+ ‘CLARA CHIME is living in bondage’ – FEMI FALANA reveals
MORE confusion is still trailing the alleged confinement of the wife of Enugu State governor, Mrs. Clara Chime to the Governor’s Lodge against her will.
Despite Chime’s shocking confession on Wednesday, November 7, 2013, that Clara is mentally unbalanced and has been receiving treatment at the Governor’s Lodge, her lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Femi Falana (SAN), has rubbished his claims, advising him to stop violating his client’s right to human dignity and her other fundamental human rights.
According to Chief Falana, who was reacting to Chime’s well-syndicated defence, the Enugu State first lady briefed him to secure her release from the alleged illegal detention imposed by her husband, Governor Sullivan Chime.
“I wish to say, without any fear of contradiction, that I have her instructions in writing to challenge her illegal detention at the Government House, Enugu. Through the assistance of some of the security personnel in the Government House, she has since spoken to me on phone to confirm her instructions. Indeed Mrs. Chime’s mother and her personal physician have also been in touch with me urging me to take all appropriate measures to secure her freedom from Governor Chime’s illegal confinement,” Falana said in a statement on Wednesday, November 7, 2013.
Falana also pointed out that contrary to the governor’s diversionary statement, he does not need the instructions of citizens who are illegally detained to demand for their release.
“Without any instruction, I’m duty bound to file cases in court to secure the enforcement of the fundamental right of detainees to personal liberty and dignity. For the avoidance of doubt, the doctrine of locus standi in the area of human rights has been abolished by the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 which came into force on December 1, 2009,” he said.
He also observed that at the press conference Chime succeeded in confirming the allegation that he has held her in illegal custody but attempted to justify the illegality by alleging that his wife has a ‘medical challenge.’
“When Governor Chime was recently medically challenged, he was not subjected to solitary confinement in the Government House but flown abroad for adequate medical treatment. But Chime has conspired with his private physicians to sentence his wife to unwarranted mental torture and psychological trauma in a room in the Government House for the past four months. If Mr. Chime’s claim is correct that his wife is non compos mentis, when was the Enugu Government House converted to a psychiatric hospital?
“Having confirmed the allegation that he has willfully infringed on the fundamental rights of his wife to personal liberty, dignity of the person and freedom of movement. Governor Chime should release her from illegal custody and be warned not to divert attention from the brutal abuse of the rights of his wife. If he and his doctors are convinced that she is medically challenged, they should send her to a hospital for quick recovery.”
Falana also revealed that the Director General of State Security Service (SSS) has directed the SSS personnel attached to the Government House to desist from teaming up with the governor to hold his wife.
Before Falana’s statement, Governor Chime had admitted his wife has health challenges which explained why she can no longer speak for herself. The Governor and his wife spoke to journalists on Tuesday night (November 5, 2013) at the Governor’s Lodge, Enugu in the presence of Mrs. Chime’s elder brother, Mr. Tony Igwe, the governor’s siblings, Mrs. May Oji and Dr. Jide Chime as well as Mrs. Chime’s neuro-psychiatric doctor, Aham Agumuo, among others. Chime, who vowed to do anything to protect his wife from ridicule, denied the allegation of her illegal detention. “Well, my wife has some medical challenges and it would be very unkind of me to talk about her condition on the pages of newspapers. I have done everything to protect her integrity and I’m not now going to expose her to ridicule because some people want to exploit her situation to drag me into a needless war of words. We have been battling this (Clara’s health challenge) prior to my inauguration in 2011. It was so bad at a time that she had to be taken out of here (Governor’s Lodge) for treatment. When she stabilized, I pleaded with her doctors if she could be brought back here to be receiving treatment at home and they graciously accepted.
“There was a time she was confined indoors and that was strictly on her doctor’s advice. She’s here and she can deny or confirm it. Also, the doctors then advised against allowing her access to telephone and laptop. I cannot say or do anything to undermine her dignity. She is first and foremost my wife. The big blunder I committed was allowing her access to the telephone and laptop, against the advice of her doctor. I’m paying dearly for that today, going by what is happening now…Would I have been a better husband if I asked her to leave the lodge because of her medical challenge? Would it have been more convenient for me if I allowed her to stay and be treated in the hospital? But like I said, I wanted the best for her and that’s why I pleaded with the doctors to have her treated at home. That’s also why I allowed her access to her telephone and laptop which unfortunately led to the stage where I’m now being falsely accused of imprisoning or detaining my own wife.”
Chime also made frantic effort to convince the world that he never detained his wife illegally. He rather explained that Clara’s health condition necessitated her not being always allowed out of Governor’s Lodge.
“All I want to reassure you is that she is safe here. Her confinement within the premises for now is at the instance of her doctor who is here. Why would I want my wife locked up? If it had been that I had issues with her, there are many ways to resolve them. But that’s not the case. She is not well and I’m willing to do anything to support and protect her. It was always more convenient for me to have the easier route, but that would have been very callous and ungodly. When I had my own health challenge, I was receiving treatment in London and thinking about her, making sure she received the right treatment. I’m forever grateful to her doctors who have done a great job. Both families are billed to meet very soon and after that, I will take a decision which will be in the interest of both parties.”
Chime’s story was corroborated by his wife and her doctors, and he equally took a swipe at Chief Falana who he accused of acting unprofessionally. He regretted that the popular lawyer would claim he is holding his wife’s brief without his consent. Chime, however, left him to his conscience.
The news of alleged illegal detention of Clara Chime in Enugu Governor’s Lodge went viral days back. Confirming she has been locked up in a room by her governor-husband, Clara Chime wrote to the Human Rights Commission and other human rights groups and the Inspector General of Police calling their attention to her solitary confinement and violation of her right to human dignity and freedom of movement.
First denied by the Enugu State Government, Governor Chime, however, opened up on the melodrama going on at the Governor’s Lodge last week. He, however, refused to make more clarifications, especially when Chief Falana had faulted his claim.
ENCOMIUM Weekly sent the following questions to the Enugu State Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mr. Chuks Ugwuoke, who neither took our calls (on Friday, November 8, 2013), nor the SMS we sent that same day.
“Following Gov. Chime’s media briefing on the state of health of his wife, Clara, ENCOMIUM Weekly needs clarifications in the following areas:
1. What is your reaction to Chief Femi Falana’s claim that he was briefed by Mrs. Clara Chime?
2. Why has the governor not taken her abroad for proper medical treatment all these while?
3. Are you aware of insinuations in town that Governor Chime caused his wife’s ordeal?
4. What is the state of Clara’s health at the moment and what’s the governor’s next step?
Chief Falana has also restrained from making further comments on the matter. Hence, he shunned our phone calls on Thursday, November 6, 2013. The respected constitutional lawyer equally ignored our SMS which read thus: “Sir, ENCOMIUM Weekly wants a one-on-one interview with you on the allegation by Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State that his wife, Clara didn’t brief you.
1. Do you still insist she is being held hostage against her will?
2. But her husband insists she is not mentally sound?
3. What is your next line of action now?
GOV. CHIME’s many challenges
SINCE Barrister Sullivan Iheanacho Chime became Enugu State governor in 2007, it has been one year, one trouble. Here are some of his many battles…
THE BATTLE WITH HIS GODFATHER, SEN. CHIMAROKE NNAMANI
Governor Sullivan Chime was not in active politics until 2001 when he was appointed Special Adviser, Legal Matters to his predecessor, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani. He later became Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the State. All through the special grace of the former governor. The relationship between Chima and Nnamani got to its pinnacle when in 2007, the Ebe Ano political machine installed him Enugu governor. But no sooner was he sworn in as the state executive than he declared war on his political benefactor and his men. Getting dirtier and messier, the ex-governor had since been driven out of the coal city state.
HIS HEALTH CHALLENGE AND DEATH RUMOURS
Chime was back in the news early this year after spending almost a year outside Enugu Government House to treat his nose cancer. While abroad to save his dear life, rumour mongers had declared him dead many times.
Governor Chime has since resumed work with the former acting governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi giving him all necessary support.
TOUGH BATTLE TO SELECT A SUCCESSOR
Chime is also currently facing a serious political heat in Enugu State. It is true he cannot run for governor again having done his statutory two terms, but his determination to hand over power to the people of Nsukka zone who have not been elected governor before, has again pitched him against his own people, who still want to remain in power.
THE ALLEGATION THAT HE IMPREGNATED CLARA’S SISTER
Governor Sullivan Chime was also at the centre of an incestuous sex scandal where the controversial governor was accused of impregnating his wife’s (Clara) younger sister, Ebere Igwe. That was in 2011, about the same time Clara’s ‘mental problem’ started. Although Chime denied it all, those who know better than you and I insisted that there was indeed incest.
Ebere’s case, ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered, has since divided the Igwe family.
SULLIVAN’S WEIRD LIFESTYLE
It has also been alleged that Governor Chime is a smooth and ruthless operator who does strange things. This has constantly called his character to question although his close friends, admirers and family see him in a more positive light.
ALL THE PLOTS TO PULL HIM DOWN
There seemed to be a deliberate plot by political opponents to pull Governor Chime down at all costs, using the social media and a section of the mainstream media. Chime’s supporters are alleging that loads of stories are uploaded daily to ruin the image and reputation of the lawyer turned politician. Chime himself has alluded to this at various occasions.
– Stories by UCHE OLEHI