A coalition of over 223 women organisations under the aegis of Womanifesto has demanded justice for the murder of 41-year-old Omobolanle Raheem, a member of the Nigerian Bar Association in Lagos by Assistant Superintendent of Police, Drambi Vandi.
While describing unlawful use of force as “a threat to life, liberty, security and equal protection under the law”, the women said there were strict international standards governing how and when police can use force, or firearms.
“We demand the speedy prosecution of Drambi Vandi to the full extent of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 and other applicable laws. The family and friends of the deceased Omobolanle Raheem deserve justice and compensation for their loss and trauma,” they stated.
The convener of Womanifesto and Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, raised the issues in a statement titled, ‘Justice for Omobolanle Raheem murdered by ASP Drambi Vandi!’, obtained by The PUNCH in Abuja on Thursday.
Apart from WARDC, other signatories included 100 Women Lobby Group, Women Aid Collective, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, Above Whispers Media Foundation, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Prof. Adenike Grange, Moji Makanjuola, Saudatu Mahdi, Josephine Effa-Chukwuma, Esther Eghobami, Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, Bisi Fayemi, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, Julie Oyegun and Josephine Anienih.
Others were Prof. Funmi Para-Mallam, Ene Obi, Fame Foundation, Ebere Ifendu, Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment in Nigerian Society, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights and Action Aid, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Transition Monitoring Group, Nigerian Women Trust Fund and Dorothy Njemanze Foundation.
Womanifesto said it was appalled by the unjust murder of Raheem and called on the Lagos State government and the Nigerian Police to prosecute ASP Drambi Vandi.
The statement said, “We call for a speedy, thorough, transparent and open investigation. This is a death too many by reckless police officers. The Nigerian constitution is clearer on right to life of the citizens as a fundamental human right which cannot be arbitrarily taken by anyone unlawfully and that right to life shall be protected by law. Nigeria police are often quick to use force and firearms unlawfully.
“Unlawful use of force is a threat to life, liberty, security and equal protection under the law. It’s important to note that there are strict international standards governing how and when police can use force, or firearms; one of which is the UN Basic Principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement actors which states that police officers should only use lethal force or firearms as a last resort and when such force is strictly necessary to protect themselves from imminent danger or serious injury and when other options are not sufficient.
“The killing of Omobolanle is unnecessary and preventable. How do we justify the necessity of killing a pregnant woman who had five children and more family members in a vehicle? This is one death too many in Nigeria, it’s the obligation of state authorities including police to respect and protect life and not to take it indiscriminately. Nigerian Police Force must therefore show accountability for this death and several others.
“They must consciously and intentionally end police brutality and harassment which is a major infringement of human rights. Sections 222 and 223 respectively of Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 clearly define murder as a capital offence and prescribe its punishment. Section 73 discusses the offence of abuse of power. ASP Drambi Vandi’s criminal actions have violated Omobolanle’s right to life, personal dignity and freedom. He has deprived her family of the enjoyment of family life through this merciless killing.
“As a group, we are committed to joining other Nigerians and in particular, the Nigerian Bar Association, to ensure we walk with the family and meaningful Nigerians to see that justice is done. We commiserate with the family as we demand holistic police reforms that are sustainable and beneficial to public security.”