6th November, 2013
Gov. Sullivan Chime of the eastern Nigerian state of Enugu in his reaction to allegations that he detained his wife, Clara in the Government House, revealed the health challenges being faced by her, necessitating her confinement.
Unfazed, Chime vowed to continue to protect the integrity of his wife, Clara, in spite of campaigns against him.
Speaking with newsmen in Enugu on Wednesday, Chime said it had become imperative for him to clarify issues about his wife’s health challenges going by what he called a ‘campaign of calumny’ against his person.
“Well, my wife has some medical challenges and it would be very unkind for me to talk about her condition on the pages of newspapers,” the governor said. I have done everything to protect her integrity and I am 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’ve been battling this 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 stabilised, I pleaded with her doctors if she could be brought back here to be receiving her treatment at home and they graciously accepted.
“There was a time she was confined indoors and that was strictly on her doctors’ advice. She’s here and she can confirm or deny it. Also, the doctors then advised against allowing her access to telephones and her laptop.”
The governor said his wife was safe in the Government House, adding that her confinement within the premises was at the instance of her doctor who was present at the briefing.
“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 taken 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’ll take a decision which will be in the interest of both parties,” the governor said.
On his reaction to a purported petition to the inspector-general of police by renowned lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, the governor said: “He’s my professional colleague but sometimes you leave people to their conscience.
“I won’t join words with him. Has he met this client of his as he claimed to assess her state of mind and determine if she can give him the right brief to guide his case? Did he ask for access to her or to me and was denied? I leave it at that.
“That’s the penalty you face as a public officer. When I was receiving treatment in London, some of the newspapers reported that I had died in India.I’ve never been to India and had never applied for an Indian visa. Today, the story is that I’ve imprisoned my own wife in my residence. I know their motives but I wish those behind such wicked tales well.”
Clara, who was present during the briefing, denied sending any petition to the National Human Rights Commission alleging unlawful detention by her husband.
She also denied contacting or engaging the services of Falana or any other lawyer to seek her freedom from an alleged incarceration at Government House, Enugu.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that for quite a long time, Clara could not speak, prompting her husband and brother, Mr Tony Igwe, to persuade her to speak.
At a point, her brother took her to an adjacent room where they spent some minutes after which Igwe assured the people that she was willing to talk.
After some long silence, Clara said: “You (the governor) and my doctor can speak on my behalf.”
The governor replied: “Yes, I’m your husband and should ordinarily do so but you know I’m the one being accused of detaining you. This way, I’ve lost that privilege to speak for you, at least on this case.
“The story out there also is that your doctor is probably scared of me and gives you all kinds of drugs, sometimes against your wish.”
The governor’s wife then said: “My doctor and I don’t have any problem.”
She also corroborated an earlier message she sent to her husband’s telephone that she had not met Falana or engaged him to seek her release from a purported unlawful custody.
She rather admitted that she wrote a letter to her doctor, (Dr Agumuo)and another doctor overseas whom she was introduced to and wondered how the letter leaked to the public.
She also admitted that she was once confined to a room without access to her telephone and laptop, saying: “that was when I had a serious crisis.”
On the current situation, Clara said she had the key to her room and controlled her entry and exit.
She said, however, that her grouse was that she had not been allowed to leave the premises except on Sundays to attend mass.