By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
The ongoing trial of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr Drambi Vandi, for the murder of a Lagos-based lawyer, Mrs Omobolanle Raheem, on Christmas Day, will continue on Thursday, before the Lagos State High Court, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS).
On Thursday, the prosecution will call more witnesses to testify against the cop for the alleged offence.
Expected to enter the witness box as third and fourth prosecution witnesses are the deceased’s husband, Gbenga Raheem and her sister.
Justice Ibironke Harrison on Wednesday fixed January 26 for the continuation of hearing after the conclusion of testimonies of the first and second prosecution witnesses, Mr Matthew Ameh and Mr Fiyegha Ebimine, both police Inspectors.
Lagos State Government on January 16, began Vandi’s prosecution for the alleged murder.
Its Attorney-General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyo Onigbanjo, SAN, arraigned Vandi on a one-count charge of murder.
The charge, dated December 28, 2022, and marked LD/20598c/22, alleged that Vandi killed Raheem contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
“ASP Vandi on the 25th of December 2022 at Ajah roundabout along Lekki-Epe Expressway Lagos in the Lagos Judicial Division unlawfully killed one Omobolanle Raheem (F) by shooting her in the chest,” it read.
Vandi pleaded not guilty.
At the resumption of proceedings on Wednesday, Vandi’s lawyer, Adetokunbo Odutola completed his cross-examination of Inspector Ameh, which he began on January 16.
Ameh repeated his testimony that on the day and at the scene of the killing, he heard “a noise” indicating that Mrs Raheem had been shot.
Responding to Odutola’s query, the witness explained that the noise he referenced in his statement could not have been anything else but a gunshot sound.
“When you hear the sound of a banger, it is different from a gunshot sound. A tyre bust sound is different from a gunshot sound,” Ameh added.
Upon entering the witness stand, Ebimine was led in evidence by Onigbanjo.
He confirmed Ameh’s testimony that they were in a three-man team led by Vandi on the day of the shooting.
He further corroborated Ameh’s account of the shooting, saying he also heard the “noise” shortly after the deceased and her husband slowly drove past him and Ameh in a Toyota Venza
“One woman was in the passenger seat, a man was driving. I flagged the vehicle down. It didn’t stop. They passed me. I wondered why. He was not speeding. Ameh also flagged him down but he didn’t stop,” Ebimine said
He said shortly after, he heard “a gunshot from the back. I asked Ameh, ‘What is going on?'”
The witness told the court that afterwards a crowd gathered and swooped on Vandi, brought him out of a Korope (commercial minibus) where he hid, and put him in the deceased’s car.
“I was trying to find out what was going on. I called Vandi on the phone to find out. I said ‘Oga, what happened?’ He said ‘wait.’,” Ebimine said.
He testified that Vandi’s response was the same when he called him again some minutes later.
Responding to questions from Onigbanjo, the witness said the Venza posed no threat to him or the public when it drove past.
Onigbanjo: “As the Toyota Venza drove past, was there any threat to your life?”
Ebimine: “No, no, no, no.”
Onigbanjo: “As the Venza approached, was there any threat to the general public?”
Ebimine: “No, they were peaceful there.”
The witness, who earlier stated that he was armed, denied firing his weapon.
Following Odutola’s cross-examination, he hinted at his intention to visit the scene of the crime, adding that he would also like to examine the ballistics report for the weapon and ammunition allegedly used by Vandi.
Justice Harrison advised the lawyer to make a formal application and adjourned till Thursday for the continuation of trial.
Bolanle, 41, was a property lawyer with over 10 years of call-to-bar experience was killed on Christmas Day during a stop and search duty in the Ajah area of Lagos.
Vandi, attached to the Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah, Lagos, is accused of shooting Raheem while she was returning from an outing with her husband, sister and other family members.