Suspended assistant superintendent of police, Drambi Vandi, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Lagos-based lawyer, Bolanle Raheem.
Vandi was arraigned on Monday before a Lagos High Court at the Tafawa Balewa Square presided over by Justice Ibironke Harrison where a one-count charge of murder was preferred on him.
The arraignment which was scheduled for 9 am was initially delayed by the absence of counsel to defend Vandi in court.
When the case was called, the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo, SAN, who is leading the prosecution told the court that he was informed the defence counsel was still on his way.
The court had to stand the matter down to await his arrival. Vandi is now being represented by Mr. Adetokunbo Odutola.
The President of the Bar, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Yakubu Maikyau; the Chairman of the NBA Lagos Branch, Ikechukwu Uwanna; and other executives of the association were also present in court to monitor proceedings.
Vandi is accused of shooting Raheem dead on Christmas Day. In company with his team, the cop who was attached to Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah allegedly tried to stop the lawyer and her family members as they drove back home from a church service.
Raheem was said to have been shot when the driver of the car she was in was attempting a U-turn under the Ajah Bridge. The victim was rushed to a hospital but was confirmed dead.
The tragedy led to nationwide outrage, prompting the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, to recommend Vandi’s suspension on December 28.
According to Baba, the suspension is expected to create an enabling environment for necessary legal procedures to uphold justice in the case without interference.
The Police Service Commission (PSC) approved the suspension with immediate effect on December 29.
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