Right of Reply: On Allegation of wife battering against me - By Dr. Chijoke Wigwe
Background: I married Tess Iyi Wigwe (nee Oniga) under native law and custom on 9th April 1978. The girl I married was famous for her temper and fighting ability. With my gentle and unassuming nature, I honestly believed that the sharp contrast in our characters could neutralize and complement each other. It was a grave error of judgment.
I joined the Nigerian Foreign Service in April 1984 after teaching at the University of Jos for some years. My first posting in 1986 was to Tokyo, Japan. I was in charge of Commercial and Trade Matters. One night in July 1988, I took my female colleague from another Embassy out for dinner. It was actually the first outing. After dinner, I took her in my car in order to drop her off at a train station. As we drove through town, a car which I quickly recognised as mine (I owned 2 cars) and being driven by Mrs Wigwe pulled up beside us at a traffic light. Mrs Wigwe hurled air freshener bottles and any other objects she could find in the car to hit us. I later came down from the vehicle and explained to her who the lady was. But she did not believe me and instead chased me through the city shouting abuses at us and throwing objects at us. When I got to a train station, I opened the door and let the lady out. Mrs Wigwe abandoned her car in the middle of the road causing a big jam as she ran after the lady. She caught up with her and after interrogating her, seriously assaulted her, and beat her so mercilessly using the woman's umbrella that the woman passed out. Mrs Wigwe fearing that the lady was dead fled the scene taking with her the woman's hand bag. Good Samaritans took the lady to hospital where she spent one month in intensive care. I was made to pay the woman's hospital bills. The morning after the attack, Mrs Wigwe traced me to the Embassy where I had taken shelter and took a huge stone and smashed the windscreen of the car to pieces. Mrs Wigwe never admitted to taking the handbag and its contents. However, months later, the wife of a colleague with whom she had left the handbag, confessed. This gross act of violence visited on an innocent woman, so angered the Nigerian Ambassador and the entire staff that it was decided that Mrs Wigwe should be punished severely to deter other wives with such inclinations. Accordingly, she was suspended from post for 3 months and repatriated to Nigeria by the Embassy in October 1988. She spent a total of 6 months at home coming back only in April 1989 when my posting came to an abrupt end following the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to recall over 150 officers worldwide who had spent 24 months and above at post in the wake of the structural adjustment programme of the government of the day.
That premature recall had a serious psychological impact on my very young family of 4 and I decided to take a one year study leave at own expense ostensibly to pursue a post-graduate diploma in journalism in London, but strategically, to insulate our children from the disruptive effects of the unpredictable posting policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I therefore took my family along with me at great cost. When I left England in February 1992, I left my family behind. In 1993 I was posted to Warsaw, Poland but my family remained in London for the sake of the children's and Mrs Wigwe's education. Having learnt a bitter lesson from Tokyo, I unilaterally decided that Mrs Wigwe must not live with me at post in Warsaw. Instead, I encouraged her quest for higher education since she had only secondary education when I married her. She graduated from Middlesex University in July 1998. I paid her fees through university from 1993 and law school. At the end of my posting in October 1998, I returned to Nigeria. The family, now well established and settled, remained in London. Between 1998 and 1999 I made regular visits to the family. In November 1999, Mrs Wigwe visited me in Abuja and we travelled to her home town. We had a very serious misunderstanding. We returned to Abuja and she travelled back to London. When she returned to London after two weeks, she informed me that she no longer wished for me to come to London as previously planned to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays. All my efforts to reach her by telephone, fax and mail were unsuccessful. The situation continued until 2002 when on transiting London en route New York for an official assignment in July 2002, I discovered that Mrs Wigwe had brought her male lover, a Nigerian of Yoruba tribe, to live with her and the children in the family house. The children told me how they had bitterly resented her and her lover. But she ignored the children and co-habited with her boyfriend in the family house for close to a year. To all intents and purposes, we were still husband and wife; we were not even officially separated! It was then I knew the reason why I had been barred from visiting the family since 1999. Consequently, and bruising from the humiliation she had bestowed on me and the children in particular, I hastily remarried in December 2002. I married my colleague in the service whom I had not actually known for more than six months. By mutual consent in December 2006, we decided to separate amicably and to remain friends which we are to date. As the marriage had no children it was quite easy for us to part. I remained a bachelor.
Following my nomination as ambassador in September 2007, I called Mrs Wigwe on phone to offer her an olive branch and to ask her to join me, if she so wished, to associate with my new appointment. It was another grave error of judgment. Although I never intended that we should live together under the same roof again as husband and wife given our antecedents and the coldness of feelings that mutually existed between us after many years of separate lives. I was only prepared for her to have a sense of belonging and attachment to my new status considering also that we have 5 children together. I thought the honour was due to her. She accepted and travelled to see me in Abuja in April 2008. Our first encounter after many years, proved to me and I guess to her, that we could truly no longer call ourselves husband and wife. Nevertheless and much to my shock and deep apprehension, she decided to take a leave of absence for 3 years from her employer in London to join me in residence in Nairobi. She insisted that I should take over her monthly expenditures in London including an ongoing mortgage for the family house I had myself helped her to buy in 2004 after she was on the verge of losing it due to lack of funds to meet her housing loan requirements. I did this in spite of not being married to her. I did it for the sake of the children. I could not contest her decision to come and live with me in Nairobi thus I let her come. But, it was clear as crystal that our differences and her mistrust of me and our mutual dislike for each other's company were insoluble but above all that our long evaporated love would never come back. Thus, we have been living in separate bedrooms connected by an inner door that is firmly and permanently locked from her side of the border. We decided to live with as minimal contact with each other as we could manage. Because she often refused to open her door, we developed the art of communication by notes pushed under the door. She liked it so much as it often allowed her to state her endless money requests without having to justify them. We hardly engage in conversations except when she needs money. Our irregular engagements in the act of conversation often end up in a quarrel. In public we manage to present a united front but those who are close to us know that we were only putting up appearances. We did fairly well and were just longing for the end of my tenure as ambassador so that we could resume forever our separate lives. That long hoped for time is nearly with us and hence the deep anxiety on the part of Mrs Wigwe who for 3 years has lived in reasonable comfort and financial security, with a Mercedes Benz car and a driver to complement her status. The end of my tenure would mean a return to financial stress and anxiety for her. Mrs Wigwe is in a desperate mood. I am reliably informed that most of the GBP 1,700 mortgage (about $2,800) that I have to cough out every month from my meagre Foreign Service allowance and remit to her account in London through my Barclays account in Nairobi, was allegedly misappropriated by someone she trusted in London and that to date the mortgage in London is in tatters and Mrs Wigwe has suffered a loss of GBP 10,000. Besides this loss, Mrs Wigwe claimed that she had lost $6,000 in cash from her bedroom in 2009 and most recently another $3,000. The houseboy then in 2009 was accused of stealing the money from Mrs Wigwe's 24 hour locked bedroom. The servant pleaded his innocence and the money was never found and police abandoned the matter and we sacked the servant. The latest theft of $3,000 again from her heavily locked bedroom sometime this year remains a mystery. She did interrogate the new servant and even followed him to his house to interrogate his wife, but nothing came of it. Mrs Wigwe is in a desperate state financially. This is the motive for the onslaught against me in a desperate attempt to tarnish my image and reputation and to get monetary compensation that will restore her big loss and sustain her for a long time. That is why she has carefully chosen the words she used in the story that appeared in the Star where she was talking of spine and paralysis. Mrs Wigwe is an avid watcher of the television channel Crime Investigation. She hardly watches anything else. She had obviously practised and rehearsed her lines and actions for months in her premeditated assault on me on Wednesday 11th May 2011. Concerning her wish for spine injury that would lead to paralysis, I can only pray God to please graciously grant her wish so that she may truly know what it is to have spine injury.
ALLEGATION OF WIFE BATTERING
On Thursday 26th May 2011, the Star, a Nairobi based tabloid, published a story in its front page with photographs showing a badly bruised face of Mrs Tess Wigwe and an allegation that I, her husband, had inflicted those injuries on her face. It was alleged that I had beaten my wife because she had responded to a 'note' from me requesting to be served food. It was alleged that I had so beaten her that she suffered injuries to her spine and she was in danger of being paralysed. Many other allegations dating back to many years then followed in her premeditated attempt to build a solid case against me, including the foolish allegation that I used to bring women to the Residence in 2008 and the blatantly false information that she left me in Nigeria in 1999 and went to England to study and live.
In response to these allegations, I wish to state quite categorically that I did not beat my wife and that I did not ask for food either in writing or verbally. What happened that fateful Wednesday night was shocking to me and clearly fits into a pre-planned mould cast by the avid Crime TV watcher.. I had returned home late at night after attending the launch of a new product, Go Places, by Kenya Commercial Bank which was held at the Hilton Hotel. As is my practice, I went straight to my room and began to take off my jacket. Mrs Wigwe matched into my room shouting on top of her voice (that is how she speaks to me) that if I knew I would not be eating at home, I should tell her so she does not have to prepare any meals for me. I was stunned as indeed I had been eating regularly every day when I come home from work. I took it for a joke but I saw she was going on and on and would not let me put in a word. Her loud voice attracted my daughter Ada who came over to my room. Upon sighting my daughter I told her to please convince her mother that I had been eating food I met in the fridge every day at least for the past two weeks. Mrs Wigwe was taking none of that and insisted and before I knew it she was abusing me and calling me names. I naturally got angry and told her that if she were indeed taking proper charge of her kitchen then she would have noticed that I do eat what has been prepared for me. She took offence with my comment and became agitated when I asked her when or what has prompted her sudden interest and care for my welfare.
In her characteristic manner, Mrs Wigwe lunged at me to slap me. I tried defending myself and indeed my daughter came in the way and as we tussled and jostled around the door to her own bedroom where a massive wooden shoe rack was standing, Mrs Wigwe received a cut. Once she felt blood on her right side of face, Mrs Wigwe used her right hand to rub the blood and smeared her entire face with it. She ran into her bedroom and produced a camera and in the presence of my daughter and I, Mrs Wigwe photographed herself, taking two to three shots. She was shouting that she had got me, and that the whole world was going to see her bloodied face; that she was going to send the picture to Abuja. As my daughter and I tried to push her into her room to prevent her from coming to fight me, my daughter's hand was caught in the bedroom door and she gasped in pain. Mrs Wigwe also grabbed her phone and called her friend Yvonne to come and take her as she had been injured and bleeding. My son Nelson, who also joined in the effort to restrain Mrs Wigwe, offered to wipe the blood but Mrs Wigwe refused. With camera in hand, Mrs Wigwe ran downstairs and outside the building and for the next one hour was hurling abuses at me and shouting obscenities about me and my family and friends. It took the combined efforts of the Security Guard, the Cook and my son Nelson Ikenna to hold her back and prevent her from re-entering the house which I had now safely locked. In frustration that she could not re-enter the house, Mrs Wigwe who claimed in her report to the Star that she had suffered spinal injury, managed to wrestle with three able men and finally broke loose to carry a flower pot to smash the big glass window of the room we use as gym. She carried the flower pot and threw it at the glass window, shattering it. Not long after, her friend Yvonne arrived and together with my daughter they drove off. No ambulance was needed to convey Mrs Wigwe to hospital. Mrs Wigwe did not first rush to the Police to report the incident and show her injuries to the police. Mrs Wigwe only reported to the police on 27th May! That speaks volumes. She went to the police after people had begun to doubt her story! The first wave of shock when the story first hit the headlines had begun to give way to sombre reflection and analysis. As the children and house staff began to contradict her story, she decided it was time to make a statement to the police. She began to focus on her dual citizenship and what the British government might do for her.
Yvonne later sent me a text message saying Mrs Wigwe and daughter had been admitted at Aga Khan Hospital. I sent Mrs Wigwe a text in the morning advising her to get much needed rest. I also wanted to go and see her but she bluntly told me to keep off and to await a letter from her lawyer and to watch the news for what was going to happen to me. I had advised her to take the period to rest properly in hospital having noticed that since January she had lacked proper sleep following the devastating news of the alleged misappropriation of GBP 10,000 by her trusted friend and the 'theft' of $3,000 in-house. Of course, she was not aware that my son Nelson to whom she had confided about the loss in London had intimated me I had sworn to secrecy before not to divulge the information. I continue to pretend ignorance of what has been ailing her and almost confining her to her bed for months. In addition, my son had also informed me that while I was away on consultation in Abuja, Mrs Wigwe had told him that somebody had hinted her that I might have purchased a house in Nairobi. She had said that she was investigating it and if found to be true, will engage the services of a lawyer to ensure that her name was appended to the property. She thus began calling my staff in the Embassy but got no positive response. She quizzed Nelson and found out he knew nothing of any such enterprise. She could be scheming to lay her hands on the property if it is indeed true. It is instructive that on the night when her spine was broken and she had severe waist pain, Mrs Wigwe remembered to mention the house issue among the tirade of words that were flying out of her mouth like a practised actor. Her greed would not allow her to note that she alone owns the house in London and in her village which was built entirely with my money while serving in Tokyo. Considering the odds staring her in the face as my tenure in Nairobi draws to a close, Mrs Wigwe is in dire need of a way out.
My daughter Ada was discharged from hospital after several x-rays revealed no damages to her bruised hand. Mrs Wigwe remained in hospital until Saturday 14th morning when Yvonne sent me a text to say that she had been discharged and I needed to pay the bills. I was in church when the text came and I went straight to the hospital and paid the bill of ksh 27,800 (about $330) and even took her x-ray result. She had only taken the pain killer prescribed for her and had not taken the x-ray result. Her spinal injury was miraculously healed within 3 days. From hospital she went straight to Yvonne's home and remained there. I travelled to Abuja on Wednesday 18th and came back on Wednesday 25th. When she heard news of my travel, she returned to the Residence as I was to learn later. As I had locked my bedroom from the front door, I was shocked to discover that my drawers had been ransacked and 1 (one) Rolex watch, 1(one) Accurate gold watch and 1(one) gold ring with precious stone had been stolen with their cases. Mrs Wigwe is the only one with a key to the connecting door to my room. She prevented me from keeping a spare. Only she has absolute access to my bedroom and she enters there at will including when am fast asleep. Why did she have to remove those items if not to sell them and make some extra cash from them? Secondly, when I entered the pantry next to my bedroom, I noticed that 1 (one) trunk box and over 10 (ten) empty suitcases belonging to me had disappeared and the room was desolate. The trunk box was full of my stuff but she had recklessly emptied them and forcefully repacked them into the other two boxes. I asked the houseboy who confirmed that Mrs Wigwe had packed all her personal belongings into the suitcases and locked them in the store downstairs. I went downstairs and noticed that she had removed her pictures from the various room walls. In spite of all these, I found Mrs Wigwe very much living in the house, locked up as usual in her bedroom!
On the same day that I had returned to Nairobi having flown with the night flight from Lagos, I went to work and a little after 11 am I received a call from an unfamiliar number. It was a man from Radio Africa, publishers of the Star. He mumbled something about a letter with very bad photographs of a woman sent in by a woman lawyer in respect to my wife. I was shocked but I told him that I recall that Mrs Wigwe had sent me a text on 12th May saying that I would soon hear from her lawyer. She had also told me that she was going to send pictures around. I instantly denied inflicting any such injuries as he was describing and requested him to call me back so we could set up a meeting to discuss the letter since I who was supposed to be the accused received no such letter from any lawyer. He hung up. The following day, very early in the morning, I could hear movement from Mrs Wigwe's room and I could hear that she had ran downstairs and back upstairs. As I went into the bathroom, a friend called me and advised me to check out the Star newspaper. I ran downstairs to pick up the newspapers of the day from the front door only to discover that Mrs Wigwe had earlier picked them and returned to her room.
When I finally saw a copy of the paper in my office, I was aghast at the strange photos of Mrs Wigwe and her 'battered face' and worse still to read of severe injuries to her 'spine' which according to the report could leave her paralysed! I was also shocked that the story of how the argument started had been shamelessly and fraudulently altered. I was shocked to read that my two children took her to hospital. I was shocked to hear that I had beaten her up in 2008 because I had brought women to the Residence. And many other concoctions of our story over the years completed my day of mystery and entry into the world of absolute scandal and blackmail, with intent to extort money from me.
I affirm on my honour that I am not a wife beater. I affirm that in the many years that I have known and lived with Mrs Wigwe, she has always been the aggressor. That Mrs Wigwe is prone to using her fists first rather than engage in a debate or an argument to prove her case. If anyone is guilty of violence in my home, it is Mrs Wigwe. If anyone is a victim of domestic violence it is I. I have lost many spectacles over the years following Mrs Wigwe's direct hit on my face. I sleep every night afraid that she may enter my room and stab or strangle me in my sleep. I am for this reason half awake all night. I do not take phone calls when I enter the Residence. Every call I take is suspected to be from a woman who must also be my girlfriend. So even for official calls from colleagues or from my host government or my own government, I have to go downstairs where she cannot hear that I am making a call. On some occasion when I would have fallen asleep and had forgotten to turn the television set off, she had stormed into my bedroom with lights blazing, to accuse me of making a call. On such occasions, I normally summon all the humility and composure in me to endure the unwarranted interruption of my sleep in order not to provoke an argument. Mrs Wigwe removes the photographs of people she does not like from the album of official events organised by the Embassy. She had also asked that DVDs be edited to remove the people she no longer considered as friends or people she said did not greet her in a respectful way or people whose affinity to me could not be sufficiently established. Most recently, she abused officials of the Association of Nigerian Women in Kenya (ANWIK) and prevented me from attending the Nigerian Family Fun Day on Easter Saturday 23rd April 2011, organized by the women because she was angry that ANWIK which is registered with the High Commission did not consult and get her approval before approaching the Embassy. The women had apologised and pleaded and even bribed her with a free special dress which she had accepted, but in vain they pleaded. On the day of the event we were not there and my colleague from Ghana had to stand in for me!
On the level of public conduct, Mrs Wigwe has so intimidated and assaulted many people in Nairobi, men and women and staff of the High Commission alike that the High Commission no longer holds dinners, luncheons and other mandatory functions in the Residence. If in doubt, please ask around Nairobi. Mrs Wigwe has assaulted and abused so many people at public gatherings in Nairobi that people fear to greet me when we meet at public functions. Mrs Wigwe hardly supports me in my work. Although she struggles to have a copy my weekly programme and quarrels when my staffs forget to leave a copy for her, she often criticises me for attending too many functions. When people commend me for the work that I do she feels offended and often complains that I am the reason why people don't notice her. I have tried in vain to encourage her to do more social work or to consider doing a post graduate course in any of the universities in Nairobi, as a way of keeping her occupied and fulfilled. But after three years living in Nairobi, she has not added any educational value to her degree.
On relations with staff of the Mission, Mrs Wigwe is a constant irritant. She considers herself as the ambassador and I her weak deputy. She calls staff and directs them on what to do. She intimidates the local staff and threatens to sack them and when I refuse to do so, we quarrel.
Mrs Wigwe is in dire need of psychiatric examination or what religious persons may call spiritual deliverance, but over the many years and on each occasion when I or those close to us have advised her to do so, she had always ended up insulting us. But this woman needs help. Every woman who shakes hands with Dr Wigwe is a threat to Mrs Wigwe. Even my female colleague ambassadors have not been spared. Mrs Wigwe's ten finger nails are painted and coloured differently ranging from blue, red, brown, and gold to yellow. A different colour and pattern for each finger nail. Everybody sees something funny in that especially for a woman her age and status, but only Mrs Wigwe sees it as most fashionable and chic.
Mrs Wigwe is desperate seeing that my posting is fast coming to an end. She badly needs money. She set me up and used me as a pawn by destroying me knowing that we were never going to be husband and wife again after Nairobi. Our coming together was only for the sake of sharing in the glamour and glory of high office. That was the motivating factor for her uncharacteristic concern for my welfare on that night of the 11th and that was why she refused to believe either I or her daughter and instead proceeded to generate an argument using provocative language. She had obviously concluded that Dr Wigwe must not be allowed to leave Nairobi with honours on his back. That was the plot and she found a willing accomplice who introduced her to a woman lawyer who is a friend to the Editor of the junk newspaper otherwise called the Star. That is how the Star has come to champion this fake and fraudulent story in an attempt to help the friend of a friend in her most difficult time of financial ruin and imminent suicide.
My daughter, Adanne and son Nelson Ikenna, had stormed the Star newspaper offices to protest the falsehood the Editor so shamelessly carried in her paper. The Editor had confessed to my children that she and the lawyer were actually friends. Two quality newspapers in Kenya namely the Nation and the Standard had refused to carry the junk story. Nelson has further made a comprehensive statement to the Diplomatic Police, where he had met the Residence Security guard (name withheld) who had witnessed the actions of Mrs Wigwe on the night of the event and had struggled in vain with the Cook and my son Nelson to restrain Mrs Wigwe, with a 'seriously damaged back and spine.' Mrs Wigwe had coached, coaxed and incited him to misinform the police about what happened in order to make her story credible but fortunately for Truth and Justice and fortunately for the millions of men like me all over the world who are silently suffering and living under the Tyranny of a Woman, who are Living in Bondage, who are emotionally and physically abused and assaulted on a daily basis by their wives, who are forbidden to bring their relatives to the house, who are forbidden to bring visitors to the home, who are impoverished by gluttonous and greedy wives, the Christian and God fearing Guard refused to be intimidated. May the Truth prevail.
Violence against Men is real and must be stopped. The stereotyping of men as being responsible for domestic violence has gone too far and has damaged permanently the reputation of so many good men. Many men have lost their lives or have been forced to commit suicide because of over domineering and manipulative women. The female predators move on with glee to their next victim. Mrs Wigwe has proven beyond doubt my long held beliefs that 'Truth is a lie repeated three times,' and another which says that 'He lies often who cries often.'
Dr Chijioke Wilcox Wigwe Dated this 30th day of May 2011 at Nairobi, Republic of Kenya