A Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Monday convicted and sentenced a suspended Assistant Superintendent of Police, Drambi Vandi, who killed a Lagos lawyer, Bolanle Raheem, to death by hanging.
Justice Ibironke Harrison sentenced him after finding him guilty of the murder of the pregnant lawyer.
The judge held that the convict should be hung by the neck until he dies.
Vandi, attached to the Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah, Lagos State, shot Raheem while she was returning from an outing with her family members on December 25, 2022.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Island Branch has expressed excitement over the verdict passed on the killer of its member.
The branch chairman, Mr Olabisi Makanjuola, in an interview with PUNCH Metro, said the association’s members were glad that they played a role in ensuring that justice was served.
He said, “We are happy to have seen the case through to a conclusion and hope that the family and friends of our beloved colleague can now have some form of closure, even though we know that this will not bring Bolanle back to life.
“We see the judgment as a step in the right direction as it sends a strong message that security agents can no longer get away with abuse of office.
“We hope this will serve as a strong deterrent to would-be future offenders. We also hope that the speed with which this matter was determined will be accorded other matters, whether civil or criminal.”
While delivering the judgment, Justice Harrison held that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and that there was overwhelming circumstantial evidence that it was the convict who shot the gun that killed the deceased.
“The death of the deceased was instantaneous. There is no other explanation, it was the gunshot that shattered the side glass and pierced the victim’s chest.
“It was the defendant who had an AK-47 riffle whose ammunition was missing after the armourer counted it,” she held.
She added that the defendant did not say that the shooting was an accidental discharge which would have earned him a lighter sentence of manslaughter.
“Therefore, the defendant is found guilty of the one count charge and sentenced to death by hanging. He should be hung until he dies,” she held.
Reacting to the judgment, Vandi’s counsel, Adetokunbo Odutola, said he would know the next step to take when he reads the judgment.
“I don’t have any regrets taking up this case. The spirit of the Lord directed me and I know it didn’t direct me wrongly,” he said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr Babajide Martins, however, commended the judge for the judgment.
The state government in a 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.
He was arraigned before the court on January 16, 2023, for allegedly shooting the 41-year-old pregnant lawyer at the Ajah Underbridge Roundabout on the Lekki-Ajah Expressway.
Vandi pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge of murder and the court then granted accelerated hearing on the case.
Vandi’s colleagues, Inspectors Matthew Ameh and Fiyegha Ebimine, who were on duty with him when the killing took place testified against him during the trial.
The deceased’s widower, Gbenga, also testified in the case.