Police brutality in Nigeria never seems to take a break. Bolanle Raheem, a Lagos-based realtor, and lawyer, is the latest victim of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). On December 25, 2022, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Drambi Vandi, murdered Raheem during a routine traffic stop.
Here’s what we know so far about the victim, the murder, and what the government is doing about it.
Who was Bolanle Raheem?
Raheem was a property lawyer, an award-winning realtor, and a mother of one. She was also pregnant with a set of twins at the time of her death. She also owned a real estate company called Croston Homes.
What happened on Christmas Day?
According to Raheem’s husband, Gbenga, who was an eyewitness, the family started the day like millions of other Nigerians by attending a Christmas Day service at their church. The couple went to church in a car with Raheem’s nieces and nephews with them.
While returning from church, a team of police officers flagged them down to park the car at a checkpoint under the Ajah Bridge in Lagos. Gbenga said he was complying with the order when Vandi shot his wife at point-blank range. He first rushed her to a nearby hospital but the hospital staff couldn’t handle the case. By the time he transferred her to Grandville Hospital in Ajah, doctors confirmed her death on arrival.
How are Nigerians taking the incident?
The murder of Bolanle Raheem has caused outrage on social media, especially since she’s the second victim of a police shooting in Ajah in two weeks.
On December 6, 2022, a stray bullet killed Gufaru Buraimoh, a 31-year-old man. This was during a police raid of illegal fuel marketers in the Sangotedo area of Lagos. The erring police officer was detained. However, he’s yet to be charged to court and the full report of the investigation is yet to be released.
Gufaru Buraimoh [The Nation]
These new cases join a list of other unsolved cases of police brutality in Lagos over the years, including the murder of Jumoke Oyeleke at a Yoruba Nation rally in July 2021, the #EndSARS killings in October 2020, and many others.
What’s the government’s response?
According to the spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, ASP Vandi was arrested immediately with two other police officers who were at the checkpoint. However, the two unnamed officers have been released after interrogation and providing their witness statements.
This is a developing story that would be updated as it develops. But we hope swift justice would prevail and the case doesn’t fade away like many others before it.