The police in Rivers State have arrested one Richard Inimgba, for killing his seven-year-old son over alleged stealing.
The suspect, a resident of Amadi-Ama in Port Harcourt, had accused his son, George Inimgba, of stealing N3,200 on Friday and reportedly used a cutlass to inflict cuts on the victim after beating him up with a plank.
George was found dead the following morning. PUNCH Metro gathered that George's stepmother, Blessing Inimgba, was also arrested by the police for failing to rescue the boy.
It was learnt that Richard had wanted to keep George's death a secret, but for a carpenter who raised the alarm on sighting the injuries on the boy.
Richard was said to have secretly invited the carpenter into his apartment to prepare a coffin for his burial. Some neighbours and relatives of 39-year-old Richard, popularly known as Oyinbo, told one of Punch correspondents that he had been maltreating the boy since he sent his mother packing six years ago.
The wife of Richard's elder brother, who simply identified herself as K.K., said George requested water at the point of death, but the father continued the beating.
She said the boy's attempts to explain that he used part of the money to feed himself because he was hungry fell on deaf ears.
She said, "He beat the boy for about two hours. My husband was not around. The boy was crying and saying, 'Daddy, give me water, I cannot walk again.'
"The boy was saying 'Sorry Daddy' and the man continued to ask, 'Where is the money?' But the boy said he was hungry and used the money to buy bread. He accused the son of stealing N3,200 from him overtime.
"The boy was always hungry and if he came to my house to eat, the stepmother would report him to the father.
"He went to his church to tell the pastor that his child was dead without explaining what led to the little boy's death. It was when the carpenter raised the alarm that the neighbours knew that he had killed his son.
"There were machete cuts on George's body. Some angry boys came out and gave Oyinbo the beating of his life before a team of mobile policemen arrested him and his wife."
A neighbour, who did not want her name mentioned, said Richard was arrested last year after he burnt George's hand in the stove.
She said, "He was arrested, detained for three days and was made to write an undertaking. It was at that point that the boy started going to school for the first time."
A psychologist, Sri George, who first shared the story on Instagram, said he had met with George on the street on Tuesday as people rallied round him after he was caught stealing a snack on the way to school.
He wrote, "What a cruel world. Last Tuesday, between the hours of 8am to 9am, I saw a crowd of people around my vicinity gathered around this little boy. So, I stopped by and inquired what happened.
"They told me that this little boy on his way to school, stole a doughnut from a shop.
"The people whom he stole the doughnut from even gave him more of it and a bottle of drink and asked him to go.
"They all claimed that his father and stepmother have the habit of starving and beating him up on a daily basis. I saw so many scars on his body.
"I took the boy to my house, interviewed him, and he told me how he had been suffering since his mother left his father.
"I gave him some biscuits, asked him to come and eat at my place anytime and promised to see his father this week before he left for school, only to learn this morning (Saturday) that his father has beaten him to death."
The Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, said the matter was being investigated, adding that the man and the wife were in police custody.