Marital Incarceration: Enugu First Lady, Clara Chime, Hires Falana To Secure Her Release

Nov. 4, 2013


Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. MD Abubakar, to ensure the immediate release from unlawful detention of Mrs. Clara Chime, the First Lady of Enugu State who is being held hostage at Government House Enugu by Governor Sullivan Chime, or be dragged to court.

In a letter dated November 1, 2013, Mr. Falana, representing Mrs. Chime, pointed out that his client has been kept incommunicado in solitary confinement for over four months on the directives of Governor Chime.

“Thus our client’s fundamental rights to the dignity of her person, personal liberty, fair hearing, private and family life and freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 have been violated without any legal justification,” it said.

“Although our client’s dehumanizing detention conditions have had deleterious effects on her psychological state as well as her mental and physical health she has been denied access to her doctors by her abductors,” the petition said.  “It is particularly disturbing to note that some of the police and state security service personnel assigned to secure the safety of the Enugu State governor, his wife and other family members have aided and abetted Mr. Chime in subjecting our client to egregious infringements of her aforesaid fundamental rights.”

It pointed out, however, that unlike the governor who is currently immune from prosecution under the constitution, the police and state security service officials involved in the illegal arrest and detention of Mrs. Chime ought to be sanctioned under the relevant laws.

In a letter exclusively published by SaharaReporters on October 28, Mrs. Chime complained that Governor Chime had placed her under house arrest, and begged human rights bodies to come to her rescue.

She said that eminent personalities such as President and Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan and the Bishop Callistus Onaga of Enugu State and other top priests had attempted to intervene in the matter without success.

Among other things, Mrs. Chime said she had been introduced to two psychiatrists, Dr. Onwukwe and Dr. Agumo, who prescribed “all kinds of drugs that ends up keeping me acute depressed and also drives me into hallucinations.”