•Demands retraction of NHRC’s health statement
THE wife of the Enugu State governor, Mrs. Clara Chime, yesterday joined issue with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on its handling of her petition about her ordeal in Government House, Enugu.
She faulted the Commission for denying that she was “illegally confined” and ”subjected to some form of ill-treatments” by the governor.
The NHRC’s pronouncement on her state of health did not also sit well with her and she accused it of misleading the public on her true state of health.
But the commission defended itself in a statement by its Chairman, Professor Chidi Odinkalu.
He said at no time did the Commission make any pronouncement on Mrs. Chime’s health condition since its investigation team to Enugu did not include medical experts.
Media reports had quoted the team leader as saying Mrs. Chime suffers from depression and hallucination.
In two letters written to the NHRC Chairman yesterday through her lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), Mrs. Chime expressed disappointment to “read what has been narrated by the Human Rights Commission.”
“Apart from the fact that the information was largely false, it showed lack of sensitivity in publishing sensitive medical detail,” she said.
This, according to her, “has the effect of tarnishing and damaging my reputation. It is as though the Commission set out to ridicule me.
“I made it clear to them that I had a nervous breakdown and found it inexplicable as to how hallucinations featured as part of my symptoms.
“It is important to make this clear so that the public should be made aware of this and that the Commission should recognise part of her ethos in protecting human dignity.
“It has been suggested by some quarters that the Commission appears biased already because of the profile of the person whose reputation is at stake.
”I want to believe that the Commission would approach my case with open mind and in particular recognise me as a victim of crime.
“I hope that common sense would prevail and that the Commission should now retract the damaging publication and stop stigmatising me,” she said.
The NHRC Chairman said: “As a practice, cases and complaints received by the Commission are processed in accordance with the National Human Rights Commission Act (as amended) and with the Standing Orders and Rules of Procedure of the Commission.
“Having carefully reviewed the work so far undertaken by the staff of the Commission, I find no basis in them for the claims or speculation widely circulated in the media that the Commission has pronounced on the state of health, physical or mental, of the complainant or indeed of any other party in this case.
“The Commission takes seriously its responsibility to fully respect the confidentiality of parties before it and to reach its decisions only on the basis of law and evidence.
“I should clarify that the team that the Commission sent to Enugu did not include any medical personnel. It had neither a mandate nor the expertise to pronounce on such matters and has clearly not done so. This is evident on the face of the statement by the Executive Secretary.”
He said allegations that the Commission “may have been compromised in the conduct of the case are both factually inaccurate and manifestly unfounded.”
Governor Chime had on Tuesday told reporters in Enugu that his wife had health challenges that warranted giving her round- the- clock monitoring and close attention.
Mrs. Chime was present at the occasion as were her mother, and brother.
She admitted that she was medically challenged.