Absence of surety stalls boy’s release
He is in protective custody not detention, says police commissioner
The inability of Mrs. Nwakaego Oramaelu to get a surety that will take her detained seven-year-old child, Chibuike, on bail stalled his release yesterday.
Chibuike was arrested on May 30, 2016, after he mistakenly fired a shot from a gun, killing another teenager in a nearby compound.
Mrs. Oramaelu, who said she was called on phone yesterday morning by the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) to come and collect her son, went joyfully to the station but the hope of reuniting with the boy was dashed when she was asked to provide a surety for the detained schoolboy.
The widow had after waiting endlessly at the station yesterday returned home without her son.Meanwhile, the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, has given reasons why a seven-year-old boy has remained in police custody for over six weeks now. Speaking to journalists during a press briefing yesterday, Ojukwu said Chibuike was in “protective custody”, not in detention.
According to him, the gun incident, which led to the death of a neighbour attracted angry reaction from residents, who had moved to lynch Chibuike, alongside her mother.
“The community rallied round to kill the boy; so, we had to put him in protective custody. We already lost one person owing to that unfortunate incident; we didn’t want to lose another person.
“We also protected the house because the angry residents wanted to set it ablaze. As we speak, policemen are still guarding the compound; we don’t want to lose another life or property”, the commissioner stated.He further disclosed that under the law, the boy could not be charged for any crime, assuring that he would be freed in due course.