“…Learned Counsel for the Appellant herein has argued that a Councillor is a political office holder. That may be so. The issue now is whether he comes within the purview of those officers whose salaries shall be determined and charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission so as to warrant judgment being entered in his favour. To answer this question, I must have recourse to the provisions of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission CAP. 392 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, hereafter referred to as “the RMAFC Act”, to determine whether the Appellant is actually a beneficiary. Section 6 of the RMAFC Act stipulates the powers of the Commission as regards remuneration. It provides inter alia: “6(1) – The Commission shall have power to- (d) determine the remuneration appropriate to the holders of the offices as specified in Parts A and B of the First Schedule to this Act.” Hereunder reproduced, is Part A and B of the First Schedule to the RMAFC Act: FIRST SCHEDULE [Section 6 (1) (d)] PART A Offices President, the Vice-President, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice of the Supreme Court, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Judge of the Federal High Court, Judge of the Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Grand Kadi and Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, President and Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Inspector- General of Police, the Auditor-General of the Federation and the Chairman and members of the following executive bodies, namely, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the National Electoral Commission, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the National Population Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, the Nigeria Police Council and the Public Complaints Commission. PART B Offices Governor, the Deputy Governor, Chief Judge of a State and the Judge of the High Court of a State, Grand Kadi and Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State, President and Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal of a State, the Auditor-General of a State, the Auditor-General of the Local Government Councils of a State and Chairmen and members of the following bodies, that is to say, the State Civil Service Commission, the State Judicial Service Commission and the State Local Government Service Commission. It follows therefore that the Section 6(1)(d) of the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission, Act makes no mention of a Councilor as one of those Public Officers or Political Office Holders to benefit from payment of salary and emolument from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and whose salary shall be fixed by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission. The argument of learned counsel for the Appellant is that the scope of political office Holders, whose names were not mentioned, have been expanded vide Section 6(1)(f) of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act which provides that the Commission shall have power to – “(f) discharge such other functions as may be conferred on it (Commission) by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this Act, or any other Act of the National Assembly.” This stance by learned counsel is with respect, untenable. The simple reason is because those other functions that the Commission ought to perform or upon which extra power may be conferred on it by the Constitution, the Act or any other Act of the National Assembly, do not envisage expanding the scope of Political Office Holders or Public Officers whose names have not been mentioned either by the Constitution, the RMAFC Act itself or any Act of the National Assembly. Assuming (but without conceding) that the scope is to be expanded, in the clear and unambiguous words of Section 6(1)(f) of the RMAFC Act, it is only the RMAFC Act itself; the Constitution or another Act of the National Assembly, that can expand the scope or powers thereof and not an inferior Legislative House like that of Anambra State House of Assembly. I am therefore in total disagreement with the submissions of learned Counsel for the Appellant that the provisions of Section 32(d) Item N, Part 1 of the Third Schedule of 1999 Constitution, as amended, expands the scope of the Commission to include Councillors. The Section states inter alia that: “32. The Commission shall have power to – (d) determine the remuneration appropriate for political office holders, including the President, Vice President, Governors, Deputy Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Legislatures and the holders of the offices mentioned in Section 84 and 124 of this Constitution.” The import of Section 32(d) Item N, Part 1 of the Third Schedule of 1999 Constitution, as amended, (which in my view, is an assemblage of Sections 84 and 124 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, as well as Section 6(1)(d) and (f) of the RMAFC Act) is that the inclusion of Local Government Councillors by the Anambra State Law No. 7 of 2001, in the List of Political Office Holders or Public Officers of whom their salaries shall be fixed by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission and charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Anambra State, is at variance with the express provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. Learned Counsel for the Appellant had contended that as a Councillor of the Onitsha Local Government, the Appellant is a Legislator as envisaged by the Section 32(d), Item N, Part 1 of Schedule of the Constitution. As rightly held by the Court below, it would appear there was a legislative device to deliberately exclude political office holders like Councillors who are legislators as of right on their Local Government tier of Government. However, they are not legislators properly so called as envisaged by the Constitution in Section 318(1) thereof, which states that: “In this Constitution, unless it is otherwise expressly provided, or the context otherwise requires – Legislative house means that Senate, House of Representatives or a House of Assembly.” The Legislative Council of a Local Government is not mentioned by the Constitution so by extension, a Councillor is not recognized by the Constitution as a member of a Legislative House properly so-called. Again, Section 318(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, defined the “Public Service of a State” to mean the service of the State in any capacity in respect of the Government of the State and includes service as mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) to (g) thereunder. What is more, Section 120 of the CFRN 1999, as amended, which in Subsection (1), established the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State, stipulates in Subsection (2) thereof, that: “No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State except to meet expenditure that is charged upon the fund by this Constitution, or where the issue of those moneys has been authorised by an Appropriation Law, Supplementary Appropriation Law or Law passed in pursuance of Section 121 of this Constitution.” (underlining mine). It follows therefore, that any expenditure that is to be charged upon the fund by this Constitution, SHALL be as stipulated by Section 124(4) of the CFRN 1999, as amended. The consequence of the above is that the inclusion of Chairman of Local Government, Vice Chairman, Secretary to Local Government, Supervisors, Special Advisers/P.A. to the Chairman, leader of the Local Government Legislative Council, Deputy Leader, and Councillors, by the Anambra State Law No. 7 of 2001, in the List of Political Office holders or Public Officers whose salaries shall be fixed by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission and charged upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Anambra State, is against the express provisions of Section 124(4) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. I therefore answer the question “Whether the Court of Appeal was correct when they(sic) held that Local Government Councillors do not come within the purview of “Political Office Holders” in Section 32(d) Item N, Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended”; in the affirmative and resolve this issue against the Appellant.” Per ABDU ABOKI, JSC In NWOKEDI v. ANAMBRA STATE GOVT & ANOR (2022-LCER-46521-SC) (Pp 16 – 23; Paras B – C)

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