Police charge 6-year-old to court over murder

By Patrick Egwu, Enugu

(Enugu, Nigeria) The Enugu State Police Command has arraigned a 6-year-old boy, Master Chibuike Oramalu before a Magistrate Court in the state on charges of conspiracy and murder of a 12-year-old Master Oluebube Boniface.

It will be recalled that the incident that led to the murder of Master Oluebube Boniface and subsequent arrest and detention of Master Chibuike Oramalu occurred on the 29th of May, 2016 at No 5/7, Robito Crescent, Independence Layout, behind Government House, Enugu where Mrs. Nwakaego Oramalu, the mother of Master Chibuike, worked as a cleaner and house help for Mr. Edwin Oforma.

On Sunday, the 29th of May, 2016 while Mrs. Oramalu was away at Adoration Ministries for the Sunday service, the son of her employer, Chukwuanu Oforma, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member asked little Chibuike and his 10-year-old brother, Ifeanyichukwu Oramalu to go and clean his father’s room.

While the two children were cleaning up the room, Ifeanyichukwu was sweeping while Chibuike was laying the bed spread. It was then that Chibuike saw a gun near the bed and carried it; showed the gun to his elder brother Ifeanyichukwu who asked him to return the gun where he picked it from.

In the process of returning the gun, Chibuike mistakenly pulled the trigger and a shot went off, shattered the glass window of the room, pierced the wall of the next building, passed out on the other end and went to hit a 12-year-old boy, Oluebube Boniface in the chest. Oluebube died instantly.

Chibuike, a primary 2 pupil of Carmelite Nursery and Primary School, Nike Avenue, G.R.A, Enugu, was then taken into custody at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) police headquarters, Enugu on the 30th of May, 2016.

After that, a massive campaign, petition by different rights group, civil societies, and a public outcry by the public greeted the arrest and subsequent detention of Chibiuke by the police over murder.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Emmanuel Ojukwu had earlier maintained that Chibuike was placed under “protective custody” to avoid reprisal attack from the family of the deceased Oluebube Boniface.
The police command in the state however succumbed to pressure and later released on the 13th of July, 2016 after a 6 weeks sojourn in the state CID police cell, Enugu.

The case however took another dimension when the police headquarters in the state called the mother of Chibuike, Mrs. Oramalu to come along with Chibuike to the police headquarters.

Mrs. Oramalu went there with Chibuike and the police proceeded to the state Magistrate Court with Chibuike and Edwin Oforma, the owner of the gun who had earlier reported to the police.

At the Magistrate Court, police filed a two count charge of conspiracy and murder against Chibuike and Edwin Oforma. Oforma was also charged with unlawful possession of a Zebra English made double barrel gun.

In his ruling the learned Magistrate, His Worship Hillary Asogwa, after listening to the submissions by the defendant’s lawyers, agreed that the 6-year-old boy is incapable of committing any crime and as such could not be remanded in prison custody.

The learned Magistrate therefore released Chibuike on bond to the mother but went ahead to remand Mr. Edwin Oforma in prison for murder and unlawful possession of a double barrel gun.

In a reaction, the defense counsel to Chibuike Oramalu, Barr. Olu Omotayo, said: “we salute the courage and wisdom of His Worship Hillary Asogwa in this matter and we know that with the likes of him on the bench, there is greater hope for the judiciary in this country. We submit that the arraignment of the 6-year-old Chibuike today for murder by the police is a mockery and abuse of administration of justice in this country. The question is why are the officers handling this matter bent on sending the 6-year-old boy to prison either by hook or by crook? The Police Service Commission has to live up to its responsibility and save the Nigeria Police and the country in general from this type of embarrassment.”

He further appealed for help from well meaning Nigerians for the families of Chibuke Oramalu and the deceased, Boniface Oluebube.

“We also appeal to kind hearted Nigerians to help the mother of Chibuike whose house cleaning job has already been terminated by this incident and she has also lost the benefit of the accommodation given to her by her former employer. We are also calling for assistance for the family of Ukwa Boniface with fund to pay for the post mortem as requested by the police and the burial for the 12-year-old son, Boniface Oluebube who died in the incident. The deceased was also a primary school pupil while the father is a poor commercial tricycle operator,” he said.

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