Wednesday, 6 November 2013

"Order The Release Of Mrs. Clara Chime From Unlawful Detention By Her Husband Or Be Dragged To Court" - Femi Falana Tells IGP

Lagos lawyer and human rights activist Femi Falana has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar to order the immediate release of Mrs. Clara Chime, the First Lady of Enugu State from unlawful detention by her husband and disciplne the police and state security officers who colluded with the governor to perpetrate the cruel act.

Mrs Chime, Falana said, is being detained illegally in Government House, Enugu by Governor Sullivan Chime. And failure to order her release would compel the law to take its course with the IGP dragged to court. 

In the letter dated, November 1, 2013, published exclusively by SaharaReporters, Falana said Mrs. Chime is his client who has been kept in custody and not allowed to see or speak with anyone for the past four months on the orders of the governor.
SaharaReporters on October 28, also published exclusively a letter by Mrs. Chime in which she appealed to human rights organisations to come to her rescue because Governor Chime had placed her under house arrest.

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

She added that President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Patience, Bishop Callistus Onaga of Enugu State and others have waded into the illegal detention, but the governor has refused to release her. 

Falana’s petition said: “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,” the letter said.
“Although our client’s dehumanizing detention conditions have had deleterious effects on her psychological as well as her mental and physical health, she has been denied access to her doctors by her abductors.”
It continued: “It is particularly disturbing to note that some of the police and State Security Service (SSS) 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 fundamental rights.”

Falana conceded that the governor is covered by immunity; but the police and SSS officers involved in the illegal arrest and detention of Mrs. Chime are not covered and must be sanctioned under the relevant laws.

It concluded: “In all of these challenges, one thing is very clear; we must not only be seen as existing, we must relentlessly support true democracy and the rule of law.
“So it has become necessary to step up our activities as true democrats and make our contributions to the growth of democracy in the country.’’

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