A Police Inspector, Sunday Akagu who is the seventh prosecution witness has narrated to Justice Ibironke Harrison of the Lagos State High Court, Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, how suspended Assistant Superintendent of Police, Drambi Vandi, who alledgedly killed a Lagos-based lawyer, Omobolanle Raheem on December 25, 2022 asked him for a bullet to replace his own because it was not complete after the shooting.
He said this while giving evidence on Thursday during the murder trial of the defendant, who he said was arrested and taken into police custody after the shooting.
The police officer attached to the Ajiwe police division in the Ajah area of the state told the court,“In the process of going to the police station, the defendant (Drambi Vandi) said, Odogwu, that’s my nickname, ‘help me with one ammunition and I said no, where will I have it to replace it?”
“Why will I give you my ammunition? And I got provoked and told my colleagues what he requested.”
Being led in evidence by the State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, asked if he obliged his colleague’s request.
He responded, “No, over my dead body.”
He explained that he got informed about the incident when he and three other colleagues were patrolling on 25 December at Ado area of Ajah when they received a distress call from their division boss to come to the office.
He told the court that they went to Budo hospital from their office where the deceased was first taken to.
He said, “It was at the Budo hospital, where we met the defendant and asked what happened and he said let’s discuss it at the station.”
He also explained that the DPO ordered them to take the defendant to the station. He said that five of them visited the hospital, the driver, three of us at the back and the driver and one person close to the driver.
The officer also said that he was tensed when he heard that his colleague fired.
During cross-examination by the Defence Counsel, Adetokunbo Odutola, the witness said that he wasn’t at the crime scene.
He said they got to the police division around 1:00 p.m.
He added that when they took the defendant back to the division from the hospital, they left their boss at the hospital.
Mr. Odutola asked “At what point was the defendant disarmed?”
His response, “I was not there when he was disarmed.”
The defendant lawyer further asked Akagu, “When he entered your vehicle, was his gun with him?”
“I don’t know,” he replied.
“So, his gun was with you?”
“No. I don’t know. They disarmed him before we got to the hospital,” he said.
“Now you told the court that he asked you for the bullet, which gun would he then put the bullet in if he had been disarmed?
“I don’t know,” the witness said.
The witness also said that he and two others (Okoye and Ismail) were armed with the defendant in the police van.
“Can you tell the court the number of the gun you booked?
“It is written in the arm diary. I don’t know it off the top of my head,” he answered.
During the hearing, another officer, the eighth, Olagunju Olatunji, the investigating police officer of the case before it was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, said he has spent 18 years in the Force.
He informed the trial judge that he was in the station around 1:00 p.m when one Enema Titilayo (the deceased’s sister) ran to the station and reported a case of conspiracy and shooting.”
He added that he was part of the team that drove to the three hospitals the deceased was referred to before her death.
According to Olatunji, “We drafted the police and took her corpse to the Yaba Specialist hospital and deposited her corpse.”
He also said about ASP Vandi, “ I saw him hiding under a staircase at the hospital.”
In the course of his investigation, the witness said that “the statement of the suspect was taken with caution while the statement of the complainant was taken voluntarily.
“It was transferred to the SCID in Yaba for further discreet investigation. Speaking of his findings before the case was transferred, the witness also insisted that the defendant’s ammunition was not complete.
He told the court that the defendant fired the gun and at the same time his ammunition was not completed.
“As at the time of his arrest, I saw him with a civilian top on a police trousers.”
During cross-examination, the Defence Counsel asked, “Did the complainant say she saw him shoot?
“She knows him. She didn’t mention his name because she didn’t know his name. She had already held him hostage at the Ajah bridge. Yes,” the witness responded.
“It was when they got to the hospital that the woman ran to the station to make a formal report.”
When probed on how many officers went to the first hospital, he replied they were eight which was different from the testimony of the seventh witness who said five.
“Can you describe the sitting arrangements in the patrol?”
“Five of us were inside and three were at the back. I don’t know their names.”
When he was asked to mention the officers’ names, the witness told the court that he was recently posted to the division and wasn’t familiar with their names.
“Would it surprise you that one of those who went with the DPO said that there were only five?
“That’s not true. We were eight,” he countered.
The witness also said that after Mrs. Raheem was declared dead at the third hospital, three of them took her body to the mortuary.
He also insisted that the three instances that made him conclude that it was his colleague who killed Mrs. Raheem, was that “when the gun was shot at the deceased, both the husband came down and held the cop and took him to Budo (the first hospital) hospital.
“The second instance is that two (officers) out of the three held guns on that day. When they brought their guns to the station, only Sup Vandi’s gun had a shortage of two bullets while the other one was complete.
“The third is that, the police hid under a staircase and he changed his uniform to another one with a gun at hand.”
“Is this the first time that you will see a policeman wear mufti and carry a gun,? the defendant’s lawyer asked.
The witness said no.
“Would it surprise you that the complainant and her husband never said that they saw the defendant shoot?
“I will be very surprised,” he answered.
“Can you arrive at that opinion without a scientific or ballistic proof?
The witness said, “Part of the evidence is eyewitness testimony. Hearsay. That is my personal report as an IPO, other investigations can follow,” he replied.
Justice Harrison adjourned the hearing to 8 and 9 February, 2023 for continuation of trial.