor would it be a reasonable exercise of power to stand it over for a period when there was no prospect that the mortgagee would be in a position to make an acceptable offer. (See also Hinkley and South Leicester Permanent Benefit Building Society v. Freeman, (1941) Ch.32).

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