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In my earlier articles, I have discussed the definition, nature, rights, and obligations of the parties in the contract of sale of land transactions. Contract of sale transaction involving a vast area of land always contains payment schedule that defines the financial obligations of the purchase and corresponding duties of the Vendor as well. So, what happens if the purchaser negligently refused to pay the payment price installment, or what if the Vendor do anything in contravention to the agreement of the parties?

The followings are available options to the parties in breach of contract of sale transaction:

  • Specific Performance

Specific performance is an equitable remedy by which the court directs the defendant to perform the contract which he has entered in accordance with its terms. The other party can apply to court to compel the defaulting party to do a specific act. The party seeking the remedy of specific performance must show that all conditions precedent have been fulfilled and that he has either performed or is ready and willing to perform all the terms which ought to be performed by him. See the case of Fakoya v. St. Paul’s Church Shagamu (1966)1 ALR

  • Damages

The adverse party may apply to court for financial compensation as a general or special damages suffered by him as a result of the breach by the defaulting party. A vendor can only claim damages if he is able to prove that he has good title and that he is ready and willing to convey to the purchaser and the default is not as a result of his commission or omission. For the purchaser to claim damages, he must prove that the vendor is unable to produce good title or he has refused to execute the conveyance tendered to him by the purchaser, or he resells the property to another or repudiates the contract. It must be noted that the rights of the parties to the remedies of specific performance and damages are affected by the provisions of the Land Use Act which prohibits alienation of right of occupancy without the governor’s consent. Grant of consent is discretionary.


  • Rescission

Rescission means a discharge at common law of the innocent party by the other’s breach of a fundamental term or condition of a contract. Rescission implies that the party who is entitled to rescind has repudiated the contract. In the case of Manya v Idris (2001)8 NWLR pt 716 p. 627 at 639. The court states the law as follows: If a party to a contract commits a breach or breaches, and such breach or breaches are of fundamental terms, the innocent party has an option. He may accept the breach or breaches as repudiation and treat the contract at an end and no longer binding on him and sue for damages in respect of the breach, or elect to affirm that the contract is still existing, continuing, and enforceable by seeking specific performance

  • Forfeiture and Recovery of Deposit

The vendor may forfeit (i.e. retain) the deposit. Similarly, the purchaser may recover the deposit. The right of the parties to forfeit or recover deposit depends on the terms of the contract. See Biyo v. Aku (1996)1 NWLR pt 422, Manya v Idris (supra). Where it is not possible to resolve the issue by reference to the terms of the contract, the court will consider the conduct of the parties.

Do you have any further questions? feel free to call Ibejulekkilawyer on 08034869295 or send a mail to and we shall respond accordingly.

Disclaimer: The above is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. (blog) shall not be liable to any person(s) for any damage or liability arising whatsoever following the reliance of the information contained herein. Consult us or your legal practitioner for legal advice.

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