Joy Egeonu, the 47-year-old woman who accused her husband’s 11-year-old nephew of stealing her N6,500 and allegedly beat him to death, says she is still at loss to understand what happened.
The resident of Ope-Ilu, Ogun State, who is with the police, stated that she only caned the boy, claiming that she was amazed that such could lead to his death.
It has been reported that Egeonu hurriedly buried the primary three pupil, Chibuike, in the Ifo area of the state immediately he died.
The mother of the deceased, Ijeoma, who lives elsewhere, was said to have reported the case to the police at the Agbado Police Division and Egeonu was apprehended.
The incident occurred on Saturday, February 3, 2019.
In an interview with City Round on Thursday, the mother of three explained that Chibuike and his younger sister had been living with her for seven years after their parents separated.
She said Chibuike, his sister and her children were supposed to attend a church service with her that Saturday afternoon, but he later decided to stay back.
The native of Idato in Imo State stated that she warned the boy to stay at home while she and the other children left for church. She added that when they came back from the church around 9pm, they did not meet Chibuike at home.
Egeonu told our correspondent that she discovered that a sum of N6,500 she had kept in her room was missing. She said she queried the boy and he confessed to have stolen the money.
The woman explained that Chibuike started complaining of stomach ache as she was beating her, adding that she later knew that the money was taken by her husband.
She said, “My room was disorganised. As I was wondering what could have happened, the boy ran inside and rushed to the toilet. When he came out, I asked him where he had been to. He said he attended a party in the neighbourhood. I found that the N6,500 I kept in my room was missing and I asked him if he took it. He said yes and that he kept it inside a vehicle.
“He took me to the vehicle, but I didn’t find the money. As I was beating him, he started complaining of stomach ache. I stopped beating him. He was still complaining of the ache when my husband came in. I told my husband what happened and he said he was the one that took the money. He said he came back from work and did not meet anybody at home.”
Egeonu stated that she gave the boy a concoction made of ground bitter kola and milk to drink and the ache subsided. She said after a while, Chibuike started complaining of stomach ache again.
She added, “I also asked him to put his hand in his mouth so he could vomit whatever he might have eaten. My husband had gone to bed. When the pain did not stop around 2.30am, I woke him up and we decided to take the boy to hospital. When we got there, a doctor confirmed that he was dead.
“I usually cane him, which I did that day. I only beat him on the hands and legs. I never knew that kind of beating could kill him. He was always with my husband at his workshop. His mother is my husband’s younger sister. She had an issue with her husband seven years ago, and they separated. Three of her four children, including Chibuike started living with me and my husband. My husband later took one of the three children to the village to reduce the burden. I did not kill him.”
The suspect also denied to have buried the boy to cover up the alleged murder, stating that her husband was aware of the burial.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmed Iliyasu, had directed that the case be transferred to the homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation and directed that the suspect’s husband be arrested.
Saturday PUNCH contacted the spokesperson for the police, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, on Friday asking if the man had been arrested and whether Chibuike’s body had been exhumed for autopsy.
Oyeyemi promised to get back with an update, but had yet to do so as of press time.
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