11 November 2013

Nigeria: Chime Bundles Wife Out of Enugu Government House

Photo: Vanguard
Governor Chime of Enugu State.

Abuja and Enugu — The drama over the detention of Mrs. Clara Chime, wife of the Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, entered another chapter Sunday when the governor, with the assistance of security operatives, sent her packing from the Enugu Government House. Mrs. Chime's personal effects were packed for her by the governor and his security detail, and she was forcibly taken out of the Government House to her mother's residence at House 38, Coal City Estate, Enugu.

Mrs. Chime, who THISDAY gathered struggled to depart with her four-year-old son, was bundled into a convoy of six cars and taken to her mother's home.

However, on getting there, the mother who had not been notified that her daughter was being brought home, was not at home which forced Mrs. Chime and the security operatives to sit in their cars waiting for her mother to return.

After waiting for close to two hours, the governor, who was obviously embarrassed that news of his wife's eviction had leaked and was attracting journalists who rushed to the mother's estate, ordered that Mrs. Chime be brought back to the Government House.

However, he still intends to evict his wife today and hand her over directly to her mother.

THISDAY learnt that the governor took the decision to drive away his wife because she had petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over her confinement in the Government House against her wish.

Mrs. Chime, who had admitted suffering from a nervous breakdown over what she alleged was as a result of her husband's maltreatment of her, was however projected by the governor last week as someone who is mentally unstable requiring the administration of drugs by a doctor she does not trust and her confinement in her bedroom.

Meanwhile, the NHRC yesterday said it had not conducted any medical investigation to determine the mental health of Mrs. Chime.

A statement by NHRC said the commission was yet to reach a determination on the petition received from the governor's wife.

The commission said: "The complaint is currently being investigated and will be subjected to the commission's Rules of Procedure. The commission is a credible national institution that will never be biased or compromised in case management or any matter before the commission." NHRC said it became necessary for it to address the press on Friday November 8, in respect of the complaint received from Mrs Chime because it had attracted considerable media attention and generated a lot of public interest.

"The purpose of the briefing was to inform Nigerians that the commission's team of investigators visited Enugu and held a meeting with the complainant and her husband and is taking further investigative steps in respect of the matter.

"The commission wishes to place it on the record that it has never claimed to have established that Mrs. Chime has health challenges. It was clearly stated during the meeting with the press that the issue of Mrs. Chime's health status came up in the course of investigation and it was mutually agreed that the commission constitutes an independent medical team to evaluate the true state of her health.

"The NHRC has no form of medical competence to establish the health status of Mrs Chime or any other person. The investigation is still on-going," it said.

Also, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the commission, Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, has described allegations that the commission might have been compromised in the conduct of the case of the alleged illegal confinement of Mrs. Chime as factually inaccurate and manifestly unfounded.

Odinkalu, in a statement in Abuja, said he was inundated with inquiries about the on-going processes of the NHRC in relation to the complaint initiated by Mrs. Chime. He said since the complainant was the spouse of a senior political office holder, the complaint had naturally elicited somewhat fevered public interest.

The commission's Executive Secretary, Professor Bem Angwe last Friday had stated that when the commission's team interacted with Mrs. Chime, she spoke to them fluently and coherently, adding, "She answered all the questions we raised in her presence as a person who is aware of the circumstances of her environment and the consequence of her action."

Angwe had however added that Mrs Chime had admitted to suffering from depression and "hallucinations".

But the commission's statement drew the ire of Mrs. Chime who immediately made it clear that she had never informed the officials of NHRC that she suffered from hallucinations. In a letter she wrote to the commission at the weekend, she asked it to withdraw the statement.

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