There was visible outrage across Nigeria’s media space as a trigger-happy Policeman shot dead a Lagos-based female lawyer, Bolanle Raheem in the Ajah area of the state on Sunday, Christmas day morning. NOHR learned that the shooting occurred when the deceased and her family were returning from Christmas service. The policeman, identified as Drambi Vandi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), and his team was attached to Ajiwe police station, Ajah.
Raheem, it was gathered, was shot when the car she was driving with her family tried to make a U-turn under the Ajah Bridge. She was rushed to a hospital where she was confirmed dead. Police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin confirmed the incident, describing it as “unfortunate and avoidable”, assuring the public that justice will prevail.
“The ASP that shot and two others with him have since been taken into custody,” Hundeyin tweeted on Monday. In a rare move, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, on Monday, less than 24 hours after the killing, condemned the shooting and killing of Raheem, describing the incident as unfortunate and sad, and vowing speedy investigation and prosecution of the officers responsible, according to a statement by a police spokesperson.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has also demanded justice on the matter
Police Killing Too Many
The killing of Raheem is one of the many incidents of police brutality and extrajudicial killings that have been recorded across Nigeria in recent times.
On 6 December 2022, one Gafaru Buraimoh, a 31-year-old young man was killed by a police inspector allegedly attached to the same Ajiwe police station, Ajah. The police said they have arrested the culprit and are investigating the matter
Raheem’s killing comes just over two years after police extrajudicial killings sparked a nationwide outrage that culminated in the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 when millions of youths demanded police reforms, compensation for families of victims, and punishment for trigger-happy policemen.
Following the protest, twenty-eight states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) set up Judicial Panels/Commissions of Inquiry (Panels) to investigate allegations of violations of human rights leveled against members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, especially members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
While some state panels including Lagos, Imo, and FCT have announced the payment of compensation to victims, the federal government has been accused of failing to fulfill any of the other promises it made to the protesters, including the persecution of all the indicted police officers such as James Nwafor, the notorious former head of SARS, Awkuzu in Anambra state who several victims accused of torture and extra-judicial killings. Many human rights groups also believe that police abuses including torture and extra-judicial execution of criminal suspects are still widespread across Nigeria.