Human rights advocate Femi Falana has repudiated the claim by the governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sullivan Chime, that he did not receive a brief from his wife to represent her to secure her release from the illegal detention imposed by her husband, the governor.
“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,” he declared in a statement on Wednesday.
“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.”
Beyond that, Mr. Falana pointed out that contrary to the governor’s diversionary statement, he does 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,” he said.
Mr. Falana noted that at the press conference Governor Chime succeeded in confirming the allegation that he has held his wife in illegal custody but attempted to justify the illegality by alleging that his wife has “a medical challenge”.
Said the statement: “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,” the lawyer said.
“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?