Criminal Law

HOW TO RECOVER DEBT IN NIGERIA

People express hopelessness over the recovery of money that people owe them. In Nigeria, it is often said that “if you don’t want to lose your friend, don’t lend them money.”


It will be pertinent to note that unless you are a licensed money Lender you are not expected to lend money with interest.  This is what you will do instead, calculate the amount that will accrue from the interest and add it as the money to be paid back.


You should be smart to put everything in writing. Even if you feel the money is too small to meet a Lawyer to write a loan agreement, scribble down the terms of the agreement on paper. State how much you are lending and how much the borrower is expected to pay back. Call a witness and make sure each parties sign. Say no to gentleman agreement. Or “I will pay back in one month” is not an agreement. So, assuming the borrower defaults to pay and you have made repeated demands for your money all to no avail, the Law has made provision for your money to be recovered.


Here is what to do:
Approach a Legal practitioner to help you recover your money. 
In fact, in liquidated money demands cases, it is usually entered into the undefended list for summary judgment.
Liquidated money demands do not go into a full trial like other cases except the money is been contested, the person is denying owing you or there is an element of fraud then the matter will enter a full trial.
This is because it is believed generally that the borrower has no defense. I mean, you are owing somebody, the due date has passed so what do you have to defend?


For instance, if you don’t want to pay your rent or you are owing someone a stated sum and delaying paying, the court is always in a hurry to make you pay.
One may ask, “what if the person refuses to pay?”
 Well, let Judgement be given in your favor first.


Here are ways to enforce a judgment in your favor.
1. Garnishee order
will be issued to banks to state whether the judgment debtor has an account with them and whether there is money in the account. Section 83(1) of Sheriff and Civil processes rightly provides for this.
 A smart lawyer with the empowerment of the court will pursue every asset or money of the debtor till the debt is paid. 


2. Writ of Fieri Facias. This is shortly known as the writ of Fifa. Section 20(2) of the Sheriff and Civil process Act provides for this. The essence of a writ of Fifa is to physically move the goods and chattels of the debtor to a safe place from where they will now be auctioned to realize the judgment debt.
This mode of execution of judgment is usually against people with high net moveable assets such as cars, machines, computers, and goods.


3. Attachment of Immovable Properties.
In law and practice, execution of the court’s judgment on immovable properties is usually utilized as a last resort. It is only when sufficient movable properties of a judgment debtor cannot be found that the court will issue a writ for the attachment of the immovable properties. Section 45, 45, and 46 of the Sheriff and Civil process Act provide for this kind. 


However, please note that the police are not empowered to recover debt for people. It is not in their jurisdiction to do so. The highest they can do is torture and lock up the person which is not compensation compared to the money that you want.

Using EFCC is not an option except if there is a crime or fraud-related element.  So you should approach a lawyer to help you.

You should note that the wheel of justice may grind slowly but it will surely grind. 
The Law will not suffer a wrong without a remedy.

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About Chineye Ekom Idim

Chinenye Ekom Idim(Mrs) is a Legal Practitioner, Self Esteem Coach, and Children's Teacher She is a conscientious person and a strategist with excellent skills and a keen interest in child psychology, teenagers' development, mental well-being, and Self Esteem. She devotes her time to educating people on their legal rights and helps in giving people's establishment a legal face. She has authored two E-books. "Say No Anyway and Staying Mentally Safe" She currently works at Nsikak Ikpeme & Associates. A law firm located in Calabar, Cross River, Nigeria. She can be reached via nwenyimfelly@gmail.com or 08145919197