FOLLOWING the recall of Nigeria’s Ambassador to Kenya, Dr. Chijioke Wilcox Wigwe by the Federal Government, Wigwe has dismissed the reason behind his recall, describing it as desperate ploy by his estranged wife to tarnish his image.
It would be recalled that the ugly incident, which sparked off public outrage in Kenya, the authorities in the country mounted pressure on the Nigerian government to waive Wigwe’s diplomatic immunity to pave way for his trial.
Already, the Kenya police have prepared ground to try him on charge bothering on assaults, battering and cannibalism in line with the country’s criminal law.
His recall, it was gathered in Abuja might not be unconnected with the government’s plan to give him soft landing as his trial in the foreign country would have serious negative impact on the country’s image.
According to our investigation, the government was disturbed by the development, especially as the affected diplomat had been outstanding in the discharge of his duties in the foreign land and was due to retire from service next month.
Meanwhile, a group, Woman Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA) has called for immediate arrest of the ambassador for express prosecution over his alleged sins.
I married Tess Iyi Wigwe (nee Oniga) under native law and custom in April 1978. The girl I married was famous for her temper and fighting ability. With my gentle and unassuming nature. 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 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 to station, 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 used air freshener bottles and any other objects she could find 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 the 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 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.
In 1993 I was posted to Warsaw, Poland but my family remained in London for the sake of the children and Mrs Wigwe’s education. Having learnt a bitter lesson from Tokyo, I unilaterally decided that Mrs Wigwe must not leave 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 traveled 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 send 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 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. Considering 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.
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 rave 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.
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 deep apprehension, she decided to take a leave of absence for three ears 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 of 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 requirements. I did this in spite of not being married to her. I did not 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.
In response to the allegations, that I battered my wife, 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 shouting 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 starlight 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, 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 to me 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 taking proper charge of her kitchen then she would have noticed that I do not 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 jostled around the door to her own bedroom where a massive wooden shoe rack was standing, Mrs Wigwe received a cut. Once she fell down 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 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.
We hardly engage in conversations except when she needs money. Our irregular engagements in the act of conversation often ended 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 lives.
That long hoped or 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 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 Mrs Wigwe claimed that she had lost $6,000 in cash from her bedroom in 2009 and most recently another $3,000. 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 I l 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.
Mrs Wigwe is an avvid 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.