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Omobolale Raheem: Court sets new date for killer cop’s trial

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Akin Kuponiyi

The Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) has adjourned the continuation of trial of the alleged killer of pregnant Lagos lawyer Omobolale Raheem, ASP Drambi Vandi.

The trial adjourned, till Thursday 26, Jan. 2023, will hear the testimonies of two other witnesses- the husband of the deceased, Gbenga Raheem and her sister.

The presiding Judge adjourned till tomorrow after conclusion of the testimonies of the first two prosecution witnesses, Mr Matthew Ameh and Mr Fiyegha Ebimine, two Police Inspectors serving in the same station with the accused cop.

The Lagos State Government on January 16, 2023, began the Prosecution of Vandi for the alleged murder. He was arraigned on a two-count charge of murder 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,” He pleaded not guilty.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, 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 the prosecutor M.Onigbanjo.

He confirmed Ameh’s testimony that they were in a three-man team led by Vandi on the day of the incident.

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 drove 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 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, 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, was accused of shooting Raheem while she was returning from an outing with her husband, sister and other family members.

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