ASP Drambi Vandi, the police officer charged with killing Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem, a lawyer from Lagos, on Christmas Day of last year, has entered a not-guilty plea.
A one-count charge of murder was presented against Vandi at his arraignment on Monday before a Lagos High Court in Tafawa Balewa Square, presided over by Justice Ibironke Harrison.
The absence of a lawyer to represent Vandi in court initially caused the arraignment, which was scheduled for 9 am, to be postponed.
When the matter was called, Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo, SAN, the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, who is in charge of the prosecution, informed the court that he had been told the defense counsel was still on the way.
In order to wait for him to arrive, the court had to adjourn the case. Adetokunbo Odutola, later representated Vandi.
Yakubu Maikyau, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and President of the Bar, Ikechukwu Uwant to, Chairman of the NBA’s Lagos Branch, and other NBA leaders were also present in court to observe proceedings as part of the association’s commitment to ensuring justice in the case.
Raheem was allegedly shot dead by Vandi on Christmas Day. The officer from Ajah’s Ajiwe Police Station allegedly attempted to stop the lawyer and her family as they were traveling back home from church with his team.
Raheem was allegedly shot as the driver of the vehicle she was riding in tried to make a U-turn beneath the Ajah Bridge. The patient was transported to a hospital but was later declared dead.
Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), recommended Vandi’s suspension on December 28 as a result of the tragedy’s widespread indignation.
According to Baba, the suspension would hopefully foster an environment where the required legal processes may be carried out without obstruction.
On December 29, the Police Service Commission (PSC) authorized the suspension with immediate effect.
The Lagos State Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, filed a one-count complaint against Vandi for the murder of Raheem the next day and that the defendant be kept on detention.
The magistrate granted the plea to hold the defendant in custody at the Ikoyi Correctional Facility and commanded that a duplicate case file be made and delivered to Dr. Jide Martins, the director of public prosecution, for legal counsel.