Omobolanle Raheem: Another tragedy too many in the year
By Damilare Adeleye
No sooner had one hoped to have seen enough unwarranted tragedies in the year 2022 than another hell broke loose on the 25th of Christmas celebration. On the supposedly joyful moment of merriments, an innocent civilian, Omobolanle Raheem was gruesomely and disdainfully murdered. This time, the crime was not perpetrated by the usually non-state actors like terror bandits, unknown gunmen or armed assailants. Rather, the unfortunate incident was brutally executed by an officer of the Nigerian Police Force identified as Assistant Superintendent of Police named Drambi Vandi, an officer who was said to have spent 33 years in the police service.
Indeed, the barbaric murder of Mrs Raheem Omobolanle, a Lagos-based property lawyer, is a sad tale that took painful tears from my fragile eyes. Following the news, my heart became too heavy, broken and shattered like pieces of burned firewood.
The mother of FOUR, according to verified reports, was returning home with her family after visiting an eatery on Christmas Day before the trigger-happy police ASP fired live bullets on her when she was driving through the Ajah Bridge. The husband to the deceased, while recounting the calamitous event, said his wife was trying to make a U-turn after she was flagged down by police officers attached to Ajiwe Police Station, Ajah area of Lagos State. He said it was in the process that his wife was suddenly shot and uncontrollably gasping for breath before she was confirmed dead at a hospital. So tragic!
Though, it is no news that the alleged officer has been arrested and detained at the State Criminal Investigation Police department for a further investigation into the incident. However, well-meaning Nigerians including President Muhammad Buhari have tasked the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to take stiff legal action against the suspended officer. President Buhari who described the homicide as the “heinous and senseless”, also sympathized with the bereaved family, assuring that justice would prevail on the matter.
Meanwhile, it is not an overstatement that the outgoing year has been full of miserable deaths of promising individuals who were unjustly eliminated. Remember Deborah Samuel. A student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education who was stoned to death by her fellow school mates in May 2022. The late Deborah was beaten and lynched to death over alleged blasphemy. While there are no clear evidence to prove the alleged blasphemy levelled against her, the killers of the young female student are yet to be arrested, let alone being prosecuted. Despite uproar and clamour for justice, it clearly seems like justice has been delayed and consequently been denied.
Similarly, another gruesome murder which occurred in February this year was tragic incident involving Bamise Ayanwola. If not forgotten, Bamise Ayanwola was a 22-year-old fashion designer based in Lagos State.
According to reports, the young entrepreneur was murdered by a suspected Lagos Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) driver.
The late Bamise, who was buried on 16th December, was reported missing after boarding the BRT bus at the Chevron area of Lekki on her way to Oshodi. It was after some days that the professional fashionista was however found dead at Carter Bridge by Ogogoro Community on Lagos Island. Her suspected killer, Andrew Ominikoron, the BRT bus driver, was said to have raped the innocent lady before causing her death. It is understandable that the matter is still pending before the court of law, and we would patiently wait until final judicial pronouncement on the issue is made.
Another tragedy that struck during the year was the heartless murder of Jennifer Anthony, a 300-level student of University of Jos. The 20-year old penultimate finalist was suspected to have been killed by one Moses Okoh, her 22- year old boyfriend for money ritual. Having been declared missing, Jennifer’s lifeless body was later found at a hotel in Jos, along Zaria Road, with some of her body parts, including her eyes, missing. Though, the alleged perpetrator was arrested and arraigned, but court has not delivered any judgement on the case.
These aforementioned incidents are just few incidences of senseless and disdain killing of innocent members of the public. Both male and female; old and young are victims.
On Omobolanle Raheem, justice must be served! While we leave the matter for the court of law to decide, the untimely demise of the 41 year-old pregnant woman must not go without stern consequences on the culprit. Life is sacred and no one, unless it is backed by the law, has authority to take either his/her life or other person’s. Irrespective of the people involved in this matter, justice must be seen prevailing as right to life is a fundamental right recognised by the Nigerian constitution.
Meanwhile, authorities at the Nigerian Police Force should nomalise periodic physiological and psychiatric test on their personnel to ascertain their level of sanity and stability in societal policing. Psychologically unfit officers should immediately be disarmed and banned outright from bearing weapons. On the same token, the welfare and remuneration of our rank and file police officers should adequately be improved in order to optimise their operational efficiency. Most importantly, police reforms, funding, rebranding and upgrading should be taken as priority in order to avert unforeseen circumstances of careless shooting of average civilians by the police operatives.
Adeleye, a freelance journalist writes from Lagos and can be reached via; email@example.com.