The Christmas day brutal murder of a Lagos State-based property lawyer and realtor Bolanle Raheem, less than three weeks after a young man Gafaru Buraimoh, was gunned down by a police officer in the Ajah area of the state has renewed concerns about the need to restructure the country’s security architecture to allow for state police.
In what appears to be sheer abuse of power and indiscipline, the lives of both victims were cut short by officers attached to the Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah, whose job was to protect and defend citizens.
Buraimoh was killed by a stray bullet fired by an unidentified policeman while Raheem was reportedly driving home with her family after the Christmas day service when the shot fired by Assistant Superintendent Dambri Vandi hit her around the chest and she was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Ms Raheem, Lead Consultant at Croston Homes Consulting and mother to a six-year-old girl, reportedly experienced difficulty conceiving again after the birth of her daughter in 2016 and was excited at the prospect of becoming a new mom again after she fell pregnant in 2022, but her hope was crushed by a police bullet that took her life and that of her unborn child.
The Inspector-General of Police Usman Baba, has condemned the shooting and unfortunate killing of the pregnant legal practitioner, saying that the unprofessional did not portray the Nigeria Police Standard Operating Procedure and core values.
Providing an update on Buraimoh’s killing, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command Benjamin Hundeyin, explained that the alleged killer cop responsible for his untimely death was yet to be arraigned because his dismissal order had not been released.
“Once his dismissal order comes out, he will be charged to court immediately”, Hundeyin said without providing a timeframe.
In Nigeria, cases of unprovoked shooting and killing of innocent citizens have been common, especially because of the fact that many perpetrators go unpunished either as a result of the slow justice system or corruption in the Police Force that tends to shield erring officers.
As more Nigerians express shock, sadness and condemnation over these killings, there has been renewed call for the urgent need to put in place a formidable programme for the training of armed officers on weapon handling, as well as a decentralization of the Force to allow states manage their internal security and stop the recurring menace of police brutality and manhandling of weapons.
A Presidential aspirant under the Labour Party Peter Obi, said the continuous waste of human lives under any guise must be discouraged and that there was need to improve the functioning and effectiveness of the police by strengthening their civilian oversight as well as increasing their strength, material, financial allocation, and enhanced professional trainings.
Obi promised to carry out reforms in the security sector if elected in 2023, to ensure that the country’s national policing strength is commensurate to its population in a way that meets global standards.
“I am shocked by the mindless killing of Mrs. Bolanle Raheem by a trigger-happy policeman on a Christmas day. Her killing, and the loss of many innocent lives across the nation to trigger-happy policemen, is the reason why I will embark on immediate and intrusive security sector reform and governance (SSRG),” he hinted.
The Nigerian Police Force is currently under the regulation of the Federal government and states have little or no control over their internal security, hence the clamour for decentralisation where each state can have their own police force which proponents believe will undoubtedly enhance national security.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed his condolence and assured that the State Government will do all in its power to see that justice is served in the case of Raheem.
“I have studied preliminary reports on the matter and have instructed the appropriate Government officers to immediately get on it. We must ensure a speedy justice for the late Bolanle. Our government cannot sit back and watch our citizens killed by the same law enforcers that should ordinarily protect them,” Sanwo-Olu said.