A seven year old boy has been held since 30 May in a police cell in Enugu with grown up criminals. This is a form of child abuse and clearly unlawful according to Nigerian law and international conventions. The Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), a civil society group, has written to Nigeria’s top cop, Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris Kpotum about this grave injustice. The letter is reproduced in full below.
The Inspector General of Police,
APPEAL FOR URGENT INTERVENTION:
UNLAWFUL CONTINUOUS DETENTION OF 7 YEAR OLD CHIBUIKE MIRACLE ORAMALU
AT THE STATE CRIMINAL AND INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT (SCID) POLICE
HEADQUARTERS, ENUGU, ON A CHARGE OF MURDER.
We write to you in respect of the above-mentioned matter to complain
on the continued unlawful detention of 7 year old Chibuike Miracle
Oramalu, a primary 2 pupil of “Carmelite Nursery and Primary School,
Nike Avenue, G.R.A. Enugu.”
The little Chibuike was taken into custody at the State Criminal and
Investigation Department (State CID), Police Headquarters, Enugu, on
Monday, the 30th day of May 2016.
According to Chibuikes’ mother, Mrs. Nwakaego Oramalu, a single mother
of five children, the incident that led to Chibuike arrest and
detention happened on the 29th day of May 2016 at their residence
No.5/7, Robito Cresent, Independence Layout, behind Government House,
Enugu. Mrs. Nwakaego works as a cleaner and house keeper at the
earlier mentioned address. She was employed by the owner of the
property Mr. Edwin Oforma who also gave her and her children
accommodation on the property.
On Sunday the 29th May 2016, while Mrs. Nwakaego was away to Adoration
Ministries for the church Sunday service, the son of her employer,
Chukwunanu Oforma, a National Youth Corps member asked the little
Chibuike and his 10 year old elder brother named Ifeanyichukwu Oramalu
to clean and tidy up his fathers’ room (Mr. Edwin Oformas’ room).
We were further informed that while the two children were cleaning up
the room, Ifeanyichukwu was sweeping while Chibuike was laying the
bed. Chibuike saw a gun near the bed and carried it; he showed the gun
to the brother Ifeanyichukwu who asked him to return the gun. While
Chibuike was returning the gun he 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 side and went and
hit a 12 year old boy named Oluebube Boniface on the chest. Oluebube
died instantly. Chukwunanu the landlords’ son ran away and he and his
father have not been seen till date.
Policemen from New Haven Police Station were called in, they recovered
the corpse and Mrs. Nwakaego was called on phone to come back from
church and she and her children were taken into protective custody.
The matter was transferred to the State Criminal and Investigation
Department (State CID), Police Headquarters, Enugu, the following day
on Monday, the 30th day of May 2016.
Mrs. Nwakaego and her children made statement to the Police and were
taken into custody but were released two days later with the exception
of Chibuike Oramalu, who was regarded as the principal suspect.
The 7 year old Chibuike has not returned back to school since then as
he has been in Police cell since the 30th day of May 2016 till date.
The Police said until they see Mr. Edwin Oforma, little Chibuke will
not be released.
Mrs. Nwakaego said the body of the Late Oluebube is still lying at the
mortuary as the police asked her and the father of the deceased Mr.
Boniface to contribute N60,000 (Sixty thousand naira) for autopsy
before the corpse could be released to the deceased family for burial.
Mrs. Nwakaego and Mr. Boniface, a commercial tricycle operator said
they could not afford the money.
DEMAND / ACTION SOUGHT:
We condemn in an unequivocal term the continued unlawful detention of
7 year old Chibuke Miracle Oramalu in Police cell at the State
Criminal and Investigation Department (State CID), Police
Headquarters, Enugu, since Monday, the 30th day of May 2016, on the
order of the Officer in charge of the Homicide Section and the
Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of the State Criminal and
Investigation Department (State CID), Police Headquarters, Enugu.
The detention of this 7 year old boy is not only a brutal attack on
the rights of Child in Nigeria but a very dangerous dimension to
rights violations by the Nigeria Police. Nowhere in the world will a
7 year old boy be detained in Police cell for over a month alongside
hardened adult criminals.
We demand the immediate unconditional release of Chibuike Miracle
Oramalu from his present place of unlawful detention and demand a
thorough investigation by the Police High Command into why a 7 year
old who is not recognized under the law as capable of committing any
crime, should continued to be detained at the Police Headquarters,
Enugu; We submit that this investigation should aimed at taking
appropriate punitive sanctions against all the police officers who
participated in this infamous act.
For: The Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN)