Trial Update: ASP Vandi testifies, rejects responsibility for Bolanle Raheem’s death
The suspended Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Drambi Vandi, who is accused of killing Lagos-based lawyer Mrs Omobolanle Raheem, denied the allegations yesterday in the Lagos High Court, which was sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square.
Testifying on his own behalf before Justice Ibironke Harrison, Vandi dismissed the testimonies of all the prosecution witnesses as false, stating that he did not fire any shots from his gun on the day of the incident.
Vandi, who was arraigned by the Lagos State government on a one-count charge of murder, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Led in evidence by his lawyer, Jude Agwu, Vandi recounted that he served as the head of a three-person patrol team responsible for stop and search operations at Ajah underbridge on December 25, 2022.
According to Vandi, during their official duty, he noticed a group of individuals in the area setting off firecrackers. He approached them and asked them to stop. The defendant claimed that it was during this interaction that the sister of the deceased confronted him and accused him of shooting her sister.
“Our team was positioned behind the BRT Park. Some individuals were setting off firecrackers and throwing them onto the road. I approached them to ask them to stop because there were parked vehicles in the vicinity, but they dismissed me, claiming they were enjoying Christmas,” Vandi explained.
“I left them and went back to check on my team. I noticed a parked car, but I did not hit it. The individuals resumed throwing firecrackers onto the road again. As I was about to approach them to stop, a man and a woman approached me. The woman immediately accused me of killing her sister. In an effort to prevent accidental discharge, I raised my gun. I suggested we go and locate the person she claimed I had shot,” Vandi continued.
“I confirmed that someone needed assistance, but I did not see any evidence such as shattered glass. I then looked back to find my team, but they were nowhere in sight. Realizing this, I decided to take the injured woman to the hospital. I asked the man to call the woman who had initially approached me,” Vandi added.
“The man, who happened to be the wounded woman’s husband, left to find her but couldn’t locate her. Consequently, we proceeded to the hospital. Upon arrival, I encountered my friend, Inspector James, who questioned why I was partially undressed. I explained that a woman had grabbed my shirt,” Vandi narrated.
“Inspector James suggested that we go to the station so that I could change, but I declined, expressing my desire to ascertain the condition of the injured woman. Despite this, Inspector James offered me an extra polo shirt, which I accepted. At that moment, we overheard the voice of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) outside. The DPO requested my gun, and I was taken aback. However, the DPO reminded me of his superior position, so I handed him my gun. He instructed me to join them in the police van, and we returned to the police station,” the defendant concluded.
Additionally, Vandi refuted the claim that bullets were missing from his rifle, affirming that the gun was intact when it was collected from him.
Justice Harrison adjourned the matter until May 31 to allow Vandi to conclude his evidence.