THE wife of the Nigerian High Commissioner Mrs Tess Iyi Wigwe has accused her husband Chief Dr Chijioke Wilcox Wigwe of causing her serious bodily harm. Wigwe, the High Commissioner to Kenya and the Seychelles is also the permanent representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Environmental Programme and the UN Habitat in Nairobi.
A letter from lawyer Judy Thongori to Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere dated Monday (May 23) says Tess sustained injuries on the face, neck, fingers and spine after a quarrel which resulted in the beating on May 11. Tess asked the Police Commissioner to arrest the Diplomat for assaulting her. Lawyer Thongori who is acting on behalf of Tess said they would demand that Wigwe’s diplomatic immunity be lifted so that he could be prosecuted. “Though Dr Chijioke Wilcox Wigwe is a diplomat, we are of the considered view that any diplomatic immunity that he enjoys is subject to him upholding and respecting the fundamental rights of others as enshrined in the Constitution,” Thongori said in her letter to Iteere citing the rights which include freedom from torture, freedom from cruel and inhuman treatment.
In an exclusive interview with The Star on Thursday, Tess said she was rescued by her 20-year-old son and 23-year-old daughter who rushed her to hospital while bleeding profusely. The diplomat’s wife said she was admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, on May 11, operated on and discharged on Sunday, May 15.
The couple is said to have been married for several years and have five children — four boys and a girl aged between 32 and 20 years as well as five grandchildren. Tess said she had left Wigwe in 1999 due to womanizing and frequent beating. However the Nigerian High Commissioner has denied Tess’s allegations of having beaten her up, Wigwe admitted that he had married two other women during the nine years he and his wife lived separate lives as she went to the UK to work. In his exclusive interview with the Star, he said “I’m really shocked that the wife of an ambassador could degrade herself to this level. Those were self-taken photos she took ten days ago in front of me and the two children she claims took her to hospital,”. Wigwe said his wife was capable of anything and accused her of breaking into his bedroom and taking away some of his Rolex watches, he said Tess had a motive and claimed that she wants money.
Interestingly, the two children who were said to have rushed in to save their mother do not seem to corroborate either story. Nelson contradicted his mother’s claim that he had come to her rescue.
“I was in my room resting when l heard a commotion. When l came out, l found the two of them arguing. I do not know who or what happened.” Nelson and his sister said they wanted to set the record straight and came to the Star offices to do this. “The fact is, while the relationship between our parents has been tumultuous, from past instances l feel that reports of the event are far from the truth,” said Nelson. Adda said she accompanied her mother and two of her friends who arrived to take her to hospital.
Earlier on Thursday, a woman who spoke in deeply accented English and identified herself as Rhoda Akambi, the High Commission’s principal communication officer, said that Tess’s injuries were “fake”. Akambi said the bloodstains and injuries seen on the face of the diplomat’s wife was tomato sauce which she had applied on herself in her attempt to blackmail the diplomat.
The High Commission last night issued a statement expressing deep concerns about the allegations against the High Commissioner. “While refraining from commenting on the status of the union of Chief Dr Chijoke Wilcox and Mrs Tess Iyi Wigwe, the Nigeria High Commission wishes to assure the public that the allegations made against Dr Wigwe are to the best of its knowledge, malevolent, far from the truth and unsubstantiated.”
The statement continued, “All we ask the public at this stage is to allow us time to ascertain the truth of the matter, before his hard-earned reputation and lifetime achievements are destroyed by these accusations .
Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino said the police were addressing the matter. “We are very concerned about this matter. We just want to deal with it so that we have all the details. We are however sorry that no report was made to any police station and recorded at the occurrence book initially,” Owino said about the incident which Tess said was reported to the Spring Valley police station.
Last night, the Federation of Women Lawyers of Kenya issued a statement signed by its chairperson Naomi Wagereka condemning the incident and asking for the diplomat to be removed. Fida asked the government to declare Wigwe persona non grata (not welcome); arrest and prosecute him. Fida asked the Nigerian government to withdraw Wigwe’s diplomatic status and immunity and provide immediate protection and care to his wife.