As the demand for justice for slain pregnant lawyer Bolanle Raheem grows, the Police Service Commission on Thursday approved the immediate suspension of suspected killer cop, ASP Drambi Vandi.
PSC spokesman Ikechukwu Ani confirmed the development in a statement after Inspector General of Police Usman Baba recommended that Vandi be suspended for pulling the trigger that claimed Raheem’s life on Christmas Day in the Ajah area. in the state of Lagos.
Ani said: “The commission, in a letter to the Inspector General of Police signed by the acting chairperson, Clara Ogunbiyi, stated that the commission has carefully examined the facts of the case, observations and recommendations regarding the allegations against the officer and granted the approval for the suspension of the officer from his duties with immediate effect”.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said Thursday there would be no cover-up in the investigation and prosecution of the culprit.
The governor, during his visit to the IG at the police headquarters in Abuja, said that the outcome of the investigation of the case was important for the government and the people of the state.
“We have come here this morning firstly to extend seasonal greetings to the Inspector General of Police and also to get an update and inform him about the security situation in Lagos State, especially the very recent unfortunate incident of the death of a lady. , Bolanle Raheem hit by a policeman’s bullet and also an earlier incident that occurred weeks before.
“For me, as the governor of the state, I think it’s important and it’s very serious for us to come here and get a sense of how soon we can charge this officer in court. And we got a very positive response and commitment from the Inspector General of Police himself,” said Sanwo-Olu.
The Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos branch, vowed on Thursday to monitor Vandi’s prosecution.
In a statement, a senior Nigerian lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), said he would lead a team of NBA lawyers to partner with the Lagos State Ministry of Justice on the prosecution of the police officer.
“The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch, to which Ms. Raheem belongs, Mr. Ikechukwu Uwana, contacted Mr. Adegboruwa to lead the NBA legal team that will oversee the trial. of the policeman
“The NBA, Lagos, together with the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. YC Mikyau (SAN), has decided to be a part of the prosecution of the policeman as part of the efforts to secure speedy and effective justice for the family of the deceased,” the statement said.
According to the Nigerian News AgencyAdegboruwa explained that the NBA would seek damages to the tune of N5bn, and demanded a retraining for all policemen and men in the handling and use of weapons.
Furthermore, a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), while reacting to the tragic death of Raheem, said it was time for lawyers to take a stand against atrocities committed by trigger-happy police in Nigeria.
In Thursday’s statement, Falana said: “The cruel murder of Ms. Bolanle Raheem provides an opportunity for the Nigerian people, led by lawyers, to address the root cause of the extrajudicial killings of unarmed citizens by law enforcement officers.” .
Falana, stressing the need to include human rights in the Nigerian Police Academy’s curriculum, said the training of police cadets remains as brutal as it was under British colonial rule.
But NBA president Yakubu Maikyau, in a broadcast monitored by our Channels Television correspondent on Thursday, said the association was suspicious of Vandi’s prosecution.
Maikyau, citing sections 96 and 103 of the Police Act 2020, argued that he did not agree with the public waiting for the errant officer’s suspension before his prosecution commenced.
He said: “Of course, if you look at the provisions of the Police Act 2020, if you read Section 96 of that Act, and also Section 103 of that Act, it is very clear that once a police officer is charged of having committed a particular crime, and in this particular case, the suspicion is murder, there is nothing in that Law that can be construed as not allowing the prosecution of that police officer, or as making the prosecution or investigation subject to of that police officer, to certain internal mechanisms of the Nigerian Police.”
Reacting to Raheem’s death, Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, representing the southern Ondo senatorial district, urged President Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) to carry out police reform to curb extrajudicial killings of Nigerians. innocent at the hands of security agents.
Tofowomo, in a statement by his media aide Olumide Akinrinlola, said: “President Buhari should know that I have been fighting for meaningful police reform since I took office as a member of the 9th senate in 2019. His Excellency still has a long time to establish a police reform conference as a legacy you can leave behind.”
In addition, a coalition of more than 223 women’s organizations under the aegis of Womanifesto demanded justice for the 41-year-old lawyer on Thursday.
While describing the unlawful use of force as “a threat to life, liberty, security and equal protection under the law,” the NGO said there are strict international standards governing how and when police can use force. or firearms.
A human rights organization, the Women Aid Collective, while condemning the killing of Raheem by a trigger-happy police officer, said the police had learned nothing from the #EndSARS protest, adding that since the protest, the police officers had “exacerbated their atrocities with complete impunity against the Nigerians whom they were paid to protect”.