— Police witness
A police inspector attached to the Ajah division in Lagos State, Matthew Ahmed, has testified before a court in the murder trial of Drambi Vandi, the suspended police officer accused of the murder of Raheem Bolanle, a Lagos-based lawyer.
Mr Ahmed appeared before Ibironke Harrison, a judge, at the Lagos high court, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) annexe, on Monday, as the first prosecution witness in the trial.
The suspended officer fatally shot Mrs Raheem, an expectant mother, on Christmas day.
The police officer is attached to the Ajiwe police division in the Ajah area of the state.
Mr Ahmed told the court that he was one of the three police officers from the division deployed to the Ajah underbridge, on 25 December.
Before his testimony, the defendant had pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge of murder filed against him by the Lagos State government.
Shortly after his plea, his colleague, Mr Ahmed, a police inspector, testified before the court as the first prosecution witness in the trial.
Narrating what happened, Mr Ahmed said he and two other police officers were deployed to Ajah underbridge on Christmas Day.
The police inspector mentioned the names of the two other police officers as Mr Ebieme and Mr Vandi, who is the defendant.
The witness said they were conducting a stop-and-search exercise when the incident happened at Ajah underbridge, adding that he was the only one unarmed in the three-man patrol team.
He said Mr Ebieme, a police inspector, stood at the front of the patrol team, while he was standing in the middle and the defendant was at the back.
“Inspector Ebieme flagged down a car (referring to the deceased husband’s car), the car did not stop, I also flagged down the car, the car did not stop for me,” he said.
“After that, the next thing I heard was a gunshot. I looked back to see what was happening, I saw a car in which the front window was falling down.
“The next thing I saw was that one black woman jumped down from the vehicle. She held SUPOL Vandi and she said ‘oga, you have killed my sister’.
“The woman held him. The next thing, they entered the car and they all zoomed off.”
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Mr Ahmed added that he and Mr Ebieme left the scene after the deceased’s husband drove away from the scene.
He disclosed that the defendant was later brought into the Ajah police station and the three of them were asked to write statements on what transpired during the incident.
“What was the type of the car flagged down on the day of the incident,” Moyosore Onigbanjo, the attorney-general of Lagos State who is leading the prosecution team, asked.
“The car was a Toyota vehicle and it had no plate number,” Mr Ahmed responded.
“Toyota produced so many vehicles. What type of Toyota vehicle?” the attorney-general asked.
“I don’t know,” the police officer said.
“How many people were in the car when it was flagged down?” Mr Onigbanjo asked.
“I saw people in the car. I don’t know how many people were in the car because it did not stop,” Mr Ahmed said.
“Please clarify, the car does not have number plate or you did not see the number plate,”
“It had no number plate,” the police officer insisted.
The police inspector was also cross-examined by Odutola Adetokunbo, the lawyer of the defendant.
During the cross-examination, Mr Adetokunbo asked the witness to differentiate between a gunshot and a noise.
Mr Adetokunbo said the police inspector wrote in a statement that he heard a noise after he flagged down the deceased’s husband’s car.
The police inspector responded that he heard a gunshot from his back, where the defendant was standing during the patrol.
The judge granted the request of both parties to accelerate the hearing and adjourned the case to 25 and 26 January.