The swift investigation and verdict of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, on the alleged killing of suspected terrorist in close to the Apo Legislators Quarters took the nation by surprise because the NHRC has built for itself an ugly reputation for serving the interest of the high, mighty, and financially loaded.
Indeed, if those killed in the Apo incidence had nothing to do with terrorism, it is because such bodies as the police, the NHRC, and the judiciary, etc. whom we give annual budgetary allocations to protect the weak and propagate justice have proven themselves grossly incompetent, morally weak and drained. How do you prevent cold murder and impunity in high places when those appointed to be shepherds of the masses have themselves become wild wolves; when those appointed to serve in the temple of justice are its worst desecrators? They have become more interested in “human rice” than in human right.
How many people still remember the case of the Apo Six? Igbo youths bustling with life were murdered in cold blood and in the most inhuman way. In fact, the only lady among them who refused to die immediately had six inches nails driven into her skull and another from the top of her nose in the bid by the police officers to cover up their atrocity. What has happened to the perpetrators? The Police even claimed that the superintendent in crime who was the Apo Divisional Police Officer, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Abdulsalami Othman grew wings and flew away from the Force Headquarters on 27th June 2005 where he was being held. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Force CID, Abuja, Mr. Amusa Bello to the Panel of Enquiry on Apo Six that he was permitted to pray in the mosque in the Force Headquarters and he escaped from there. Even the cock and bull would be very upset to if associated with such stupid police magic tale. Worse still, nobody has also been convicted close to a decade after.
Interestingly, the so-called escape was possible because the victims hailed from the “wrong” part of the country. And unlike in the case recent alleged Apo killing in which the media both from the North and South alike launched a fervent campaign for proper investigation and justice, newspapers from certain section of the country, which has done countless editorials on the recent Apo incident either kept mute or launched defensive journalism fueled by ethno-religious biases- even in matters of human blood! They forgot that injustice is an evil wind that goes around and that when evil is allowed to fester for long, it graduates to a tradition.
This brings me to the Mrs. Chime versus Governor Sullivan Chime saga, which even occurred months before the recent Apo killing. Despite all the promises by the NHRC, absolutely nothing has come out of it. If justice would be delayed and denied because the accused is “well loaded” and powerful, the NHRC is unwittingly awarding license to Governors and VIPs to abuse or even kill their wives and mistresses outride. They are unwittingly telling the world that in our land, might is right. This makes sense because Chime is not a first offender, the first wife having left him over traumatizing experiences.
Surprisingly too, apart from the indefatigable Senior Advocate of the Masses, Femi Falana who made Mrs Chime rescue from Governor Chime’s dungeon possible as well as the Human Rights Writers Association, which spoke out, all the so-called human rights, gender and civil society activists lost their voices. See what money can do!
Her husband said she was sick in the head, hence her incarnation. But her lawyer, Femi Falana disagreed, wondering when Enugu Government House became a mental home. He recalled that the Governor quickly relocated overseas for over four months when he took ill. A recent media also said that Chime’s recent so-called “routine checkup” trip to the UK was actually for an open-heart surgery. Why didn’t he treat himself at the Government House?
Importantly, the woman said on national TV stations and dailies that she was never mentally sick. She granted the interview on her return from medical examination in the UK where she was certified okay. She accused her Governor husband turned Chief Medical Director of the Government House ultra modern hospital and his team of quacks of allegedly injecting her with wrong, hence dangerous drugs that almost cost her life and made her swell up. She pointedly said her incarceration was a deliberate attempt by a wicked husband and his to break her will and shut her up.
Is it not therefore disappointing that the NHRC hastily came out with a preliminary verdict at the break of this scandal that the former First Lady was mentally ill without relying on any independent medical investigation? Rather, it comfortably relied on the claims of Chime and his sham doctors who were bent on preserving a political career. The Commission only withdrew hasty verdict when its lousiness was greeted with public anger and opprobrium.
Is it not also very disappointing that a Commission, which Prof. Chidi Odinkalu chairs, would condone such hide and seek in such a high profile case? It is true that the Commission was already comatose before Chidi came in, but it takes making an example out of one big fish like Sullivan Chime to make a loud statement of radical departure from an old, incompetent, lousy, and corrupt order. Yes, real change requires more than high-sounding grammar!
It is indeed high time the NHRC Commission came out with a report on what transpired in the alleged horrendous human rights violation against Mrs. Chime. The Commission must note that Mrs. Clara Chime’s reputation and self esteem has also been grossly assaulted. Sweeping it under the carpet is almost always the case when the high, mighty, and rich are concerned is allowing a huge lump of stone to continue to roaming menacingly in the air. You never know on whose head it would land next. Maybe you child’s, friend’s, and perhaps, even your head!
Lucy Akase writes in from PortHarcourt