Bolanle Raheem Murder-Police Officer Accused of Killing Lagos-based Lawyer on Christmas Day Claims the Bullet Did Not Come from His Rifle
Justice Ibironke Harrison of the Lagos High Court, presiding at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island, has directed the lawyers involved in the trial of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Drambi Vandi, who is charged with the killing of Lagos-based lawyer Mrs Bolanle Raheem on December 25, 2022, to submit their written addresses.
This order was issued during the latest hearing of the case on Wednesday, May 31, after the accused police officer concluded his defence before the court.
During his testimony before Justice Harrison, Vandi asserted that the bullet presented in court, which was alleged to have caused Bolanle Raheem’s death, did not originate from the rifle he carried on December 25, 2022.
He further claimed that he had never come across the bullet until it was presented as evidence in court.
Additionally, Vandi discussed the training provided to police officers regarding the use of firearms and ammunition.
He explained that he had received training at a local school, where he was educated on various types of rifles, pistols, and ammunition used by police officers.
Vandi stated that he was trained in assembling and dismantling firearms and ammunition. Moreover, he informed the court that police officers stationed at barracks undergo comprehensive training on rifle handling every five months to refresh their knowledge. He also provided an explanation to the court about the functioning of AK-47 bullets.
“The magazine Exhibit P19), containing six bullets is the shell of an assorted rifle and it is used in an Ak-47, while the bullet (Exhibit P11a) is a long-range bullet. This one covers over 500 metres. If you line up 10 people, this bullet will go through all of them. When it is shot at a close range, it can’t remain inside the person’s body and also any object at close range, it must penetrate through it. It must pass through at least four objects, and this is not the ammunition in my rifle on the 25th of December, 2023.
The rifle is automatic. By using this bullet, you must cork the rifle and anyone around that area will hear the noise of the cork. Once it is fired, the shell will fall on the right side on the ground near the person that fired it and it will remain at the point of fire. The noise will be so loud when fired. I’ve never come across this exhibit before even all through my training and it’s not the type of of ammunition used by the police,” he said.
Speaking further, Vandi said;
‘’I was disarmed by the DPO at Budo hospital. I booked 25 rounds from the armourer which I signed for. The same ammunition was inside the magazine, same ammunition was disarmed. When I was disarmed, the ammunition was not counted in my presence at Budo hospital.”
During the cross-examination conducted by the Director of Public Prosecution, Dr. Babajide Martins, Vandi provided testimony regarding the occurrences of the previous Christmas season.
“On 25th of December 2022, I was on duty at Ajah Underbridge, and I was with a rifle that had 25 rounds of ammunition which I booked from the armourer and signed for. I resumed duty in the morning, but I don’t know the time. I was with Inspector Ameh and Inspector Ibimene. I was not the only one armed, Ibimene was also armed but I was the last man on guard. I stood about 100 metres away from where the affected vehicle was parked. I went to the hospital with the driver, the deceased in the vehicle involved but not all of us were in the vehicle.
Titilayo (the sister of the deceased) was not in the vehicle. I was half dressed, wearing a mufti when I was arrested at Budo Hospital and I was taken to the police station where I wrote my statement. All of us were detained and we wrote our statements at Ajah and Panti. None of us was released before we were transferred to Panti. I wish the deceased is alive and I regret her death. May her soul rest in peace,” he concluded.
Upon carefully considering the presented testimony, Justice Harrison instructed the lawyers involved in the case to prepare and submit their written addresses to one another within the next 21 days. The judge further scheduled the adoption of these written addresses for the 13th of July, 2023, marking the date for the final phase of the proceedings in the case.