COIN…..there are two sides to every story by @obasatemitope (Episode XVI)

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As they drove back to the station, Kogberegbe pondered his next line of action, knowing the only way to further break the case would be illegal; and as much as he despised it, he knew that both Sangosina and Abu weren’t going to tell him all they knew just by interrogating them. Kogberegbe also decided that he was going to spend the night at the station, personally watching over the two culprits until he could find a trustworthy officer to keep watch over them pending their transfer to a proper prison as soon as they could find enough evidence to put them behind bars. Since he wasn’t sure if they still had moles within their branch, he wouldn’t would rather sacrifice his own comfort than risk another dead end…literally speaking. If he was to believe Sangosina, there were other people involved in the homicide; Kogberegbe intended to bring to the open all the information concerning them and bring them to justice or at least give the police all the evidence they would need to make the arrests.

At the station, he confirmed that Abu was still alive, though still unrepentant; then he locked up Sangosina in a cell in the opposite wing from Abu so as to bar any kind of communication between the two.

“We both know I won’t be in here for long” Sangosina said quietly to Kogberegbe

“We’ll see” He responded

“You don’t want to play this game” Sangosina said

“The earlier you wipe that smug look off your face and start telling me the names of those involved in this, the better for you.” Kogberegbe said angrily

“Won’t happen” Sangosina responded with a devilish smile

“Ronke was pregnant as at the time of her death…but you know that already don’t you? My hunch is that the baby is yours; what you probably do not know is that the paternity of the foetus can still be determined, and I’m arranging for your DNA sample to be taken as soon as possible. That at least ties you to the victim; and the already established fact that the murder was carried out by your security guard ties you tightly to the murder. You have a perfect motive to have wanted the child dead, especially since she was the daughter of an opposition politician. It would have been too scandalous and a killer to your career if the story had broken to the media. Well, here’s news for you…the information will still get out that you had illicit affairs with a minor. It will kill your political ambitions and tarnish the image of your party” Kogberegbe said through clenched teeth, not pausing for breath and when he was done, he noticed the smug look gradually disappearing from Sangosina’s face “Plus your guard made some incriminating confessions against you” Kogberegbe lied

“He could have been working on his own” Sangosina said “moreover, he won’t be there to corroborate your story will he?”

“I won’t even bother to ask how you knew about his death, but thanks for reminding me that attempted murder and accomplice to actual murder can be added to your case file while your boy Abu will go down for murder…oh, did I mention that I am going to make sure the court doesn’t hear your case for a looooong time? You won’t be eligible for bail, I will use the fact that you almost took off today against you; and in that period you’re waiting for your case to be heard, I’m going to make sure you’re locked up in a real prison where we’ll check to affirm that you have loyalists. You are going down for a really long time, that I can assure you” Kogberegbe finished and went to take a seat at a temporary desk arranged for him where he could monitor the hallway leading to both Sangosina and Abu’s cells.

He made arrangement for Sangosina’s DNA sample to be taken in the morning as soon as it can be arranged. He apologized for having to stress Dana so much, he knew there were other staff in the lab that can be used but there was no time for Kogberegbe to sift through them all to know which ones could be trusted or otherwise. Kogberegbe also confiscated the food that Sangosina brought for Sabo earlier in the night, it would also be tested for poison. Kogberegbe wanted to make sure that even if he couldn’t find enough evidence to nail him for Ronke’s murder, he would have a lot of other incriminating evidences that would give him maximum sentence. Kogberegbe stared at the phone, wondering if he should call Dr Okanlawon or not, he needed the connection that Doctor could offer, and he needed it quickly, so he decided to try his luck. Doctor picked his call on the first ring as if he’d been standing by for it. Kogberegbe moved away from the hallway.

“I’ve been expecting your call” Dr Okanlawon said, affirming Kogberegbe’s thought.

“Sorry it’s coming late sir” he said

“Was he really trying to run away when you got there?” Dr asked.

Not bothering to ask how he got the information, knowing all the players in the situation have eyes and ears all around, Kogberegbe simply said “Yes sir”

“Tell me everything detective, every single detail”
The time was already 2.A.M but Kogberegbe obliged, Dr was his client and he had every right to details.

When he was through, Dr said “He sounds guilty to me Detective. I want maximum sentence, what are you doing to make sure this happens? Should I call my lawyers?”

“Please calm down sir. That’s not the whole story sir; Sangosina is the prime suspect in the case but I have reasons to believe that there are other people involved sir”

“Others, you say?”

“Yes sir. But I am not yet privy to the information. I need to find means of breaking Sangosina, but I’m certain it’s not a thing your lawyers can do sir. He can also access god lawyers, and that is one thing I do not want him to do right now. He needs to see the insides of a real prison and he needs to be threatened, but to threaten him, we need to find his weak point, only then can he give us the information we need sir.”

“I’m well connected detective. I couldn’t  use my power to protect my daughter, I can at least use it to avenge her”

“I was hoping you’d say that sir” Kogberegbe responded

“I’ll call in favours with the Ministry of Interior and Civil Defence Board. You mentioned maximum security prison right?

Kogberegbe knew he didn’t mention maximum security prison but he wished not to argue so he said “Yes sir”

“It will be arranged. Prepare him for transport tomorrow”

“Yes sir”

“I thought he was a friend, detective…” Dr Okanlawon said, his voice trailing

“Yes sir” was all Kogberegbe could say for he couldn’t put himself in Doctor’s shoes. Losing a child is a grief comparable to none.

“We were neighbours” Doctor continued, getting himself back together “Trust me, I know one or two ways to threaten the man”

“That should come in handy sir”

Good job, detective. I am not disappointed”

“Thank you sir” Kogberegbe responded.

The first call Kogberegbe received the following morning was at 6:30 am from Dr. Okanlawon.

“Has there been any uproar there?” He asked straight up

“How do you mean sir?”

“Less is more, detective; you should know that. Anyway, I want to assume that some drama will unfold at the station. If my instincts are right, and knowing you, you’ll want to keep it under control; but allow it detective.”

“Sir…” Kogberegbe was about to argue but Dr Okanlawon was already off the phone.

At exactly seven a.m., a car recklessly entered the police station, stopping as abruptly as it had swerved in, such that the two uniformed men who were lurking around had to jump out of harm’s way. Without offering an apology, a derailed looking woman got out of the car, closely followed by another who seemed to be in charge of calming her down. Neither of them bothered to shut the car doors.

“Is Sangosina here?” she asked at the counter, obviously trying to calm herself, her left hand holding her wrapper from falling down though she made no attempt to tie it. Her “buba” was a different one from the wrapper even though her looks and carriage suggested high class. Kogberegbe was certain that something not too good must have befallen her to be reacting the way she did.

“ma’am, no one is…”

“Ha!” The woman screamed at the top of her voice, simultaneously stamping her right foot and bending her head in one direction “Ogbeni, you will feel the sting of a cobra if you don’t tell me at once where the bastard is! I have been to three stations this morning, searching for him before being directed here. Do I look like I’m here to play protocol?”

Kogberegbe suspected that this was Sangosina’s wife and that this scenario was what Doctor had called him about earlier on, so he motioned for the constable to allow them in. The constable barely finished –pointing in the direction of the holding cell when the woman stormed in without further wasting words. The hallway was dark as there was no electricity and since the DPO wasn’t around, no one saw reason why fuel should be wasted on electrifying the station.

“Kemisola, is that you?” Sangosina called out meekly and Kemi who was originally headed in the opposite direction, towards Abu’s cell, turned back towards the voice immediately.

“Ha! O o de ni s’orire iwo omokunrin yi. Ko ni daa fun e, ko de ni ye e kale…” she started raining curses on Sangosina.

“E ni suuru mummy Ewa” The second lady tried to placate her.

“Suuru bi ti bawo?” she asked, hissed and turned back towards Sangosina “Wo, Sangowande Sangosina, except I am not Kemisola, Kofoworola’s daughter in this land, I will make you regret the day you were born, gbabe! Se o mo pe omo ale ni e! if you are not a bastard and a coward, how come you didn’t inform your fellow child molesters that you call politicians, that immediately I heard about your evil acts, my children and I dissociated ourselves from you? Why are we having to pay for your sins???”

“What are you talking about?” Sangosina asked, obviously confused.

“Wo, I give you 24 hours gbako to locate the whereabouts of my children o. how you were so gullible to lead them to us, I would never understand. But ma fi ina omo jo mi o! if anything happens to either one of my children ehn, I promise you, all four children from your first marriage lo ma je Olorun nipe and I will make sure I support the lawyers in prosecuting you…” she beat her chest with the palm of her hand “emi kinni yi ni mo wi be. I have documents to put you behind bars for the rest of your life. I will finish you! You have not started!!” with those words, she turned to leave.

“Kemi, hold on a bit. None of these make sense” Sangosina said

The woman stopped in her tracks and turned back angrily “oh, I forgot, the reason why I know who they are is because they told me. They told me they gave you an assignment and you failed and that the fact that they have your children should be a warning to you. I wish they could just kill you and leave my children and I alone. After all you’re nothing but a worthless pig.” She concluded, tears flowing freely down her cheeks as her friend held her shoulders, nudging her out of the station.

Still in his vantage viewpoint, Kogberegbe watched as Kemi’s friend ushered her into the passenger seat without any resistance from the latter, as she herself took the steering.

Kogberegbe placed a call to Dana to know how soon she would arrive at the station for the DNA sample. She confirmed that she was twenty minutes out and that she understood when Kogberegbe tried to explain that he needed her to take the sample because he didn’t know who to trust.

Kogberegbe rallied some policemen in preparation to escort both culprits to separate maximum security prisons. Dr. Okanlawon had also ensured that some army officers would be present in each vehicle so as to avoid foul play since Kogberegbe would not move with the vans. Kogberegbe felt relieved when he heard the information, though he was also told that the men wouldn’t arrive until midday. Kogberegbe felt that was fine, since he was still expecting Dana for the sample. Kpgberegbe felt exhausted so he decided to go wash his face, certain that the stroll to the tap would do his cramped legs some good. It did. On his way back in, he noticed that there was only one constable at the counter.

“Where is Constable Gbemileke?” Kogberegbe asked

“He took the nurse to the cell sir”

“Which nurse?” Kogberegbe asked, frowning.

“For the DNA sample sir”

Kogberegbe’s frown deepened because he knew there was no way Dana would be referred to as “nurse’ and also because he wasn’t expecting her till at least twenty minutes more. Turning around, Kogberegbe doubled up towards the holding cell; he got to the hallway just as Gbemileke inserted the key into the cell’s keyhole.

“Stop at once” Kogberegbe ordered at the top of his voice. In a swift movement, the impostor dropped the small case he was carrying, stabbed Gbemileke and threw the knife in Kogberegbe’s direction. Kogberegbe docked, thankful that the man wasn’t a skilled thrower. The impostor attempted to open Sangosina’s cell but the key wouldn’t give, it must be the wrong one. Kogberegbe got back on his feet, called for help and in no time, the mass of policemen he had got together appeared in the hallway, trapping the man in there, as there was no other way out of the cell area.

The man was arrested and cuffed while Gbemileke was rushed to the hospital. Though the other constable claimed to have searched the impostor, Kogberegbe was furious because it definitely wasn’t properly done otherwise the knife would have been spotted. Further search revealed a syringe containing some fluid which Kogberegbe suspected was intended for Sangosina who visibly shivered in the cell. Every other thing in the briefcase looked genuinely like that of a lab scientist. As much as the police interrogated him, the man refused to say a word. Kogberegbe noticed that Sangosina was rattling so hard that he feared he might have an attack so he kept a close eye on him. Sangosina finally decided to sit on the floor, murmuring incoherently.

“Wickedness. Callous people” Kogebregbe heard Sangosina mumble. “It is true, so Kemi was right, they want me dead. It is done, finished”

By the time Dana arrived, all the strength appeared to be zapped from Sangosina’s body. Although he was cuffed and armed policemen lurked around as Dana took his blood, hair samples and saliva swab, Sangosina was cooperative on his own; he had obviously given up.

Dana took the food sample as well as the syringe brought by the assassin and headed back to her office.

“Please I am ready to make a confession” Sangosina beckoned to Kogberegbe “I hear your men talking about maximum prison, please don’t take me there, I will tell you all you need to know. I heard there are soldiers out there waiting for me”

“Yes,, we’re just waiting for the final go and you’ll be on your way. A few years with heatless criminals should loosen you up a bit”

“Please, honestly, I will talk. I will even give you a written statement with all the names of the people that are involved in this thing. Please just take me to a less severe environment”

“That’s not for me to decide.” Kogberegbe said to him, feigning a disinterested look.

Sangosina started sobbing like a child, mucor coming out of his nostrils. Kogberegbe mused at the irony of life; this was a man who exuded authority and scare, as fierce as a lion just a few days on, but now nothing more than a puppet.

Kogberegbe’s phone rang, he automatically picked it without checking the phone screen, as he’d done all morning.

“Yea?” He said into the mouthpiece

“Hi” said the voice that never ceased to sound sweet to his ears even at such a peak period in his investigation­ Lucy’s.

“I’m in the middle of something babe” He said softly

“Oh, ok. Sorry for disturbing, I’ll call later then”

“Alright then. Thanks”

Kogberegbe got the signal that the transportation would be set in twenty minutes; he gave a nod and told the policemen in charge to get ready.

“You can at least find my children?” Sangosina said desperately “You heard my wife, they don’t deserve to pay for my sins”

“Why should I help you?” Kogberegbe shrugged

“Please detective. I beg you in God’s name, this is not what you think it is. I didn’t kill Ronke”

“Yea, but you gave the order; and your boy did kill her”

“It is the devil’s handiwork, I swear!”

Kogberegbe laughed “That convenient statement again? It never ceases to amuse me”

“Honestly, Sabo wasn’t supposed to kill her. It was just supposed to be a threat” Sangosina continued; Kogberegbe stylishly switched on his recorder.

“You’ll be transported in ten” Kogberegbe said in an attempt to sound uninterested.

“Please help my kids!”

“You have nothing to offer me. As far as I’m concerned, the work I’m paid for is a wrap. I nailed the girl’s killer and the person who gave the direct order. That’s good enough for me”

“If you give me a pen and paper, I’ll write a full testimony. My wife has proof to substantiate all I will write.”

COIN…..there are two sides to every story y @obasatemitope (Episode XV)

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READ ALL PREVIOUS EPISODES HERE, OPEN THE LINK AND START FROM BOTTOM TO TOP.

“What madness is this I hear about? Why would you arrest an innocent man?” The DPO said

“Sir, I have reasons to suspect…”

“We don’t make arrests based on suspicions detective. We investigate suspicions!!!” He shouted

“Yes sir” Kogberegbe simply said, knowing it was fruitless to argue with the DPO

“Now I want you to release the boy without further ado. And when I return from my journey, I want a full report and letter of apology duly addressed to the young man and the entire family he is associated with. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir” Kogberegbe simply said, not having any intention of letting Sabo go. As he dialed Dr. Okanlawon’s number, he saw Mr. Sangosina storm into the station, his agbada flying around all over the place. He gave Kogberegbe a killer look before proceeding to the constables.

“Sir” Kogberegbe said when the line connected “I would like you to pull your strongest strings to keep Sabo locked down for at least twenty four hours.  I know he will break, I just need more time”

“Is anyone causing trouble concerning him?” Dr. Okanlawon asked

“Yes sir, the DPO just got off the phone with me; I believe Mr. Sangosina called to request Sabo’s release”

“He’s a gateman!” Dr. Okanlawon said and even though Kogberegbe didn’t believe that anyone should be referred to as a lower human, he understood that Dr. was confused as to why Mr. Sangosina was so concerned about his gateman that he would pull his connection strings. However, Kogberegbe could argue that off that if the gateman got arrested, one way or another, this would tarnish Mr. Sangosina’s image if the news should get out.

“He’s a gateman sir, but for whatever reason, some people don’t want him behind bars for too long”

“I’ll call the commissioner of police right away and get back to you”

“Thank you sir”

A few minutes  later, Dr Okanlawon called to tell Kogberegbe that the DPO would be out of the picture for a while and that if Kogberegbe should need further assistance, he should not hesitate to call.

True to his words, the DPO’s phone became switched off, a fact that was made known when, a short while later, Mr. Sangosina broke all hell lose when the office informed him that they had higher order to retain Sabo in custody. Mr. Sangosina  tried to contact the DPO who didn’t respond the first two times, after which his phone completely went off.

“You have stepped on the tail of a cobra o!” Sangosina threw at Kogberegbe as he stormed out of the station, pointing a finger in Kogberegbe’s face “I will show you that in this land, you have crossed the wrong line!”

Kogberegbe left instructions that the officers watch closely over Sabo and that when Musa gets brought in, he should be taken care of. He also told them to contact him immediately if anything should come up. As he drove away from the station, he wondered who tipped off Mr. Sangosina so fast about the arrest.

Back in his office, Kogberegbe scanned through Ronke’s bank statement and noticed some huge transaction inflow and straight outflow of same. The inflows were of phony names but the outflows sounded familiar. When crosschecked with his notebook, he realized that some of the outflow went to cult members whose names he had gathered from the interviews he did earlier in the day. Kogberegbe’s theory was that Ronke needed protection from whoever was bugging her. So she turned to the cult guys who demanded money which she couldn’t raise from her parents so she turned to the club. She must have met with some really influential men who either enjoyed her service so much as to pay her such huge sum of perhaps she blackmailed more than one man.

Not long afterwards, Kogberegbe’s phone rang like it had been doing all evening.

“Sir, you wanted to know immediately if there was any development?” The constable who called said.

“Definitely. Go ahead please” Kogberegbe said

“It seems like this man is ready to talk. We realized that food is more of a weak point for him than torture. His boss brought him food but we didn’t allow him to eat it” said the constable.

“Good, I am on my way. Thank you for this information” Kogberegbe said, already half way out of his office. His earlier experience during the day had taught him not to waste valuable time in getting to a suspect.

When Kogberegbe arrived at the station, there was commotion everywhere; on getting inside he realized that CPR was being done on Sabo. The claim was that he suddenly slumped probably from dehydration or lack of food. One look however at Sabo’s visibly green veins and cracked lips, Kogberegbe knew he had been poisoned and  that the poison must have been a very strong one to have acted so fast. Not long afterwards, an ambulance arrived.

“Did you at any time leave this post? Kogberegbe asked

“No sir” They responded

“You said Mr. Sangosina brought food for Sabo?”

“Yes sir, but we decided among ourselves that he shouldn’t be fed. It even angered Mr. Sangosina that we didn’t give him food and he reported us to ASP Abu” They brought out the food to corroborate their story, it seemed intact.

“And you saw Mr. Sangosina leave? Kogberegbe asked, baffled

“I am certain sir, I was at the door all through” One constable said

“And no outsider had contact with the suspect?”

“No sir, it has been a quiet evening at the station, we haven’t had much incidence tonight”

“I see” Kogberegbe muttered “You said he was beginning to talk? What about?” He asked

“He said if he was left to spend the night in jail, he would be killed anyway and that we should please feed him before ‘they’ get to him. He said he would say no more till we give him something to eat”

“They?” Kogberegbe questioned the officer’s statement

“Yes sir, he kept saying ‘they’. That ‘they’ would think he talked and would have him killed in no time”

“Hmmm” Kogberegbe said, looking in the direction of Sabo’s body. The Doctor that was examining him confirmed that he was dead, though Kogberegbe knew right from when he stepped into the station that he was. He also confirmed that the cause of death could be attributed to poisoning but that they would have to run further tests to be able to make a conclusion. Kogberegbe thanked him.

“Do you have a syringe doc?” Kogberegbe asked

“Sure, why” said the Doctor

“Would you mind getting me a blood sample of the corpse?”

“No p” The Doctor said and proceeded to do so. Abu rushed in at that moment, looking bewildered.

“One of the men on duty just called me, I came right back, I haven’t even got home yet”

“He’s dead” Kogberegbe said simply “Poisoned”

“What!” Abu exclaimed “How is that even possible?”

Kogberegbe shrugged “Excuse me please” He said and moved to a quiet corner where he could place a call to Dana.

“Hi Dana”

“Hey you” She responded

“I know I owe you a lot of favours already, but I need to add to it”

“Make my fav bank bigger then. Fire”

“I need you to run a test for me tonight please. I have to have the result like yesterday”

“How soon can you get the sample to me?” Dana asked

“Ten minutes”

“I’ll be here” she said.

“Thanks Dana” Kogberegbe said heartily. There was a mole within their branch of the police force and he had his suspicions about who it might be. He collected Sabo’s blood sample and headed for Dana’s office. Two hours later the result came back as a perfect match with the sample found at the original crime scene. Kogberegbe hurried back to the station as fast as he could, glad that he had previously given the order for all officers to remain on duty till he returned. On getting there, he placed Abu under arrest immediately.

“I bet if I have your blood tested, it would match the sample you swapped with the  original one I gave you of Sabo to test” Kogberegbe accused but Abu just remained defiantly mute “I should have known! I saw that soft look that Sangosina sent you that day at the Okanlawon’s residence. I should have known that you both had history. And this would explain how you got to Kemta’s house so fast today, Sabo must have called you to come clean up his mess; you told him the best way he could frame the murder to look like suicide. I bet you didn’t know Musa would have called me, you didn’t bargain that I would be there when you arrived. And it was you who alerted Sangosina this evening, that’s how he got here so fast. You have been in the loop all along”

“You can’t substantiate any of your claims” Abu sneered with his hands cuffed.

“True. But I could at least charge you for obstruction of justice, it is a criminal offence” Kogberegbe said, showing him Sabo’s blood test “Lock him up please” Kogberegbe ordered a Constable. Arming himself with five police officers, Kogberegbe drove into the heat of the night, headed for Sangosina’s house thinking how naïve he was to have allowed the police search Sabo’s apartment without him being present. Knowing what he now knew about Abu, there was no saying that he didn’t cover up evidence at the scene. He called Dr. Okanlawon’s number.

“Sir, I am en route Mr. Sangosina’s house. In lieu of the fact that the DPO cannot be reached, could you please inform the Commissioner of Police that we plan to make an arrest under suspicion that he was an accomplice to murder. I will need a warrant sir” Kogberegbe said.

“Sangosina ke? Do you know what you are toying with? Are you sure?” Dr. Okanlawon said

“Sir, we found a mole within the police department and I have reasons to believe he reports to Mr. Sangosina. Mr. Sangosina’s guard died in holding this evening sir, and new evidence placed him at the scene of Ronke’s murder. If only for that, we need to bring him in for questioning”

“Wow” Dr. Okanlawon said “I will make the call immediately and the warrant will be sorted out. Please be sure that you know what you are doing, some waters are unsettled enough I won’t want you to cause further ripples”

“Yes sir” Kogberegbe said in perfect understanding, touched a single button on his earpiece that disconnected the call and resumed full concentration on his driving. Mr. Sangosina belonged to an opposition party and though he wasn’t as popularly known as Dr. Okanlawon, he had potentials which was beginning to draw attention to him nationwide. There was absolutely no way Kogberegbe would arrest him without it becoming a public sensation once the news agencies caught wind of it. And Kogberegbe knew the news people would twist and turn the story till it was made to look like a political war…Kogberegbe could find hard evidence against him.

Sangosina’s pedestrian gate was ajar so Kogberegbe and his men made easy entry into the compound, the reason for it being ajar soon obvious as they saw Sangosina loading his Cherokee Jeep with boxes and briefcases. He was obviously hurrying somewhere, somewhere he had no prior plans of going because everything looked haphazard.

“Going somewhere?” Kogberegbe asked in a tone that made Sangosina jump out of his skin; he wasn’t prepared for this visit and he visibly quivered. Kogberegbe was amused considering how confident and scary Mr. Sangosina had previously portrayed himself.

“What are you doing here?” Mr. Sangosina demanded

“You are under arrest for aiding and abetting in the murder of Ronke Okanlawon” Kogberegbe said

“You are insane” Sangosina laughed but when the police officers moved close to cuff him, he became erratic “You can’t arrest me based on presumptions! I have rights!!”

“Yes” Kogberegbe said “You do have the right to remain silent, as anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law”

“You don’t know what you are dealing with!” Mr. Sangosina said angrily.

“I intend to find out” Kogberegbe responded as they led Sangosina to the car like a ram who knew for sure that he was headed for slaughter.

 

COIN…..there are two sides to every story (Episode XII) by @obasatemitope

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Stripper you said?”
Jack frowned “Yeah? Thought you knew; why else would you be asking me?”
“What did you mean when you said ‘freelance’”
“Means you aren’t really bound to the club. You do your thing as and when you want”
“Ok. But I was of the impression that she used to come here with her friends?” Kogberegbe was getting even more confused.
“Perhaps. Like I said, I didn’t know her that well. The job comes with a lot of protection for the girls. It’s a high class thing, and I know it’s one of the ways girls get high level contacts in Lagos. It also pays well, and it’s safe. Just a bit of pole dancing or something, no touching except for special requests and it comes with the girl’s consent. I’m not really sure what goes down in there; we have levels of operation in here and only designated staffs are allowed in the suite. We don’t know much about the girls, and absolutely nothing about the gold and diamond members”
“Those are the ones allowed in the VIP suite?”
“Yea. Silver members have another lounge; and unregistered members like you are not allowed beyond the regular floor”
“I see” Kogberegbe said “Who owns this club”
“Look, I’ve told you more than I should. My shift doesn’t end till another four hours, I just asked someone to cover while I went to the gents. I’ve overstayed as it is”
“Alright. Thanks for your time” Kogberegbe said without a choice because Jack had already turned his back and was on his way in “You have my card, please call if you remember anything else”
“Sure” Jack said and a few steps ahead, Kogberegbe saw him toss his card into an industrial bin.
Sitting in his car, Kogberegbe dialed Fadekemi’s number. She picked on the fourth ring “Yep” she said.
“It’s Kogberegbe”
“Ok”
“First let me apologize for earlier” He said
“It’s cool” She responded briefly.
“Sorry I’m calling this late but I need to ask you further questions…”
“Yea, she said so” She responded incoherently.
“Excuse me?” Kogberegbe said
“He’s here as well”
“Who?”
She gave a short laugh “She should be with you in ten minutes don’t worry”
“Hello” Kogberegbe said, confused. It was as if she was responding to a totally different conversation.
“Alright then, later” she said and went off the line.
Kogberegbe stared at the phone, wondering what madness just happened. Now he’s been able to confirm for sure that there was someone in Ronke’s clique that at least Fadekemi is scared of; and now he suspects that that person might be Fadekemi’s boyfriend. The only explanation was that he was beside her when Kogberegbe called, and must not even get a whiff that she’s been speaking with a detective. Now, Kogberegbe wondered if he shouldn’t really be taking a deeper look in the school or even among the clique. And he also wondered if Fadekemi wasn’t deliberately sent to him to throw off the trail, what if she’s been lying to him all day?
Kogberegbe put his earpiece in place, phone in the holster, turned to his favorite radio station and drove out into one of the well lit roads in Lagos state. The state was always busy, no matter what time of the day and this made it beautiful in an eerie way. Despite the daily huddles faced such as heavy traffic and poor electricity supply, Kogberegbe loved Nigeria, but particularly Lagos state and he couldn’t blame the people that daily fluxed into the state. The expensive lifestyle that also came with staying in Lag suited him just fine; he made enough to cover up for such expenses. As he drove, he noticed one of the billboards erected by the Ministry of Environment “Keeping Lasgidi clean…Eko o ni baje o”. Lagos was getting popularized as Lasgidi, and the numerous names never ceased to amuse him; some others would call it Eko state, combining English and Yoruba to qualify the state. But whichever way it is called, there was this solidarity slogan about not allowing Lagos to get spoilt, literally, and that seemed to build a kind of belonging in the people, making them feel like something bound them all together as they answer “o baje ti” in response always to the slogan of “Eko o ni baje”. Kogberegbe smiled, thinking he certainly belonged here. A few minutes later, his phone started ringing. He just glanced down briefly to ascertain the caller before refocusing on the road. As much as he liked Lagos state, he knew he had to be careful at all times and as such, he knew that one of the most stupid things he could attempt to do at that time of the day was to park to pick the call. And it was for this reason that he put on his earpiece before leaving the clubhouse, for it was also dangerous to drive and use the mobile phone.
“Fadekemi” He said into the earpiece in acknowledgement.
“Hi detective. First of all about earlier, it’s not cool. Second, sorry for the incoherent responses I gave, I couldn’t speak where I was and you ensured you called long enough that I couldn’t continue to ignore”
“I apologize. I am constrained by time, that’s why I have to get to issues as soon as I can. You held back some information about Ronke, I wonder why?”
“Excuse me?” She said. Kogberegbe could sense the anger creeping back into her voice.
“About what she…or perhaps you all do at the club”
“I’m afraid I don’t get your drift”
“Do you work at the club for instance?”
“I’m beginning to feel sorry that I came to you detective. How dare you insult us so? Of all places to work, would it be at a club house?”
Now, Kogberegbe was all the more confused, because it sounded like Fadekemi was telling the truth. “I’m very sorry Fadekemi, but trust me I’ve not had any intention of insulting you, not before and not now. All I ask is for you to help me make sense of a few confusing things.”
“I hear you”
“That club is pretty expensive, and it requires referrals. How did you guys join the club?”
“First of all, there is no such thing as ‘expensive’ for some of us. And for your information, Ronke single-handedly organized the whole thing. She did it as a surprise on Dapo’s birthday, and we’ve been frequenting the place ever since. We like it there, it’s not as low class as most other clubs you see around, if you know what I mean”
“Yea, sure.”
“Well then I gotta go now” she said hurriedly. Kogberegbe heard footsteps in the background and Fadekemi’s “Yea, it’s mom” before she went off the line.

After much deliberation, Kogberegbe decided to call Dr. Okanlawon despite the time insensitivity.
“It’s late, detective” Dr. Okanlawon said gruffly
“Apologies sir” Kogberegbe said.
“Uhn-uhn?” Dr. Okanlawon asked impatiently
“I was wondering if I could go through Ronke’s school effects. That’s if she left anything behind in school and if you’ve collected them sir?”
“No, we’ve not got round to doing that. We’ve not even formally informed the school authorities yet. I can’t say for certain that she left anything in school, but I believe she has a regular room and some of her friends are always there so there is a possibility. If you need access, I could place a call tomorrow and probably arrange someone to box and take them to the house, if that’s fine.”
“That would be perfect sir” Kogberegbe said.
“Please remind me in the morning”
“Definitely sir”
“Is that all, detective?”
“Eeer, I’d also need to know what allowance you gave Ronke?”
“Is that important to the case?”
“It probably is sir”
“Well, it varies…varied” Dr. Okanlawon corrected himself, then took a pause before going further “But we tried to keep it modest so that she wouldn’t get carried away with frivolous activities”
“Could you please be specific sir?”
“It should be in the region of #30,000. Between #30,000 and #50,000, but definitely not more than that. It was just for upkeep, we supplied everything else she needed”
“Thank you sir”
“At some point, her mother said she requested for more. But we expressly declined, so I’m sure that isn’t an issue in your case”
“It shouldn’t be sir” Kogberegbe lied “But can you remember when this was sir?”
“Not really detective, but it hasn’t been more than a few months”
“Thank you sir” Kogberegbe said.
“Are you going to tell me what this is about?” The venom was slowly entering Dr. Okanlawon’s voice but Kogberegbe wasn’t intimidated. If anything, he had learnt that in his line of work, one had to be hardened and prepared to meet with all sorts- intimidations, lies, rudeness and annoyance alike.
“Not right now sir, I haven’t yet figured out the relevance of these information; I just know for certain that they will be useful whether in affirming suspicions or discarding them” Kogberegbe answered.
“You’re hiding something from me detective; I am not stupid, you know.”
“Your daughter was a clubber Doctor”
“You insinuated as much the very first day you visited the scene”
“She was a heavy clubber sir. And there’s an indication that she frequented an expensive club” Kogberegbe said, certain that he had to give Doctor some information, howbeit little, if he wanted to get him off his back.
Dr. Okanlawon sighed “Well, she made a choice of where to spend her money then.” He said sadly, then after a long pause said “There’s more to this isn’t there?”
“It is a very expensive club sir, I have been there myself”
“And I suppose the charges don’t fall within the range of the allowance I mentioned?”
“Even if she went five times a month, and alone, I’m afraid not sir” He didn’t bother to emphasize that she financed her friends to the club.
“Then Dapo must have picked the bills. His parents are quite wealthy too, and you know boys have a way of getting more cash”
“Absolutely sir; I will question him about this tomorrow sir” Kogberegbe said.
“I heard he was picked up?”
“Yes sir”
“Have you talked to him?”
“Yes sir”
“Does he strike you as someone capable of this crime?”
“No sir. But I’m sure the Police are doing their job sir” Kogberegbe said.
“The boy’s a good lad detective; we attended the same Church when we lived in their estate. I would say I know him quite well, but I obviously didn’t even know my own daughter.” He paused; Kogberegbe refused to comment, so Dr Okanlawon went on “I don’t want to make the mistake of requesting his release if he’s involved in this, do you understand?”
“I understand sir” Kogberegbe responded.
“Do you have an idea when he can be bailed?”
“I’m not sure sir. But I was told his parents were there this morning, they should work things out soon.”
“Keep me informed detective”
“Yes sir”
“During the day detective”
“Yes sir. Sorry for the disturbance sir.” Kogberegbe said.
“Bye then” Dr. Okanlawon said, immediately followed by a click that indicated he had cut the line.
Kogberegbe found it difficult to sleep, another experience that felt alien to him; the hollow feeling persisted. He sighed in resignation when he heard a click which made him realize he’d unconsciously dialed Lucy’s number.
“Hello” She said, her voice sounding so sweet, like he was hearing it for the first time. “Hello?” She repeated in a sleepy voice.
“Did I wake you up? Kogberegbe asked.
“Not really, what’s up?”
“What? Oh, nothing really. I was trying to call someone else and…” Kogberegbe tried hopelessly to explain the mistake off.
“So it was a mistake then”
“Yea…erm…” He stuttered.
“It’s cool. You take care then”
“Lucy?” Kogberegbe called
“Yes?”
“Nice hearing your voice.”
She gave a small laugh “Thanks. I know you’re dying to discuss your case”
Kogberegbe laughed back. He really did miss sharing with her; whether directly or indirectly, she used to help him through his cases. “Probably” He said out loud.
“Maybe we should do lunch tomorrow then? I’m really knackered tonight and I’ve got an early shift tomorrow” Lucy answered.
“Ok, that sounds great”
“And Steve…?”
“Yes?”
“You should get some sleep yourself” she advised.
“Thanks. I’ll do just that. I’m sorry I forgot your birthday”
“It’s alright, it’s a weakness with most men anyways” Lucy said and Kogberegbe scoffed. He didn’t like the sound of being categorized with ‘other men’ but he knew he deserved that. Lucy ignored the scoff and said “Don’t forget to call the person you originally intended to”
Kogberegbe laughed “Goodnight Lucy”
“Goodnight” she said.

 

COIN …there are two sides to every story by Temitope Obasa (Episode 1)

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Happy Owanbe Saturday to everyone. This series was written by TEMITOPE OBASA and would be published every Saturday. Enjoy!

Prologue

 

 

For weeks, the stranger planned the greatest task, so far, of his life.

His master, whom he loved to think of as Chief, had carefully set everything in motion and there was to be no mistake, as Chief kept hammering in his ear.

A stupid girl, Ronke, had chosen to be Chief’s enemy and his enemies deserved to die. The stranger didn’t know the atrocity Ronke committed but he didn’t have to. For the Chief to be upset, Ronke deserved whatever she got.

So far, things worked out. He checked his wristwatch which glowed in the darkness, it was just 1:30 am and he was well positioned – inside Ronke’s room. She had a knack for sneaking out after her parents went to bed and that gave him an idea for easy access; he climbed up the way she normally did. The stranger knew Ronke’s routine by heart now because he had carefully watched and studied her over three weeks.

He waited patiently in the dark room, musing about the brilliance of Chief’s plan. During his watch, the stranger had carefully shattered the security shards of glass over the fence. If one didn’t look well, it was hard to notice because it was just wide enough to allow him passage. He wanted to wear soft sole sneakers so as to make his fall from the fence noiseless but Chief pointed out that he would be in danger of getting pierced by the glass remnants.

Together, they concluded he was better off with a hard sole and the question of noise solved by using a rope which he tied to a tire rim, to hold his weight. The rim was carefully hid in a thick bush that separated Ronke’s house from the next building.

He’d simply flung the rope into Ronke’s compound; having watched her sneak out an hour after the light in her parents’ room went out.

The stranger listened for sound; there was none, so he made his climb. He understood that once inside the compound, things became risky but he didn’t mind; he would do anything, even risk his life for the Chief. For one, he had to leave the rope hanging from the wall till he finished his assignment so he could make his escape with it; the problem however was it could be spotted if a vigilant person passed it. For another, he simply used the fact that Ronke’s parents’ room was dark and that the light went off at about the same time every night, to assume they were asleep. And then, there was Musa, the security guard. If he as much as caught glimpse of him, everything would go wrong because the stranger didn’t have instruction to kill more than one person and even if he decided to kill Musa, the stranger hadn’t come with any weapon.

The stranger would never betray Chief even if he was caught, that was the agreement they had.

Luckily, Musa didn’t come towards the direction; the house was as silent as a graveyard. The stranger entered Ronke’s room with ease, using a huge agunmaniye tree that grew beside the room. Ronke would be home anytime soon. He was excited, standing behind the curtain of the window that overlooked the front of the house. He spotted a car headlamp and smiled, it could only be one person at this time and in this area. The car stopped a building away and the slut, in whose room he was, leaned over to kiss her boyfriend, who drove the car.

The stranger felt disgusted, the world wasn’t as it used to be; where were the days when women remained chaste till they found a man that would take their hand in marriage? He felt a surge of anger as he watched the young girl wave happily to her boyfriend before turning to bounce towards the gate house. She tapped the gateman’s window gently and after some minutes, appeared through his door. She dared not use the gate for fear of waking her parents; she would rather climb in through the gatehouse window. He knew because he had watched her do it severally over the weeks. The stranger checked the time again; it was 2: 45am- the usual time she returned home. He knew she would use the side window so he kept himself well hidden behind the thick curtains where he stood but away from the window for fear of being seen from outside in case Ronke decided to put the lights on before he attacked.

Sure enough, Ronke climbed noiselessly into her room and from the moon that illuminated her face, he saw her contented smile. She flung her handbag and high heeled shoes she came in holding, on the floor with her back turned to him.

The stranger came out carefully from behind the curtain. Her hands were around her neck, trying to free it of the heavy beaded necklace that hung around it, when she felt more than hear him. Her hands paused and her head turned slowly. Her eyes only had time to register shock when he clapped his right hand on her mouth while the left held her struggling arms. She was tall but slim, which made her an easy prey for him. Rather more forcefully than he intended, he snapped her neck and felt the struggle die within her as the body went limp. He lifted her effortlessly and dumped her on the bed, still clothed in her skimpy wears. He was happy for the good deed he just did – assisting in ending the girl’s miserable life; certain she would have a better chance at finding peace in the next life than the one he just ended.

He made for the window quickly. He knew he should climb and escape but temptation kept him rooted.

Temitope Obasa is a young nigerian author. Although she studied science at graduate level, she discovered early her talent in writing and has since developed a vision around that. She has written a lot of scripts for stage and televison. Her first novel STROKES OF LIFE was published in 2009.

photo credit: google images

Boarding Tales ~ Episode XII (Yewande’s Story)

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Please find all previous episodes here

“What’s he doing here?” I murmured thoughts of rape going through my head.

Yewande, egbe ni e o? Why are you screaming just because you saw a young boy like you?

“I didn’t expect that anyone else will be in and then he was hiding behind you and watching me so I got scared.”

“There is no need to get scared.” He said laughing

“Kole kilose e now?”

“Why are you acting like a small boy? I thought I trained you better.”

“I’m not a small boy uncle.” Kole replied pulling out his shirts from his shorts as if it that would prove he really wasn’t a small boy.

“Yewande relax, I’m leaving you with Kole. You people should talk and get to know yourselves. I won’t be back for the next three hours so feel free eh”. He added winking at us.

We would have such meetings every week in Mr Adisa’s room. We talked and did more than talking. We had enough time and we spent some of it exploring each other’s bodies.

After two months, Mr Adisa called us both for what he called a very important discussion.

******

“Kole Omokomo.” he hailed as soon as we all entered his room.

Kole smiled and took the hand Mr Adisa had raised to him in salute.

“So how far are you a man yet or are you still a boy?”

“Ah, uncle I can’t answer that question oo, I’m ashamed”

“Ode leleyi ooo”, he said slappin Kole on the back.

“Oya answer joor”

“Uncle I have always been a man o.”

“You know what I’m talking about or do you want me to ask her.” He said turning towards me.

My head was bowed in shame, I knew whatever he was talking about must have to do with what Kole and I did every Saturday afternoon.

“Ahhh, uncle don’t ask her ooo”

“Okay, oya answer.”

“We’ve not done it”

“Yeh, see this boy. O fe jo mi oooo.” He exclaimed putting his hands on his head.

“I have been training you but you have refused to learn. Ema wo bobo yi sha.”

“Uncle it’s not like that ooo. She is not ready; we want to wait till we are in S.S.1 or S.S.2”

By that time my head was already in my lap. I was too ashamed to even raise my head up so they went on talking about me like I wasn’t there.

Slacker niwo yi ooo. All your friends are men. Toluse, Kitan, Bafunto. All of them and see the kind of girl I even gave you.”

Eran agba lomo yi now, I just want to be nice that’s why I arranged her for you.”

“I know what to do sha, I will just give her to Toluse”

“Uncle please don’t do that oo, I will find a way around it. I promise.”

“Okay, I’m leaving now so you guys should take care of yourselves.”

Oya baby come and hug me.” he said pulling me by the hand.

I rose up reluctantly and hugged him. He planted a kiss firmly on my lips and left.

I rubbed my lips with my palm like I usually do every time he did it.

Kole and I didn’t talk to each other for over fifteen minutes after uncle Adisa left. When we started talking Kole told me that we had to do it or he would have to break up with me. I told him to give me time to think about it and that I would get back to him before the next weekend.

****

I stood in front of the boy’s hostel waiting. I had sent someone to call Kole out. He came out frowning, acting as if he was annoyed. I had thought about nothing else since we parted at Mr Adisa’s house the previous day.

I was curious about how doing it will feel. I also didn’t want Kole to break up with me. I had thought of how Aunty Shadia and the others used to cry out in pleasure. I reasoned that if doing it with a woman could bring that much pleasure, doing it with a man should even bring more pleasure.

Kole smiled immediately he read the note that I handed him. He hugged me saying ‘‘see you tonight, I will talk to Mr Adisa’’ and ran back to the hostel.

Few minutes after I got to the hostel, someone brought a package for me and said it was from Kole. I opened it and saw six pieces of Indomie and two shortbread biscuits. He had also added a note on which “Thank you my love” was boldly written. I sniffed the note and smiled as I perceived the scent of his body spray. ‘‘Enchanteur’’ I murmured.

*****

I was scared and my heart beat was faster than usual. It was time, a part of me wanted to change my mind but I was afraid of how Kole would feel. Mr Adisa was out of the school and had given Kole the keys to his room.

I wanted us to sleep and do it later during the night but Kole couldn’t sleep. He wanted us to do it and get over with it and so we did it with my hostel wear still on and the lights off. I didn’t want him to see me naked. It was nothing like I expected, I cried myself to sleep afterwards, I felt dirty and soiled but held on to the hope that it would get better with time and it did.

*****

I soon discovered that it could be pleasurable and couldn’t have enough. The day I did it with Mr Adisa was the day I realised that Kole was a small boy and I started treating him as such. It didn’t seem to bother him when it became a gist in the whole school that Mr Adisa was sleeping with me. I later understood why that was so. I discovered later that the boys did the tiresome job of deflowering small girls for Mr Adisa and then he takes over from where they stopped.

My relationship with uncle got so serious that I started believing that perhaps we could have more. I reasoned that since he wasn’t married we might even have a future and he might love me enough to wait for me.

I stopped dreaming in second term J.S.S2 when I realised I had too much competition to stand a chance. I liked him so much that just being one of many wasn’t enough for me. I decided it was best to break up with him and date guys closer to my age. He had warned me earlier that no one breaks up with him but I still went ahead. I wrote him a letter where I poured my heart out to him. I told him how I really wished we could have a future but that I had realised that I was just a girl that he sleeps with.

I told him that we never discuss or talk about meaningful things and that all we did was banging, banging and more banging. I felt like he would smile when he saw the word “banging”. It was a word that he had used severally when talking to me. It always made me think of a door that someone keeps hitting with a pebble.

I made up my mind that day that I wasn’t ever going to date any student. I had seen students sleeping with themselves at night after prep classes. There had been days when coming back from Mr Adisa’s quarters I would hear noises coming out of classrooms that should have been unoccupied at that time of the day. I would stand beside the window of the class, peer into the darkness. I wouldn’t see anyone but the creaking benches and the moans told the story of what was happening. I couldn’t imagine laying my back on a hard bench for anyone after I had been doing it on a soft bed. It only makes sense that I take it out of the school I decided.

Mr Adisa’s revenge came a week after I broke up with him. I had been unfortunate enough to be on the list of noise makers sent to his office. Every other person was told to cut grasses on the school field but I was the one who got twenty four lashes of the cane and still went on to cut grass. I took it stoically and laughed when my school mother advised me to report to my parents. What parents I thought? The mother that was probably in the Netherlands or God knows where else or would I report to the father that was dead or simply never existed?

****

After the beating, he let me be and made sure there was practically no communication between us. Word went round the school and I discovered I needn’t have worried about dating anyone in the school. No boy came near me; no one wanted to fall into Mr Adisa’s bad books.

I became the girl that sneaks out of the school every weekend, the one they had to suspend every now and then.

I’m glad it is all over now I thought listening to the deep breathing of the occupants of the dormitory. They had all gone to sleep, the howling Dog/Hyena or Wolf forgotten until the next time it pays its visit. I looked at Bosola as she slept on her bed. I grinned wondering how she would feel when she finally learns of her assignment, when she gets confronted with the mandate she had been given.

It was an assignment that had been given to me by the woman of the stream; Iya Stream as the students call her. A woman all the students talked about but that few people had ever seen. I had met her early one morning while I walked back to the school through the usual foot path. It was a meeting I would never forget.

Here is how it happened……

To be continued

photo credit: google images

Boarding Tales ~Episode XI (Yewande’s Story)

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For previous episodes please click here

 

Yewande’s Story

I knew when the dog started howling. I also knew they would all wake and start their usual chants of “blood of Jesus’’. I wonder what makes them think that Jesus would listen to them. Sometimes I would also wonder why whatever it was that made the noise couldn’t barge into one of the dormitories and take one or two people. This was sin high school; the great citadel of sex, play and books all in that order, why would Jesus want to listen to anyone here I thought as I wrapped my snow white blanket tighter around me.

I hated the school and was somehow glad I was finally going to be expelled. I had told mum from the start that I didn’t want to attend a boarding school but she had insisted. I know it might be because of the day she caught me with the house maids but most times I prefer to think she just wanted to be rid of me.

It wasn’t like I had been doing anything that day, all I did was watch. I still can’t understand how that can be a crime.

Mom had travelled on one of her business trips, I think Dubai or Spain. Whenever she was not around the house became Aunt Shadia’s. We had four housemaids and Aunt Shadia was the head. That was another thing about Mom that I never understood, I didn’t understand why we needed four people to take care of just two of us. It was convenient for me to be honest, I never had to bother about washing plates, clothes, sweeping or any of those other arduous house chores.

So that day Aunt Shadia had gathered the other house helps into Mom’s room as was their practice whenever she was not around.  They had locked the door from the inside and warned me sternly to stay put in my room and watch MTV like I usually do.

I innocently nodded my head. I was Eleven yearsold but I wasn’t blind, neither was I stupid. I had been curious about what it was that they did in the room for hours and had satisfied my curiosity on one occasion. I had been alarmed and intrigued at the same time by what I saw.

I had peeped through the key hole that day and saw all four of them stark naked. Two of them had been spread-eagled on mum’s double bed another two were kneeling between the legs of the girls on the bed. I had been shocked, I didn’t fully understand what it was they were doing but knew even then that whatever it was, it was something mummy must not know about.

On the day we all got caught, they had gone inside the room as usual and I had also gone to watch. I was probably too engrossed in what I was watching to hear Mom walk towards me. It wasn’t until I was shoved aside that I realised she was beside me. I placed a palm on my mouth and moved backwards. What’s she doing here, I gasped. Aunty Shadia is dead I thought as I watched her place an eye over the key hole.

After what seemed like an eternity, she banged furiously over the door.

‘‘Shadia, Titi, Mojoyin, Shade e ko ara yin bo sita’’

I rested my back against the wall and watched as Mom paced the corridor. I glanced at the door of the room wishing they would be lucky enough to have disappearing powers and not have to face her.

They walked out in a single file and stood by the wall head bowed. I was scared wondering if mum was going to punish me along with them.

‘‘Shadia,Titi,Mojoyin, Shade go inside and pack your stuffs. You are leaving my house today.” she said already dialling a number.

They all fell on their knees and started pleading. ‘‘Sorry ma, it was the devil, we didn’t know what came over us.’’ They went on and on begging her in the name of all the deities on earth. Mom was unyielding, she placed a call to their agent and told them the helps he got her have done an act she cannot forgive and so she wanted them out. He told the man they will be outside the gate.

‘‘What are you people still waiting for?’’ she bellowed. ‘‘Oh you want me to call the security man to throw you out ehn?’’  ‘‘Eyin omo irankiran, so you people want to influence my daughter abi? I won’t allow that, anyway I’m going to the kitchen to get a drink; I must not meet you here when I get back.’’

****

By evening all the helps had gone and that was when Mom called me into the living room for a talk. She said she has decided I should go to a boarding school, she added that she had information about a good one and that it would be convenient for both of us.

‘‘I don’t want to leave you with house helps again and you know my business requires that I travel frequently. I promise I would check you from time to time.’’

‘‘Mummy, I don’t want to go to boarding school.’’

‘‘Of course you don’t want to, you would prefer watching err err stuffs like the one you were watching this afternoon and before I know it you would join them. There is no discussion about this, you are going to boarding school and that’s final.’’

I had watched as she stood up and left for her room wondering for perhaps the hundredth time what it would have been like to have a father. That was another topic mum would always bully me on. My father was dead and I had to accept it like that. There was no need to see his pictures or any of his relatives, he was simply dead.

 Like everything else that concerned me I had to do Mom’s wish and that was how I got to boarding school. I wasn’t surprised to realise mum didn’t mean it when she said she would visit regularly, neither was I too surprised when she suggested I spend my holidays in school as she was out of town. By the time I was in J.S.S2 she decided I was old enough to stay on my own if she wasn’t around. I never missed her much anyway; we just didn’t have the mother-daughter relationship.

To my many suspensions, she would place a call to the principal and apologise for whatever I had done, she would make promises on my behalf that I would be a better person by the time I come back. I would get home and if she was around, we would never get around to talking about my crime. She just didn’t want to know the details so long as I promise to change my ways. Perhaps Mom did not want to be a hypocrite. You don’t condemn a child for doing something she knows you also do. That was my belief although I wouldn’t have dared to say such to her.

****

I didn’t start out as wayward girl in boarding school. I had gotten to the school with the thoughts of attending classes, reading and making friends. Mr Adisa changed that vision for me. I met him the first day I resumed. He was the one that received us; he assured my mum they were going to take very good care of me. Mum was impressed and even showed it by handing some naira notes to Mr Adisa.

In the days that followed, he would call me his baby, his pet. He would tell the seniors to treat me well that I am his dark and lovely.

The day I would move from pet to lover, he had come to the hostel very early on a Saturday morning and asked that I and another senior follow him to the assembly hall.

We got there and he said we should sit beside him, one on his left, and the other on his right.

He then brought out a bottle of Calypso and Fanta from the small bag he had been carrying and asked that we drink.

‘‘There is no cup sir’’, I had said and he laughed saying ‘‘can’t you kiss me?’’

‘‘I want both of you to kiss me o so we will all drink from this bottle.’’

He poured some Fanta into the half empty bottle of Calypso, shook the mixture and drank some. When he was through he handed the bottle to Chiamaka the other girl.

‘‘Uncle, you have started o, I have told you I don’t like alcohol.”

‘‘Iwo wo, Orobo, Orobo mi o’’, he exclaimed poking the girl in the ribs, I watched in astonishment as she giggled softly slapping Mr Adisa on the wrists.

I watched on as she drank from the bottle and passed it to me.

‘‘I’m not drinking sir’’, I said my voice shaking.

‘‘Okay no problems if you don’t want to drink.’’

‘‘I want you both to escort me to the admin block over there. I’m going back to the staff quarters but you guys will escort me to the admin block and turn back.’’

We both stood up and followed him, some few yards to the admin block, he stopped and turning to Chiamaka he told her to call the hostel prefect girl for him.

‘‘Okay sir’’, she had said turning back immediately.

‘‘Let’s go Yewande’’ he said putting my palm in his.

I walked on with him, I wanted to say something after we passed the admin block and turned to the bush path that led to the staff quarters but for some reason the words came out silent. I saw the staff quarters ahead but we kept going and still I kept quiet, not a word even when we entered Mr Adisa’s sitting room and he told me to sit on a chair. He entered the room and came out after about ten minutes. It was when he came out that I found my voice and started screaming alarmed at what I saw.

to be continued

photo credit: google images

The Day the Sky went Dark in Mid Morning….

sky dark

It is a situation of the weevil and the beans.  I know that now. If you can’t get the weevils out you destroy the beans…

 

We are the beans my father, mother, my sisters, all of us the villagers- the ones who work hard tilling the land and fishing to earn our living. Those people- the bombers are the weevil amongst us, the people with long flowing robes which appear wider than anyone else’s perhaps to conceal all sorts of weapons. They are the weevils that live among us. The ones who have bore holes into us and shield themselves with us.

 

The other people; the ones the government gave authority to get rid of the weevils. They believe the Beans and the weevil have been so mixed that it is better for them to destroy the beans so that the weevils get destroyed with it.

After what happened the other day I would say they have succeeded only they failed in their success. They destroyed the beans but the weevils managed to wriggle out.

 

——

Things weren’t always like this. There was a time we had peace, when all we did was pray, eat, sleep and procreate. We would all gather in the evenings, the women on mats spread in the compound. The men under the large tree which almost every compound had, some smoking Rothmans, others chewing Kola nuts. Everything started changing or at least I started noticing the change the day Uncle came for a three day visit. 

 

Uncle was my father’s brother, he lived in Abuja; the place where Mama said they had houses that were as tall as mountains and lights with all the colours of a rainbow. She said it was a beautiful place that also had an ugly part. She told me uncle lived in the ugly part. I had asked why and she had said uncle was poor that the government didn’t pay him well enough so he had to live in the filthy part of Abuja. I had asked Mama why Uncle didn’t move to the village instead of living in a filthy place and she had told me to ask uncle myself when I see him.

 

 

—–

The day uncle came, it was in the morning. He brought a newspaper like he usually did and after he had greeted every one in the house. I went to meet him in Father’s sitting room. It was a ritual; anytime uncle came around he would bring a newspaper with him. I would sit and watch as he read waiting for him to say something about what he was reading. He would watch me come in but he won’t say a word until he was through with the paper.

 

“That’s a country” Uncle suddenly exclaimed in English.

That was something I admired about uncle that he could speak English fluently. He went to school; father said that is the problem. But I don’t think it’s a problem, I want to go to school too, I want to be like Ruqqayatu and be a minister of education. When I get there I will make sure every parent sends their children to school. Corper Kalu the village teacher said I was the most brilliant and that my future is bright. I believe him and I want to realize my dreams. Mama believes that too but papa thinks I should just marry Maliq and settle down to be a good wife.

 

“That’s a country” Uncle exclaimed again.

I wondered what it was that was so exciting in the paper but I couldn’t talk yet not until he put down the paper.

“Shettima, I know you are a bright girl, listen to what I read here.” He said removing his huge glasses and placing it on his laps.

“See America is a great country, you can hate them but they are still great.”

“They caught those bombers, Allah be praised.” He added raising both palms to the ceiling.

“Which bombers uncle? Did they bomb America?” I asked surprised

“Yes, Shettima.”

“Two boys bombed America but they caught them.”  “They have them.” he added his eyes twinkling in excitement.

“You know Shettima, these things happen here everyday but no one catches them.”

“We know these people but we can’t even report them. If we report them they kill us.”

“True, Uncle. We have them in the village. They wear wide flowing gowns, their eyes……

“America is great, Shettima. I want to live there someday.” he said his eyes taking on a dreamy look.

 

 

—–

Later that evening I told Maliq about what Uncle read in the paper and his comments on it but he said I should him pay no heed that America is the great Satan.

“Where did you hear that?” I asked suddenly suspicious.

“That’s what Akeem said.”

“Maliq, I thought you promised you will no longer listen to Akeem or even talk to him?”

“I don’t.” He replied fidgeting.

“Maliq don’t lie, you must have to have heard that.”

“I overheard it, Shettima. Let it go. You are a woman, you shouldn’t be questioning me”

“Maliq” I exclaimed lifting up the edge of my veil to wipe my face in case I wasn’t seeing well.

“That’s not something you would say normally. Without doubt you have been spending a lot of time with Akeem.”

“Shettima, I would leave if you won’t give me peace”, he said standing up from the bench.

“Maliq you may leave if that’s how you would talk to me.”

“I thought we agreed that we would not act like villagers, that you would respect me. We agreed that I will be your only wife, we would never fight, you would be a senator, and I would be a minister. But you are changing now Maliq. It’s just one week that we didn’t see each other and you have changed this much.” I added giving him a disbelieving look.

 

“I know we said all that, I still want to be a senator but certain things have to change first in this country. Allah must reign supreme.”

“Maliq, when did you start talking like this? Akeem wears a big flowing gown. Have you joined those people and what’s that you have been hiding behind your back?”

 

“Nothing” he said still standing. “It’s just a letter Akeem asked me to write.”

I looked around to see if anyone was paying us attention. It was in the evening, a time when the women will bring out mats and sit while the men gathered under the tree in the compound.

Maliq and I are not allowed to touch but I needed to grab the paper in his hands. Checking carefully to make sure no one was watching us, I made to grab the letter in his hands but he walked away before I could.

I watched him leave wondering if the next time I see him he would be wearing a wide flowing robe too.

 

——

The government people came two days later, it was the morning Uncle was supposed to leave. Mama and I had woken up early to smoke the fish we would take to the market in the afternoon. She had just told me she was with child and I had jumped up in excitement.

“Mama this baby will be my child.”

“How, Shetti?” She asked smiling

“Mama, I’m fourteen now, I am old enough to be his mother.”

“That’s true Shetti but you would be busy with school, uncle wants to help you get into a secondary school in the state capital.”

That’s good news Mama. I replied referring to the baby she was carrying.

 

I looked at her dark face and wondered how excited she must be. She had been unable to conceive after she had me so I knew this must be great for her. Father’s other wives had numerous children; Mama was the only one with one child.

 

“Sit down Mama; let me turn the fish, from now on I won’t allow you to do any work.”

“No Shetti, I have to work to stay strong. You know……..”

Her last words were drowned by the sounds of sudden gun shots. We were used to hearing gun shots but there was something about this that was different.

I looked at Mama and drew her arm immediately.

“Mama let’s run for the house now” I screamed as the gun shots became louder

We ran towards the house, suddenly there were people everywhere all running in different directions, screaming on top of their voices. The gun shots kept sounding louder and louder. We ran inside Mama’s room and I lay down on the floor telling Mama to do the same. Corper Kalu had told us that lying flat on the floor was the right thing to do when there is a shooting going on. I didn’t want Mama to lie on her stomach because of the baby so I told her to lie on her back.

 

The sounds of the gun shots were so loud that we had to shout to hear each other.

“Allah protect us” Mama chanted non stop

I kept saying Amen even as a thought came to my mind that perhaps Nigeria wanted to be great like America and catch the bombers amongst us. Another thought followed it immediately telling me that that couldn’t be it.

 

We continued to hear wails, gun shots and cries outside. There were sounds of running feet and I could also hear the sound of people falling to the ground. I wished I could go to the window and see what was happening but I was too afraid to stand up.

“Allah, protect Shetti, protect me.” Mama was screaming now.

“Mama, there will be no problem. I’m sure they came for the men in wide robes. They won’t touch us Mama. We are innocent.”

“Are you sure Shetti?” she asked drawing me into her arms.

“Mama I’m sure.” I struggled to say.

 

___

Mama smelled it first.

“Shetti can you smell smoke. Houses are being burnt” she exclaimed. “We need to get out Shettima” she shouted above the thundering sounds of the guns. She tried standing up but I held her firmly.

“Mama if we go out, they will shoot us.”

“They will?” She asked, tears streaming down her face.

“Yes Mama, I think they will.”

“But who is burning our houses”? “Can it be the government people?”

“No Mama, they won’t do that to us. We are innocent citizens. They are here to protect us.”

“So do you think it’s the bombers?” “Do you think they will burn their own houses, their father’s compounds knowing their people are here?”

“No Mama, I don’t think they would do that.”

“So who is burning houses Shettima?” “It’s certainly not we the terrified villagers.”

“Mama I’m confused too” I said wrapping my arms tighter around her.

“Let’s just say AYATUL KURSI a prayer of protection.” I said clutching her palms in mine.

The sound was like nothing I had heard before. I had been in the state capital once during a fight between the government people and the wide robed people and the guns hadn’t been this loud. I suddenly wished it was all a dream and hoped someone would wake me up.

We started to say the prayers clenching each other’s hands.

We were still praying when we heard shouts in the third room to ours; the one where father’s second wife lived. We heard screams and gunshots and I felt a wetness run between my legs. I opened my mouth to continue praying but I couldn’t. I was shivering all over from fear, my throat was dry and no word could come out.      It dawned on me, we were going to die. Everyone in my father’s household.

Mama stopped praying and wiping her eyes, she said “Shetti stand up, we are leaving. I would rather die trying to escape than wait to be burnt inside the house. The whole village is on fire, it would soon get to us. That was Bisiriyu’s voice I heard just now, I fear she is no more.”

I had no wish to argue with her any longer. It seemed certain that we will die and it might be good to die trying to escape. We both stood up, walked quietly to the back door that led to the bush behind the house and started running towards the bush. I couldn’t look around as we ran but I could see smoke and bodies everywhere. The village is gone I thought. Mama and I ran blindly without a care in the world, our goal was the bush, safety.

I didn’t hear Mama scream, it was the sound of her fall that I heard; I made the scream that was supposed to come from her throat turning around to see her unmoving body.

“Oh no,” I screamed kneeling down beside her.

I didn’t see the gun man or the raised gun before I fell and the world went black.

 

——

Some people came yesterday to help us. They brought drugs but they didn’t bring food. We have drugs but we are hungry. The drugs can only help a few as most of us need more than drugs. They said the government will bring help for us soon. I don’t believe that, I have no faith in them. Was it not the government that brought us into this situation I asked Hajia Turai who lay beside me. She didn’t reply me, she merely nodded.

 

The people who came had turned the village school into a clinic and had brought flat beds which the wounded were placed on. There is no one I know here, Mama is gone; I haven’t seen Maliq, my father, uncle or any of my father’s wives or children. They are probably dead or even somewhere around but I can’t walk around to find them.

 

The people say they have no relationship with the government, that they are just a society who likes to help. We are grateful.

The doctor came to the bed where Hajia Turai and I lay and looked at my bad leg. I asked her if they will cut it, she says I should not think about that yet. But I am thinking about everything, how just yesterday I had a mother and an unborn sister or brother. I’m still crying.

“Will I still be a minister?” I asked Hajia Turai after the doctor left

“You can still be Shettima.”

“Not with one leg Hajia, not with one leg. I replied sobbing.”

“Shettima, please don’t cry, you will just probably have to use a wheel chair because of that shattered leg.”

“Hajia, if I was in America and they cut my leg, will I have to be a beggar?”

“No you won’t have to. They will give you another leg, a man made one that will work like the one God gave you.”

“Okay.” I replied turning away from her. “Now it’s clear why uncle wanted to go to America.” I thought my vision clouded with tears.

“It was a curse to have been born here.”

 

©Toyin Fabunmi April 2013

photo credit: google images

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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