According to the suspect’s mother, Mrs. Nwakaego Oramalu, Chibuike has been in detention since May 30.
Nwakaego, a single mother of five children, said the incident that led to her son’s arrest and detention happened at a residence in the Independence Layout area of Enugu, where she worked as a housekeeper.
She explained that the owner of the property, Mr. Edwin Oforma, gave her an accommodation in the house, adding that she lived there with her children.
She said, “On May 29, while I was away at the Adoration Ministry at Emene in Enugu, for the Sunday church service, my boss’ son, Chukwunanu Oforma, a National Youth Service Corps member, asked my son, Chibuike, and Chibuike’s 10-year-old brother, Ifeanyichukwu, to tidy up a room belonging to his father.
“While Ifeanyichukwu swept the room, Chibuike laid the bed. Chibuike found a gun near the bed where he was working, and he took it to Ifeanyichukwu, who asked him to return it.
“It was while he was returning the gun that he mistakenly pulled the trigger, releasing a bullet which struck Oluebube, who was in the next compound, on the chest. He died on the spot.”
Nwakaego said Chukwunanu and his father, Edwin, had yet to be seen since the incident happened.
She explained that she was called to return home from the church over the incident, adding that on her return, policemen from the New Haven Police Station, who removed the corpse, took her and her children into custody.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the matter was subsequently transferred to the State Criminal and Investigation Department, Police Headquarters, Enugu, where Nwakaego and her children made statements.
However, our correspondent was told that while the woman and her other children were released two days later, Chibuike, who was regarded as the principal suspect, was held.
Nwakaego alleged that the police said until they see her boss, Edwin, who was the owner of the gun, Chibuike would not be released.
She added that the police asked her and the father of the deceased to contribute the sum of N60,000 for autopsy before Oluebube’s corpse would be released for burial.
Meanwhile, in a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Olu Omotayo, has demanded Chibuike’s release.
Omotayo, who works with the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, said under the law, a seven-year-old was not capable of committing a crime.
The petition, dated July 10, 2016, was also forwarded to the Police Service Commission, the National Human Rights Commission and the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State.
In the petition, Omotayo described Chibuike’s detention as “a brutal attack on the rights of the child in Nigeria” and “a very dangerous dimension to rights violations by the Nigeria police.”
It added, “Nowhere in the world will a seven-year-old boy be detained in police cell for over a month alongside hardened adult criminals.”
The lawyer demanded appropriate punishment for police officers involved in Chibuike’s incarceration.
However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, said the boy was no longer in detention.
“He is not in detention,” Amaraizu said on the telephone on Sunday.
But the victim’s family, when contacted by our correspondent, insisted that he was still in police custody.