•I hawked oranges to train her in school —Mother
•I watched my wife gasp for breath —Widower
•Take action against killer cop, Buhari orders IGP
•Lagos Attorney General to lead prosecution team in trial; Presidential candidates, PSC react
By Evelyn Usman, Johnbosco & Esther Onyegbulam
LAGOS—Omobolanle Raheem, the female lawyer who had her life snuffed out by a bullet from an AK 47 service rifle allegedly fired by a policeman on Christmas day in the Ajah area of Lagos, was pregnant with twins, according to Cable.
This was revealed by her bereaved mother, Mrs Salami, yesterday, when the Lagos State Commissioner of Police paid a condolence visit to the bereaved family. “ She recalled in tears how she hawked oranges to train her in school “This is just as late Bolanle’s widower, Gbenga Raheem, narrated how he watched her gasp for breath until she passed on, on reaching the third hospital she was rushed to.
“Besides, President Muhammadu Buhari, who condemned the act, has directed the Inspector General of Police, IGP Alkali Baba, to take action against the killer cop.“This is just as the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, informed that he would lead the prosecution team in the trial of the killer cop.“
During a condolence visit on the bereaved family by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, CP Abiodun Alabi, late Bolanle’s mother confirmed that her daughter was pregnant.
Unable to hold back the tears , she wailed , “ I will not see my lawyer again. She has been taken away from me. She was pregnant with twins. She died with her glory, leaving a five-year-old baby behind.
Continuing in tears, she said, “ On Monday, my granddaughter came to me said, ‘grandma, Iju Ishaga, I saw you yesterday crying , was it because of my mummy?’, “I said yes. Then she came again and told me that ‘ Pastor Jerry said what God cannot do does not exist . So, grandma, stop crying and she kissed me on the cheek.
“Just like that, she was taken away from me. Oluwagbenga (referring to the deceased’s husband), you won’t see your love.
“It is not easy. A child that I have been training since childhood. I suffered over her. I hawked oranges; there is nothing I did not do.”
How Bolanle was killed
Widower of the late female lawyer , Gbenga, who is yet to come to terms with the reality of his wife’s demise, remained upstairs in his duplex at the Atlantic layout estate, Lakowe , Ajah, yesterday, where close friends and relatives were consoling him.
Recounting the tragedy that befell his family , Mr Raheem said, “on December 25,2022, I woke up with my wife , children, my niece and nephew that came to spend the holiday with us.
“ My church in Ikoyi was having a programme. So, we decided to go to a nearby church. After service my wife said we should take everyone out since it was Christmas. We went to Alibaba supermarket near Abraham Adesanya, where we got ice cream. Thereafter, we went to Domino’s Pizza, near Thomas Estate. We had our pizza and ice cream. From there, we headed towards Ajah to do a u-turn to come back to Abraham Adesanya.
“As we were making the u-turn, we saw policemen stopping cars. They said we should stop. In the process, we heard a loud sound on my wife’s side window. All of a sudden I saw her chest open and blood was gushing out.
“Immediately, I ran out. My sister in- law who was also with us ran out and held the policeman. He(policeman) corked his gun on her. Talking to him was pointless . I ran back into the car to see if anything could be salvaged on my wife. I saw her gasping for breath. By that time my sister in -law had brought the policeman to the car and pushed him to the front seat. We headed to Budo Specialist Hospital. But they said they couldn’t handle it, that we should go to Doren hospital.
“On reaching Doren hospital, they tried to put bandages and cotton wool on her chest. They asked what happened. I said a policeman shot her . They tried to put oxygen on her because she said she couldn’t breathe. They tried to put a syringe in her hand too. The nurse eventually said that since it was a bullet, they couldn’t handle it and that we should take her to Grandville hospital at VGC. On reaching Grandville, they declared that she was no more.”
“The police carried her body and put her in their vehicle. They wanted me to follow them, but I said I needed to go and settle my children whom I dropped off at Budo hospital.
“I went back to take them to the house. One of my neighbours saw me on the road and helped me take them to the house. So,I got back to the police station. My friends and neighbours came around and wanted to pray for the body but they(Police) had taken her to the Mainland.”
Take action against the killer cop, Buhari orders IGP
Describing the killing of the female lawyer and member of the Nigerian Bar Association as heinous, President Buhari in a statement issued yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, expressed shock at the policeman’s act.
He said the incident was a stark reminder of the recurring menace of the mishandling of weapons, adding that it was a wakeup call to law enforcement agencies to ensure full implementation of reforms instituted by the administration on the subject of weapons handling, as well as the protection of the rights of citizens.
He said, “In this hour of grief, the nation stands in solidarity with the bereaved family and the NBA. I assure you that justice will be done in this case.”
Also reacting to the killing, the Police Service Commission, PSC described it as an irresponsible and savage act, adding that it had directed the Police leadership to hasten investigation into the matter and forward its report to it for consideration and further disciplinary action.
A statement by spokesman of the commission, Ikechukwu Ani , further called on the Police to put in place a formidable programme for further training of its men in weapon handling, noting that the case of unprovoked shooting and killing of innocent Nigerians had become worrisome.
“The Commission notes that the Police by its creation and constitutional mandate are expected to protect and save lives and not the other way round.The acting Chairman of the Commission, Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi on behalf of the Management and Staff commiserate with the family of the deceased, especially her husband who was driving her home when they were accosted by the trigger happy Policeman:, the statement read.
Also, presidential candidates in the 2023 general elections took to their respective twitter handles to condemn the policeman’s action.
Five of the candidates agreed in separate statements that the Nigeria Police Force must be immediately reformed and sanitised to end cases of police brutality and extrajudicial killings of citizens.
They were Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party , PDP; Peter Obi of the Labour Party ,LP; Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC; Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party NNPP and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress ,AAC.
“I call on the police authorities and the Justice system to expedite action on the matter, as justice delayed is justice denied. This will serve as a deterrent to the incidents of the irresponsible shooting of innocent citizens by law enforcement agents,” Atiku tweeted.
On his part, Tinubu tweeted ‘Raheem’s killing by a trigger-happy cop underscored the need to reform the police.
Obi, who expressed shock over the “mindless killing”, said the lawyer’s death was a huge loss. “Her killing, and the loss of many innocent lives across the nation to trigger-happy policemen, is the reason why I will embark on immediate and inclusive Security Sector Reform and Governance, SSRG.
“Relatedly, we must improve the functioning and effectiveness of the police by strengthening their civilian oversight as well as increasing their strength, materiel, financial allocation, and enhanced professional training. Our national policing strength must be relative to our national population and meet global standards,” he said.
Similarly, Kwankwaso said, “The murder of Mrs Bolanle Raheem by a trigger-happy policeman underscores the need to bring thorough sanity into the Nigeria Police Force. Police officers should be the first layer of protection for citizens and shouldn’t be consistently caught being the opposite.”
Sowore tweeted’ it is sad that the police haven’t learnt any lessons from the #EndSARS protests of October 2020. “A system of impunity that is used to snuffing life out of Nigerians must be stopped!”
Onigbanjo to lead the prosecution team
Meanwhile, Lagos Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, has disclosed that he would lead the prosecution team in the trial of the killer of Mrs Bolanle Raheem.
He made the disclosure when he led a delegation sent by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State to console the bereaved family at their home in Ajah, yesterday.
Omotosho said, “We have the permission of Mr Governor to tell you that justice will be done in this matter. The matter will be charged to court as soon as the police send us the case file. I will be leading the prosecution to show the seriousness the government attaches to this matter”.
In the delegation were: Head of Service, Muri Okunola, who signed the condolence register on behalf of the government ;Women and Poverty Alleviation Commissioner, Mrs Bolaji Dada and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso.
The widower appreciated the governor for his empathy.
However, information at Vanguard’s disposal revealed that other policemen who were on duty with the killer cop on the day of the incident had been released at the end of the Orderly Room Trial at the command’s headquarters, thereby leaving the Assistant Superintendent of Police who fired the shot that snuffed life out of Bolanle to face the consequences of his action.
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