Nigerians on social media are horrified and outraged after a trigger-happy Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) shot dead a Lagos-based female lawyer, Bolanle Raheem in the Ajah area of the state on Christmas Day.
The unnamed policeman attached to the Ajah Police Station and his team were said to have tried to stop Raheem and her family members as they drove back home from a Christmas Day church service.
Raheem, it was gathered, was shot when the car she was in tried to make a U-turn under the Ajah Bridge.
The victim was rushed to a hospital but was confirmed dead.
Avoidable Incident – Police
The spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin confirmed the incident but described it as “unfortunate and avoidable”, assuring the public that justice will prevail.
“The ASP that shot and two others with him have since been taken into custody,” Hundeyin tweeted on Monday.
He also said the policemen will be moved to the State Criminal Investigation Department in Panti for further investigation.
“The Lagos State Police Command condoles with the family, friends and colleagues of Barrister Bolanle Raheem. The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, CP Abiodun Alabi, has been in touch with the family and the Nigerian Bar Association since yesterday and has given firm assurances that justice will definitely prevail.”
Unfortunate and avoidable incident that was. The ASP that shot and two others with him have since been taken into custody. They are to be moved to the SCID for further investigation. https://t.co/6Q0nYYEsMd
— SP Benjamin Hundeyin (@BenHundeyin) December 26, 2022
IGP Condemns Killing, Orders Speedy Investigation
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, on Monday, condemned the shooting and killing of Raheem.
The IGP, who described the incident as unfortunate and sad, ordered speedy investigation and prosecution of the officers responsible for the ugly and unprofessional act, Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said in a statement.
The IGP said the act doesn’t portray the Nigeria Police Standard Operating Procedure and core values.
“In the same vein, the IGP commiserates with the family, friends, and colleagues of the deceased as he prays for the repose of her soul.
“He further assures the general public of justice in the case while he warns officers and men of the Force to be professional and people-oriented in the discharge of their duties and operate within the ambit of the law, as the Force’s leadership will not condone any inappropriate or unprofessional acts,” the statement read.
NBA Demands Justice
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has demanded that justice be served on the matter.
NBA National Publicity Secretary, Akorede Lawal wrote, “We are aware of this unfortunate incident. This is yet another crime against a lawyer. Regrettably, our member is gone…We shall ensure that justice is duly served.”
We are aware of this unfortunate incident. This is yet another crime against a lawyer. Regrettably, our member is gone. The NBA President @YCMaikyauSAN is right on this and we shall ensure that justice is duly served. https://t.co/bigvQaG0ND
— Akorede Habeeb Lawal (@lawalhab) December 26, 2022
Lawyers, #EndSARS Demonstrators Riled
The killing of Raheem is one of the many incidents of police brutality and extrajudicial killings that have been recorded in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria time after time.
Raheem’s killing comes just over two years after police extrajudicial killings sparked a nationwide outrage that culminated in the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 when millions of youths demanded police reforms, compensation for families of victims and punishment for trigger-happy policemen.
Already, some of the voices of the #EndSARS protests have condemned the killing of Raheem and demanded justice.
Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong tweeted, “A lawyer, Bolanle Raheem, is reported to have been shot and murdered at close range on Christmas Day by a rogue policeman attached to Ajiwe Police Division, Ajah. This is barbaric.
“It is a sad commentary that despite EndSARS, Nigerians are still being slaughtered by the police.”
A lawyer, Bolanle Raheem, is reported to have been shot and murdered at close range on Christmas Day by a rogue policeman attached to Ajiwe Police Division, Ajah. This is barbaric.
It is a sad commentary that despite EndSARS, Nigerians are still being slaughtered by the police. pic.twitter.com/zEp69zu2Kf
— Inibehe Effiong (@InibeheEffiong) December 26, 2022
Popular comedian Debo Adebayo, also known as Mr Macaroni also described Raheem’s killing as barbaric.
“A Nigerian Police Officer from Ajiwe division shot and killed Bolanle Raheem on Xmas day. It is from this same division an Officer killed Gafaru Buraimoh about 2 weeks ago,” he wrote.
“This barbarism by the Nigerian Police must come to an end. These murderers must pay for their crimes!”
A Nigerian Police Officer from Ajiwe division shot and killed Bolanle Raheem on Xmas day. It is from this same division an Officer killed Gafaru Buraimoh about 2 weeks ago.
This barbarism by the Nigerian Police must come to an end.
These Murderers must pay for their crimes!!!
— MrMacaroni (@mrmacaronii) December 26, 2022
Prominent human rights activist and a former Chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu also lent his voice to condemn the killing of Raheem.
Another activist, Rinu Oduala slammed Nigeria Police Force for alleged coverup of the identity of the trigger-happy policeman.
After surviving a tough year, a police officer in her country kïlled her while she was sitting in a car beside her husband on Christmas Day.
One PRO came to tell us “avoidable incident.” God will punish you!
— Rinu Oduala (@SavvyRinu) December 26, 2022
Lawyer Omobolanle Raheem was fatally shot dead by men of the Nigerian Police attached to Ajiwe Police Station, Ajah, Lagos. One death, too many. These evil and despicable men in uniform are getting emboldened with their reckless lawlessness. And lawyers are always targeted. pic.twitter.com/mHQzikJN2W
— FESTUS OGUN (@mrfestusogun) December 26, 2022
In one month, police officers from Ajiwe Police Division in Ajah have shot and killed 2 innocent citizens.
One on the 7th of December and another on the 25th of December.
If people protest now, your favourite idiotic government supporters will come out of hiding to talk shit.
— Demola Of Lagos (@OmoGbajaBiamila) December 26, 2022
Extrajudicial killings by policemen and other security agents have been concerning over the years. A report released in 2021 by a human rights group, the Centre for Democracy and Development said over 13,000 Nigerians were extrajudicially killed by security agents in the last one decade.
The police authorities and those of the Nigerian Army have taken disciplinary actions against culpable officers in recent times but this has not completely stopped the ugly trend.