Lagos High Court Rules Death Sentence On Police Officer

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Drambi Vandi (C), having denied the murder charge, has the right to appeal.

Lagos - October 11, 2023 - Mediaage NG News – A Lagos State High Court judge has sentenced a Nigerian police officer to death by hanging for the murder of a Lagos-based lawyer, Bolanle Raheem.

The Raheem family’s lawyer said they were satisfied with the judgement.

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The court found Drambi Vandi guilty of shooting Mrs Raheem, who was pregnant with twins, at close range on the 25th of December, 2022. She had been in a car with her husband and other family members driving back from church when the stop-and-search altercation happened with police.

Vandi had denied the murder charge in court, arguing the bullet presented in court was not from his gun.

“The incident of 25 December 2022 will forever remain a tragedy to the Raheem’s family because it changed lots of people’s lives, the life of her husband, daughter and plenty of people who loved her. We believe the judgement is a step towards reducing the pain on the family members,” Olakitan Agbaje, the family lawyer said.

The verdict is considered a landmark ruling, with rights groups often accusing the police and other law enforcement agencies of arbitrary harassment, extortion and murder.

In 2020, tens of thousands of young Nigerians took to the streets to protest against police brutality after a video went viral of a man allegedly being killed by the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), sparking what became known as the #EndSars demonstrations. The campaign led to the government agreeing to disband Sars.

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Vandi’s sentencing has also ignited a debate on the death penalty in Nigeria, which is rarely carried out.

According to the BBC, Nigeria has about 3,000 people on death row, according to Amnesty International, the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Between 2007 and 2017, there were seven executions in the country with the last one taking place in 2016, the rights group said.

In Nigeria the decision to go ahead with an execution falls to the state governor.

Vandi has a right to appeal – if the judgement is upheld it would be up to Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to decide if the death sentence will be carried out.

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