The appellant was a customer of the defunct Liberty Bank. The 1st respondent is the liquidator of the defunct bank which acquired its assets and liabilities. In 1991, the respondent applied for and was granted a facility of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) by the defunct bank. Between the year 1991 and 1998, the appellant applied further for more facilities to the tune of N60,000,000.00 (Sixty Million Naira). The facility was secured by a deed of legal mortgage over a property situate at No. 25 Calcuta Crescent, Apapa, Lagos. The facility was not repayed as scheduled and continued to accumulate interest and by 2004, the appellant’s total indebtedness had risen to N377,000,000.00 (Three Hundred and Seventy Seven Million Naira). By this time, the 1st respondent had taken over the defunct bank and made several unsuccessful attempts to recover the facility. Consequently, the 1st respondent exercised its right of sale and sold the mortgaged property to the 2nd respondent for the sum of N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira). Details of the sale were communicated to the appellant and its tenants in possession at the material time.
The appellant, through its sister companies, refused to give up possession of the property to the 2nd respondent for two years after letting it out and collecting rents. Consequently, the 1st respondent applied to the Lagos State High Court for possession of the property. After hearing the parties, the trial court gave judgment in favour of the 1st respondent holding that it was entitled to possession and sale of the mortgaged property. The appellant was dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court and filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal, Lagos division challenging it.
One of the issues raised by the appellant is that the High Court of Lagos State lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter and that only the Federal High Court has the requisite jurisdiction.
Held: (Unanimously dismissing the appeal)