Lagos High Court hears suit on Ikeja mortgaged property


Legal battle over the soul of the landed property situate at 5, Oduduwa Street, GRA Ikeja, Lagos between the Administrators of the Estate of the late Samuel Iyiola Omotoso, Ecobank Nigeria Plc and Registrar of Titles, Lagos State resumed today, November 13, 2017 at the Lagos High Court , Ikeja.

Trial judge, Justice Beatrice Oke-Lawal at the last adjourned date fixed the date for hearing on the suit delineated  ID/3967GCMW/17 and filed by the Administrators of the Estate of the late Samuel Iyiola Omotoso against Ecobank Nigeria Plc and Registrar of Titles, Lagos State.In the suit emanated through Originating Summons filed by Rotimi Aladesanmi are, Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Nwafor, Mrs. Omowumni Olugunja, Mr. Elijah Omotoso and Mr. Emmanuel Omotoso, who are the children of the deceased.
 
The Administrators are contending the propriety of a Mortgage Deed dated August 24, 2001 and registered as No 14 at page 14 in volume 2044 at the Lagos State Land Registry in respect of the property, upon which a credit facility of N155 million was extended to JNC Limited by Ecobank.

 
They averred that there was no loan advanced to alleged borrowing company, JNC Ltd, by the 1st defendant (Ecobank) pursuant to, or consequent upon the deed of tripartite legal mortgage registered as No. 14 at page 14 in volume 2044 at the Lagos State Land Registry.
 
The claimants stated that no amount was stated on the deed of tripartite legal mortgage as loan covered by the mortgage, neither is there any date for ‘repayment’ of any loan stated.
 
They are therefore praying the court to determine three issues: whether by virtue of the deed of conveyance registered as No.32 at page 32 in volume 1605 at the Lagos State Lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja between Adeleke Adedoyin and Samuel Iyiola Omotoso, as well as the Letters of Administration issued in respect of the Estate of Late Samuel Iyiola Omotoso, the Estate is vested in the claimants.
     
However, responding to the suit, the defendants in a preliminary objection, urged the court to strike out the suit for being fundamentally flawed, having been commenced through an originating summons instead of writ of summons.
 
The defendants stated that, the suit lacked merit, as they were properly in possession of the property by reason of the tripartite mortgage deed.The defendants averred that, they did not forcibly take possession of the property on November 10, 2016 as deposed to by the applicants, but that AMCON took possession of the property on March 31, 2016, pursuant to the order of court.They further averred that the deed of legal mortgage, entitles AMCON to sell, assign, retain possession, and occupy the land, the subject-matter of the mortgage.
 
“That the 1st defendant (Ecobank) granted several facilities to JNC Limited, which were secured with a Deed of Legal Mortgage dated 24th August, 2011, and entered between the 1st defendant and Mr. Samuel Iyiola Omotoso, over the property at No. 5 Oduduwa Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos and subsequently registered as No. 14 at Page 14, Volume 2044 of the Lagos State Land Registry at Alausa, Lagos.
 
“That the Deed of Legal Mortgage, was executed by the parties in February, 2009, but the Deed was registered in 2011 during the perfection process, to meet the registry requirement since the date on the mortgage forms should not be backdated.
 
“That upon the expiration of the facility granted by the 1st defendant, JNC Ltd defaulted in its obligations towards the 1st defendant.
 
“That following the inability of the said JNC Ltd to meet the repayment terms of the facilities granted to it, the loan was sold and assigned to the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) via a Loan Purchase & Limited Servicing Agreement dated 6th April, 2011”, Ecobank averred.
 
According to the defendant, Section 44 of the Constitution, does not apply to land taken possession of based on a mortgage.They also averred that, there is a loan purchase agreement between AMCON and Ecobank Plc, in respect of JNC Limited account and many other accounts.



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