Falana: I have the mandate of Clara Chime

•Falana, demanded Oduah’s probe

Femi Falana

. Nigeria’s leading human rights lawyer speaks on the confinement of Enugu state governor’s wife inside Government House

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, has declared that he has the mandate of Clara Chime, the detained wife of the Governor of Enugu state , Sullivan Chime, to secure her release from unlawful custody in Enugu Government House, southeast Nigeria.

Falana, who said he spoke to the detained woman on Thursday morning, said the claim credited to Governor Chime that his wife did not brief him (Falana) to secure her release from detention was misleading.

According to Falana, “contrary to such diversionary statement I wish to state that I do not need the instructions of citizens who are illegally detained to demand for their release. Without any instructions I am duty bound to file cases in court to secure the enforcement of the fundamental rights of detainees to personal liberty. 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.

•Falana: I have the mandate of Clara Chime
•Falana: I have the mandate of Clara Chime

“With respect to Mrs. Clara 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.”

Governor Chime’s nocturnal press conference has confirmed the allegation that he has held his wife in illegal custody and that the governor attempted to justify the illegality by alleging that his wife has “ a medical challenge.”

Falana said 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 Mr. 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.”

Gov.Chime and Wife, Clara: when the going was smooth
Gov.Chime and Wife, Clara: when the going was smooth

At a press conference in Enugu on Wednesday, Chime said it had become imperative for him to clarify issues about his wife’s health challenges going by the 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.

Governor Sullivan Chime: explains confinement story
Governor Sullivan Chime: explains confinement story

“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.

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“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.

There were reports in the past that Clara broke down mentally when she discovered in 2009 that Governor Chime was dating her younger sister called Ebere Igwe. Clara was said to have moved with Ebere into the Governor’s Lodge in Enugu after she got married in 2008 to Chime.

Ebere had just graduated from Abia State University at that time. Reports said Clara became suspicious when the governor started showering Ebere with gifts, cash and a brand new Toyota car.

Matters came to a head when it was discovered that Chime was allegedly having a steamy relationship with Ebere.

The mental breakdown resulting from the sordid affair led to the Enugu First lady being taken to Rev. Father Njoku’s Upper Room Ministries at Emene, Enugu for prayers. Since then, Clara has not recovered.

Falana’s Full Press Statement:

“My attention has been drawn to the misleading claim credited to the Enugu State Governor, Mr Sullivan Chime that his wife did not brief me to secure her release from illegal custody at the Government House, Enugu.

“Contrary to such diversionary statement I wish to state that I do not need the instructions of citizens who are illegally detained to demand for their release. Without any instructions I am duty bound to file cases in court to secure the enforcement of the fundamental rights of detainees to personal liberty. 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..

“With respect to Mrs Clara 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.

“From his nocturnal press conference Governor Chime confirmed the allegation that he has held his wife in illegal custody. He 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 Mr 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 the wife is non compos mentis when was the Enugu Government House converted to a psychiatric hospital?

But Mr 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.—Falana

“Having confirmed the allegation that he has wilfully infringed the fundamental rights of his wife to personal liberty, dignity of the person and freedom of movement Governor Chime should release his wife from illegal custody 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!

“Meanwhile, I wish to thank the Director-General of the State Security Service who has directed the security service personnel attached to the Government House to desist from teaming up with the Governor to hold his wife hostage.

Femi Falana SAN.