A coalition of more than 223 women’s organizations under the aegis of Womanifesto has demanded justice for the murder of Omobolanle Raheem, 41, a member of the Nigerian Bar Association in Lagos, at the hands of Deputy Superintendent of Police Drambi Vandi.
While describing the unlawful use of force as “a threat to life, liberty, security and equal protection under the law”, the women said there are strict international standards governing how and when police can use force. or firearms.
“We demand the speedy prosecution of Drambi Vandi to the full extent of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015 and other applicable laws. The family and friends of the late Omobolanle Raheem deserve justice and compensation for his loss and trauma,” they stated.
Womanifesto convener and executive director of the Center for Research and Documentation of Women Defenders, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, raised the issues in a statement titled “Justice for Omobolanle Raheem killed by ASP Drambi Vandi!”, obtained by The PUNCH in Abuja on Thursday. .
In addition to WARDC, other signatories included 100 Women Lobby Group, Women Aid Collective, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, Above Whispers Media Foundation, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Prof. Adenike Grange, Moji Makanjuola, Saudatu Mahdi, Josephine Effa-Chukwuma, Esther Eghobami, Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, Bisi Fayemi, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, Julie Oyegun and Josephine Anienih.
Others included Prof. Funmi Para-Mallam, Ene Obi, Fame Foundation, Ebere Ifendu, Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights and Action Aid, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Transition Monitoring Group, Nigerian Women Trust Fund and Dorothy Njemanze Foundation.
Womanifesto said it was shocked by Raheem’s unjust murder and called on the Lagos State government and Nigerian Police to prosecute ASP Drambi Vandi.
The statement read: “We call for a prompt, thorough, transparent and open investigation. This is one more killing by reckless cops. The Nigerian constitution is clearer about the right to life of citizens as a fundamental human right that no one can arbitrarily take illegally and that right to life must be protected by law. Nigerian police are often quick to use force and firearms in illegal ways.
“The illegal use of force is a threat to life, liberty, security and equal protection under the law. It is important to note that there are strict international rules governing how and when police can use force or firearms; one of which is the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officers, which states that police officers should only use deadly force or firearms as a last resort and when such force is strictly necessary to protect oneself from imminent or serious danger. injuries and when other options are not enough.
“Omobolanle’s murder is unnecessary and preventable. How do we justify the need to kill a pregnant woman with five children and more relatives in a vehicle? This is one death too many in Nigeria, it is the obligation of the state authorities, including the police, to respect and protect life and not to take it indiscriminately. Therefore, the Nigerian Police must be held accountable for this death and several others.
“They must consciously and intentionally end police brutality and harassment, which is a serious violation of human rights. Sections 222 and 223 respectively of the Lagos State Criminal Law 2015 clearly define murder as a capital offense and prescribe its punishment. Article 73 deals with the crime of abuse of power. The criminal actions of ASP Drambi Vandi have violated Omobolanle’s right to life, personal dignity and liberty. He has deprived his family of the enjoyment of family life through this ruthless murder.
“As a group, we are committed to joining other Nigerians, and in particular the Nigerian Bar Association, to ensure we walk with family and significant Nigerians to see justice done. We sympathize with the family as we call for holistic policing reforms that are sustainable and beneficial to public safety.”