Distinguished Colleagues,

1. Since the barbaric and inexcusable murder of our member, Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem, by ASP Drambi Vandhi of the Nigerian Police Force on 25/12/2022, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has taken some steps in respect of which we now provide this update to our members and Nigerians. 

2. We start by acknowledging that nothing we do will ever be enough to bring back our late member, Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem. We, however, believe that our strong and unwavering pursuit of justice, in this case, may mean that another Nigerian will not have to lose his or her life in the illegal, unlawful, and unjust manner that Omobolanle’s life was taken.

3. On 26/12/2022, the NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN, established an open line of communication with Police authorities over this incident. This communication line has remained open and it has enabled us to track the investigation process and the internal disciplinary procedure of the Nigerian Police. In this regard, we are able to report that on Thursday, 29/12/2022, the Police Service Commission suspended ASP Drambi Vandhi from the Police Force over this incident.

4. Furthermore, on 30/12/2022, the Attorney General of Lagos State filed a one-count charge of murder at the Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court against ASP Drambi Vandhi under the remand procedure of Lagos State. Consequent upon the charge, the court ordered that ASP Drambi Vandhi be remanded at Ikoyi Correctional Centre pending legal advice from the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), and the charge was adjourned to 30/1/2023 for review of the remand order and DPP’s advice.

5. On the instruction of the NBA President, the First Vice President of the NBA, Mrs. Linda Rose Bala, was in Lagos to meet with the Honourable Attorney General (HAG) of Lagos State on the same 30/12/2022. The HAG pledged the resolve of the Lagos State Government to ensure quick justice in respect of the case. The NBA, therefore, expects that the legal advice will be ready soon enough and the Lagos State Government shall in no distant time file information against ASP Drambi Vandhi at the High Court of Lagos State.

6. The NBA was represented at the post-mortem examination carried out on our late member, Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on 30/12/2022. A preliminary report of the exercise is expected today, 31/12/2022. The NBA hopes that the report shall further aid the process of prosecution.

7. In spite of our evident and passionate interest in this case, we reasonably appreciate that the family of Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem must first be consulted on some of the actions we may wish to take, particularly as it relates to taking out a civil action and claiming damages on behalf of the family of our late member. For this reason and for the purpose of condoling with the family, the NBA President directed the First Vice President, Mrs. Linda Rose Bala, to lead a team to meet with the family of the late Mrs. Omobolanle Raheem. The team paid the visit on the family on Friday, 30/12/2022 and the family has agreed for the NBA to act on its behalf in respect of this case.

8. It is therefore pertinent to state that the NBA had not, prior to this meeting on 30/12/2022, engaged or had any form of discussion on the institution of any action on behalf of the family of the deceased. Also, as of the date of that meeting, the NBA had neither briefed anyone to file a suit nor claimed damages of any amount on behalf of the NBA and/or the family of late Mrs. Omoblanle Raheem. 

9. Recall that in our statement of 26/12/2022, the NBA vowed to also ensure justice in the case of Gafaru Buraimoh, a citizen who was killed by policemen attached to the notorious Ajiwe Police Station in a similar circumstance as the late Omobolanle Raheem. The NBA President directed the NBA's First Vice President to meet with the family of the late Gafaru. The NBA Team paid the visit to the family on the same Friday, 30/12/2022 and late Gafaru’s family has requested that the NBA takes up Gafaru’s case. The Team also extended  NBA’s condolences to the family.

10. The NBA notes with concern that since Gafaru was killed in Ajah on 7/12/2022, the police authorities have refused to disclose the identity of the police officer(s) suspected to have been responsible for Gafaru’s death. The NBA has therefore demanded that the Nigerian Police officially and immediately disclose to Nigerians the name(s) of the suspected murderer(s) of citizen – Gafaru Buraimoh. This is the first responsible thing to do!

11. Finally, in order to consolidate on all the steps that have so far been taken and to ensure that our efforts are concerted, the NBA President has now constituted the Team earlier announced in respect of this incident on 26/12/2022 into an Adhoc Committee of the NBA. The Committee comprises the following members: 

i. Mrs. Titilola Akinlawon, SAN – Chairperson

ii. Charles Ajiboye (National Assistant Publicity Secretary) – Member

iii. Ikechukwu Uwanna (Chairman, Lagos Branch) - Member 

iv. Seyi Olawunmi (Chairman, Ikeja Branch) – Member

v. Olalekan Thanni (Chairman, Ikorodu Branch) - Member 

vi. M.A. Sodipo (Chairman, Badagry Branch) - Member

vii. Omotayo Omosehin (Chairman, Epe Branch) - Member 

viii. Oladotun Hassan (Secretary, Epe Branch) – Member

ix. Mrs. Abiye Tam-George (Vice Chairman, Lagos Branch) – Secretary

12. The Committee’s terms of reference are as follows:

i. To continue to interface with the families of late Omobolanle Raheem, and Gafaru Buraimoh, the police, and the office of HAG, Lagos State, over the incidents and cases until the conclusion of prosecution in the respective cases;

ii. To hold watching brief on behalf of the NBA in the course of the prosecutions of ASP Drambi Vandhi and the perpetrator(s) of the death of Gafaru Buraimoh and render periodic reports;

iii. To file civil suits on behalf of the families of late Omobolanle Raheem and Gafaru Buraimoh and do all that is necessary to obtain reasonable compensation for the respective families;

iv. To collaborate with the NBA-Human Rights Institute to develop a capacity training programme for the police on respect for human rights to be implemented jointly by the NBA, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Police Service Commission;

v. To handle all other issues incidental to ensuring justice in the murder cases of Omobolanle Raheem and Gafaru Buraimoh.

13. The NBA President thanks all NBA members and Nigerians for their genuine interest and commitment to this cause.

Akorede Habeeb Lawal

National Publicity Secretary

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