By Chinyere Omeire
Trial of Darambi Vandi, the police officer who shot a female lawyer dead on Christmas Day in 2022 in Lagos, resumed at a Lagos High Court on Wednesday.
First prosecution witness, Insp. Matthew Ameh, told the court during cross-examination by Vandi’s counsel, Mr Adetokunbo Odutola, that he heard gunshot sound at the scene of the incident.
Ameh had said the same thing when Vandi was first arraigned before the court on Jan. 16, for allegedly killing Mrs Omobolanle Raheem, by shooting her in the chest.
He had narrated how he (Ameh), Vandi and another officer, Insp. Ebimine Fiyegha, were deployed at “Ajah Under Bridge’’, Lagos, to conduct stop-and-search operation.
He narrated that a Toyota car without number plate was flagged down by Insp. Fiyegha, but the driver did not stop to be checked.
The witness said that he also flagged the car to stop, but the driver did not stop.
He said that the next thing he heard was a gunshot which came from Vandi and noise indicating that Mrs Raheem had been shot.
Responding to another question by the defence counsel, Ameh insisted that the noise he referenced in his statement could not have been anything else, but a gunshot sound.
“When you hear the sound of a banger, it is different from a gunshot sound. A tyre bust sound is different from a gunshot sound,’’ Ameh told the court.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN), the third police officer at the scene of the alleged murder, Insp. Fiyegha, confirmed Ameh’s testimony.
He said the trio of police officers at the scene of the incident was led by Vandi.
Fiyegha also corroborated Ameh’s account of the shooting, saying he also heard the noise shortly after the deceased and her husband slowly drove past him and Ameh in a Toyota Venza.
“One woman was in the passenger seat, a man was driving. I flagged the vehicle down. It didn’t stop. They passed me. I wondered why.
“He was not speeding. Ameh also flagged him down but he didn’t stop,’’ Fiyegha told the court.
He said after the car had passed, he heard a gunshot from the back and asked Ameh what was going on.
The witness told the court that afterwards a crowd gathered and swooped on Vandi, brought him out of a commercial minibus where he was hiding and put him in the deceased’s car.
Responding to questions from Onigbanjo, the witness said the Venza posed no threat to him or the public when it drove past.
The witness, who earlier stated that he was armed, denied firing his weapon.
Prosecution had told earlier told the court that Vandi committed the offence on Dec. 25, 2022, at Ajah Roundabout on Lekki- Expressway, Lagos.
According to Onigbanjo, the defendant killed the lawyer, one Mrs Raheem, by shooting her on the chest.
He said that the offence contravened the Criminal Law of Lagos State (2015)
Presiding Justice Ibironke Harrison adjourned hearing to Jan. 26, for continuation of trial. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Alli Hakeem