Gbenga Raheem has testified in the murder trial of Drambi Vandi, the police officer accused of killing his pregnant wife, Bolanle Raheem.
Mr Raheem on Thursday at the Lagos high court in the TBS area of the state said that hours before her death, they had an “intimate moment” and “light breakfast.”
Mr Raheem is the third prosecution witness in the murder trial.
The Lagos-based lawyer was shot dead on Christmas Day allegedly by Mr Vandi, an assistant superintendent of police attached to the Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah, Lagos State.
Recollecting the events of the day of the incident, Mr Raheem said his late pregnant wife and other members of the family woke up to receive surprise gifts from him.
“On December 25, 2022, the whole family woke up to surprise gifts. I gave everyone gifts because I had gone out the previous day to get gifts,” he said.
“The children woke up to their gifts under their pillows. For my wife, I wrapped a set of jewellery and put it by her side. So she woke up that morning and she was glad.
“Though she was pregnant, we had an intimate moment that morning because she was very glad. After that we had a light breakfast in the morning with the children.”
The witness narrated that he drove the family to a nearby church in their area because their own church in Ikoyi was organising a programme — “Let’s Go Afishing”— at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, which is far from their Ajah residence.
He said that he conveyed the family to church with a new car – Toyota Venza, gifted to his wife by a property developer, two days before the death, “because she met her target. She was a very hardworking woman.”
Speaking further, he said himself, his wife, their daughter, his wife’s sister and her four children were members of the family who were at their Ajah residence as at the time of the incident.
“After we finished breakfast, we went to a nearby church with the new car she was gifted on the Friday before Christmas on Sunday,” he said.
The deceased’s husband disclosed that after the church service, his wife decided that they should take every member of the family out for a Christmas outing.
He said they went to a supermarket and Dominos Pizza to get pizza, ice-cream, yoghurt and other items to eat.
He added that after they had finished eating the items they bought, he drove the car towards Ajah underbridge in order to make a U-turn to head for Abraham Adesanya axis.
He said that while he was at it, some police officers asked him to stop and as he was about to park, he heard a “loud sound” from the side of the car where his wife was sitting.
“An officer on my left asked me to park. While he was telling me to park. I just heard a large sound from my wife’s side of the car,” he said.
“The window of the car was smashed and I saw blood on my wife’s chest.”
He said he quickly parked the car after he saw blood coming out of his wife’s chest, adding that he and his wife’s sister rushed out of the car.
The deceased’s husband added that the defendant pointed his gun at the deceased’s sister and threatened to shoot her after he was challenged.
“I was so devastated and ran towards the officer (referring to Mr Vandi). My sister-in-law who was inside the car with the children also ran backward to meet the officers,” he said.
“He raised his gun towards Titi (referring to the deceased’s sister) when she held him. I was very cautious of him so he won’t shoot again.”
Mr Raheem said that some boys came to the scene and asked him to use the car to block the road and prevent the officers from running away.
He added that the deceased’s sister dragged the defendant to the car to see how he had shot her sister.
“At this point, Titi grabbed the officer and started saying ‘you have killed my sister’. She dragged him to the front seat where my wife was sitting. At this point she was still conscious,” he recounted.
“So I entered the car and sped off. I had forgotten Titi did not enter the car. At this point, the officer was sitting in the front seat with my wife as he headed to the first hospital (Budo Hospital).
He said when he got to the hospital along the Lekki-Epe expressway, they were told that the hospital could not handle her case.
He added that a worker at Budo Hospital asked him to take the deceased to Doreen Hospital for treatment.
Narrating his experience at Doreen Hospital, he said he cried and begged the doctor on duty to save his pregnant wife.
He told the court that his wife was placed on oxygen and cotton wool was used to absorb the blood coming out from her while in the vehicle.
“At Doreen Hospital, I asked for the emergency room and I was shouting for help. They brought a stretcher to the car. I told them that I needed help and that my wife was shot,” Mr Raheem.
“I was just crying and saying ‘my wife is pregnant, please save her life’. So they brought an oxygen tank and put oxygen in her nose and a needle in her hand.
“When they brought the oxygen tank, I cried and pleaded with them. I went to my car to bring my phone to show them my account balance that money is not an issue. I pleaded with them to save my wife.
“They put cotton wool in her chest to try and absorb the blood. She was trying to pray and the doctor said she shouldn’t talk. After, she was saying ‘I can’t breathe’.”
He said that a doctor at the hospital referred them to another hospital — Grandville Hospital at Victoria Garden City (VGC).
He said when it was time to take his wife to the hospital, the ambulance driver was not around to provide the key.
“When they said we needed to take her to Grandville VGC, I said, ‘let’s go. Where is the ambulance?’ They went to get the ambulance and they later said the driver of the ambulance was not around,” the widower said.
“I told them they should give me the key, that I can drive the ambulance. They came back a few minutes later and said the driver was with the key.
“At this point, I noticed that my wife was getting weak. I told them we will put her in my car and that they should let us go quickly. I told them a doctor will follow us.
“I begged the doctor to follow us. At that time, they started pressing her chest.
He also said that a police van escorted his car to take the deceased to Grandville Hospital.
Speaking further, he said he could not easily locate Grandville Hospital at VGC after they left Doreen Hospital.
He disclosed that his wife was declared dead at Grandville Hospital, adding that he was devastated by her death.
“So we got to VGC, I did not know the exact place of the hospital. They did not tell me the exact point in VGC.
“I don’t know the hospital. I asked the security guard where Grandville hospital is, they said it was on the other side of the road.
“So we had to go out again to the express and the police van still followed me.
“So when I got to Grandville, I ran inside shouting my wife had been shot. A lady doctor was around.
“As I rushed her in, they started checking for pulses. That is when they said she had passed on. I was shattered.
“I couldn’t talk again. The police carried her by themselves into their van. I just looked at her lifeless body at the back of the van, I just said my wife is gone.
“It took me a while to put myself together because everything was over.”
During cross-examination, Odutola Adetokunbo, a lawyer to the defendant, asked Mr Raheem whether he saw any of the police officers shooting at his wife.
“I heard a shot and the window was shattered,” he responded.
“Did you see any of the officers shoot at your wife,” the lawyer asked.
“No, sir,” the witness said.
“Did you see the defendant shoot at your wife?” the lawyer asked again.
“No, I did not see him. I was concentrating on the officer on my left and I wanted to park. At least, he raised the gun at my sister-in-law so I was cautious not to aggravate him more,” he said.
“I put it to you that the bullet could have come from another person,” the lawyer said.
“With all due respect, please I will appreciate that you also be sensitive, while you are doing your work. It was my wife that was shot dead,” the deceased’s husband said.
After the cross-examination, the deceased’s sister was presented to the court to testify.
The judge adjourned the matter to 1 and 2 February for further hearing.