The law has provided for a lawful process and procedure for debt recovery in Nigeria.
To start with, owing debt is a civil wrong, and not criminal wrong. Thus, the Police and other security agents may not have the power to arrest a debtor except the debtor, through the commission of a crime incurs such debt.
Some of the lawful methods and options to recover a debt in Cameroon include the followings:
The procedure for simplified debt recovery is designed for creditors who do not have a writ of execution or enforceable judgment or judicial decision. The nomenclature is somewhat deceptive because the procedure is not limited, strictly speaking, to debt recovery, but englobes simplified procedures either for the delivery of specific tangible personal property or for its restitution or return. The words recovery, delivery and restitution have different meanings. An injunction to deliver may be addressed to a seller who has been paid for goods which he has not delivered, while an injunction to restitute or return may be addressed to a car lessee who has not returned a leased car since the end of the contract.
The first procedure concerns the simplified recovery of a debt which arises either from a contract or an obligation which arises from the issuance or acceptance of any negotiable instrument, or of a cheque without cover or insufficient cover, involving a liquidated (specific sum of money) claim which is certain (actual, predetermined) and due for immediate payment. The burden of proving the existence of a debt or an obligation lies on the party who initiates the action.
The success of other two procedures for delivery or for restitution/return of specific tangible personal property hinge on the ability of party initiating the action proving the actual existence of such property, which must be described with exactitude, as well as on that party’s capacity to establish his rightful claim to such property.
The action is initiated by petition in a one-party proceeding, then the judge issues a mandatory injunction to pay, to deliver or to restitute order, which must be served personally on the respondent by extrajudicial act within three (03) months from the date of its issuance. Thence, the respondent must either challenge the order within fifteen (15) days from personal service, or do nothing, in which case the creditor/petitioner may proceed to request from the court the insertion on the unchallenged mandatory injunction order of the executory formula which renders the order final and unappealable. The creditor must request the insertion of the executory formula within a period of two (02) months following the expiry of the time limit to lodge an opposition, failure which the mandatory injunction order becomes null and void.
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