The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has shed more light on the health challenge facing Clara Chime,wife of the Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime.
The Commission, which had stepped in to investigate a petition on Clara’s alleged restriction to Government House, Enugu, said it had established that she was suffering from depression and hallucination.
It said, however, that in spite of the health challenge, she was conscious of her environment and related well with those she encountered.
NHRC’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Ben Angwe, who revealed the agency’s preliminary report on the probe in Abuja, said that he personally led a team of investigators to Enugu to verify the true position of things.
The team had private and group interactions with Governor Chime; his wife; his mother-in-law, Patience Igwe and some other relatives of the couple.
Angwe said the commission was able to establish that Chime’s wife suffered from some medical conditions; had to stay in a medical facility and had lost confidence in the medical expert currently handling her case.
He said the parties to the dispute mandated the commission to facilitate the medical examination of the petitioner (Mrs. Chime) by a team of independent medical experts “to ascertain her true state of health.”
He said the commission could not ascertain her true state of health because the investigation team had no medical experts and she was not medically examined during the team’s visit, but he said that contrary to Clara’s claim in her petition, she had access to her son and was in control of the keys to her apartment and thus was in the position to determine who could visit her.
He said the commission would proceed with its investigation and, if necessary, invoke its power under the law to mediate in the dispute with a view to resolving it in the interest of all the parties.
He said the team was granted “unhindered access” to both Mrs Chime and her apartment in the Government House.
”The investigating team held a five-hour meeting with Governor Chime, Mrs Chime, Dr. Jide Chime (the governor’s sibling), Dr. Aham Agumoh (who has been treating Mrs Chime) and Tony Igwe (the complainant’s elder brother), during which the complainant had an opportunity to state her case and also respond to the issues raised by her husband.
“Dr. A. Uzegu, a London-based consultant psychiatrist and forensic examiner, who is the doctor the complainant prefers, also joined the meeting through teleconference.
“We have confirmed that in the last two weeks, Mrs Chime has been confined to her apartment on medical advice for purposes of medical maintenance and security.
“Both parties have agreed that Mrs Chime has medical challenges, but have disagreement over how to handle her medical condition. The complainant told the commission that she has lost confidence in the physician presently handling her condition and no longer wants him to treat her.
“She further requested to have medical opinion of other medical doctors acceptable to her. Both parties have agreed that the commission should assemble a team of independent medical experts to review her condition and advice on further steps to be taken in respect of her treatment,” Angwe said.
Mrs Chime had petitioned the commission, complaining of rights abuses, including being allegedly held incommunicado by her husband against her wish.
Her husband spoke to reporters on her condition on Tuesday in Enugu and said he had no reason to confine her to Government House, except that she was having a medical challenge.