Outrage, Vexation, as President Buhari, IGP, Others Condemn Killing of Female Lawyer in Lagos

Outrage, Vexation, as President Buhari, IGP, Others Condemn Killing of Female Lawyer in Lagos

…Presidential Candidates Promise Police Reform There has been widespread outrage and feelings of disenchantment from members of the public following the killing on Christmas day, of a female lawyer, Mrs Bolanle Raheem at a police checkpoint in Lagos with President Buhari directing the police authorities to take “the strongest possible action” against the culprits already

…Presidential Candidates Promise Police Reform

There has been widespread outrage and feelings of disenchantment from members of the public following the killing on Christmas day, of a female lawyer, Mrs Bolanle Raheem at a police checkpoint in Lagos with President Buhari directing the police authorities to take “the strongest possible action” against the culprits already held in detention over the killing.

President Buhari, in a statement issued on Tuesday by his media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, said the incident was a stark reminder of the recurring menace of the mishandling of weapons and a wakeup call to law enforcement agencies, including the police, to ensure the full implementation of reforms instituted by the administration on the subject of weapons handling as well as the protection of the rights of citizens.

“In this hour of grief, the nation stands in solidarity with the bereaved family and the NBA. I assure that justice will be done in this case,” the President said.

Also, the Inspector-General of Police in a statement condemned the shooting and killing of Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem, shot and killed by a Policeman attached to Ajiwe Police Station, Ajah, Lagos State.

The IGP, Alkali Baba who described the incident as unfortunate and sad, has ordered speedy investigation and prosecution of the officers responsible for the ugly and unprofessional act, which doesn’t portray the Nigeria Police Standard Operating Procedure and core values. Three policemen involved with the crime are already facing orderly room trial at State CID in Panti, Yaba, Lagos.

The IGP commiserated with the family, friends, and colleagues of the deceased and prays for the repose of the soul of the deceased. He further assured the general public of justice in the case while warning officers and men of the Force to be professional and people-oriented in the discharge of their duties and also operate within the ambit of the law, as the Force’s leadership will not condone any inappropriate or unprofessional acts.

Similarly, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, condoled with the deceased’s family and relatives. He further informed the public about the reprimand and detention of the police officers involved in the incident adding that the state government will not relent until justice is served as fast as possible.

Meanwhile, the presidential flag bearers in the upcoming elections have also bemoaned the shooting of Mrs. Raheem by some men of the Nigerian Police Force. According to their statements, they call for quick justice for the deceased and promised immediate steps to reform the Nigeria Police system. They identfied impunity as the bedrock of unprofessional acts in some sectors of Nigeria security architecture including the Police.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, while sending his condolences to the deceased’s family, condemned the saddening incident, and called for the reformation of the Nigeria Police Force. ”I call on the police authorities and the Justice system to expedite action on the matter, as justice delayed is justice denied. This will serve as a deterrent to the incidents of irresponsible shooting of innocent citizens by law enforcement agents”, he stated.

In the same light, the presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also disparaged the shooting that caused the sudden death of the female lawyer, as he described the incident as unacceptable. He urged the Inspector General of Police to work on upholding professionalism among the police. “:I urge the Inspector General of Police and other responsible authorities to ensure speedy justice in the matter and demonstrate even greater dedication to the nationwide implementation of measures designed to uphold professionalism within the force.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, also frowned at the shocking incident. Commiserating with the deceased family over the mindless shooting, Obi indicated that the lack of adequate training for the police was the reason for the saddening situation. He further advocated for an increase in the strength, finances, and population of Nigeria’s police system.

“Like I’ve always said, a well-trained and professional police officer will not engage in police brutality. Relatedly, we must improve the functioning and effectiveness of the police by strengthening their civilian oversight as well as increasing their strength, materiel, financial allocation, and enhanced professional training. Our national policing strength must be relative to our national population and meet global standards”, Mr. Obi noted.

Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress noted that the incident was a sign of impunity in the country. He also warned the Nigerian police about such a shooting, indicating that it was similar incidents that birthed the EndSars protest in 2020. “A system of impunity that is used to snuffing life out Nigerians must be stopped!”, Mr Sowore noted

Meanwhile, social media has been awash with comments and agitations over the killing of the Lagos based lawyer at the police checkpoint. Most of the comments have been calling for police reform and an end to impunity in Nigeria.

Adebowale Adedayo, a popular skit maker known as Mr Macaroni commented on the incident via his Twitter handle mrmacaronii tweeted that “ 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!!!”

Another Twitter user with the handle https://twitter.com/SultanLuqman tweeted that “Nobody wants to say it but the first level to effective policing Nigeria is to decentralize policing to the subnationals. US Capitol Hill has its own police force. That is how decentralized this should be. We don’t need to have federal police working roads & street corners”

Another twitter user, thatmoiguy tweeted that “Mrs Bolanle Raheem was not a yahoo boy, she did not wrestle the gun from the officer, she was coming from a Christmas service with her family when she was shot at close range. She committed no offence. Yet she was killed brutally. She is every one of us. Remember her name”

Also, kayode_quadiri tweeted that “Something is definitely wrong with the leadership of Ajiwe Police Station or the Area command. This is one too many, in the era where the police authorities are now deliberate about the change. @BenHundeyin I trust the outcome of the investigation will be made public.”

Tope Temokun, the convener of Lawyer Arise for Justice, in his open letter to the Nigerian Bar Association and the Inspector General of Police, demanded that the police reveal the identity of the police officer who shot Mrs. Raheem. He noted that the IG and the police are still communicating with tongues in their cheeks.

Demanding transparency over the incident, Temokun asked the IGP to implement five policies which include: declaring all checkpoints illegal, setting up independent monitors for police the reformation process, police presenting their medical certificates indicating their mental stability in 6 months, barring police with no medical report from going for official assignments, and giving short guns to police on stop and search duty.

“We adopt the above as our demands on the authorities, the presidency, through the Inspector-General of Police and the Police Service Commission and further call on the Nigerian Bar Association to institute a civil action in court against the Nigerian Police and the Presidency to seek reasonable compensation for the family of the slain lawyer, while asking the court to declare illegal and unconstitutional the use of firearms at unarmed road users, particularly at stop and search exercise,” Mr Temokun concluded.

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