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

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“Which part don’t you understand huh? You didn’t think we were going to find out?”

Suddenly, Dapo smiled “there’s been a mix up somehow”

“Really?”

“She wasn’t pregnant; there was no way she could be”

“The autopsy can’t lie”

Dapo’s face dropped “You’re not kidding right?”

“Do I look like a clown?” Kogberegbe said angrily as he slammed his fist on the table that separated them. Dapo jumped and kept quiet

“Good thing your conscience caught up with you. So you freaked out and got someone to knock some sense into her right? Perhaps you didn’t mean so much harm but whoever you sent knocked more sense into her than was necessary. Am I right so far?” Kogberegbe’ anger reached the peak but Dapo kept quiet through his rant “Was it enough to kill her? If you knew you couldn’t face the responsibility, why weren’t you more careful? You are old enough to know the repercussion of having unprotected sex damn it!”

“There was no need to be careful detective Kogberegbe” Dapo finally said in a small voice

“Really?”

“I didn’t do it”

“Save me the sentiment, half of convicted felons have the same thing to say for themselves”

“I didn’t do it!” he screamed to gain Kogberegbe’ attention “we’ve only had sex once, and that was because I insisted. But it was more than a year after we started going out that she agreed to have sex with me and since…”

“But you did have sex right”

“Once detective, I swear, and it was a protected sex. I really can’t understand why she agreed to have sex with me in the first instance because after that first time, she wouldn’t agree to do it again. She said she only did it to prove to me that she had no problem having sex, not that I believed her. After then, she insisted we wait till we get married. I loved her, she capitalized on that and I agreed”

“Probably your protection wasn’t strong enough? She was pregnant, someone got her pregnant and you were the only one she dated!”

“I agree that someone got her pregnant but that someone wasn’t me”

“You said yourself that you had sex, even a one night thingy can result in pregnancy, you cant say you don’t know that”

“I know that however I put this, it will keep looking like I am a suspect but the only explanation is that she must have been seeing someone without me knowing”

“How can you be so sure”

“That only time we had sex was five months ago sir” Dapo said, looking up at Kogberegbe

Kogberegbe grabbed a chair and sat “What do you mean?”

“I’m sure there is a way you can determine the paternity of the foetus. You can test me or do whatever it is you people do, it will come up negative against me”

“Oh no” Kogberegbe said, covering his face with his hands “but if indeed you are innocent like you maintain, like you said, no matter how we look at it, you will always look guilty. Even from this point of view, you still have a motive”

“I know detective. But like you said earlier, I am lucky that you are on this case, you will do your best to nail the real killer won’t you?”Dapo pleaded “if I planned to kill her, I didn’t have to take her out that night, and even if i did decide to take her out, I didn’t have to bring her back, I could have done something along the way. If it was about the pregnancy, I didn’t know about it and even if I did, I could have resorted to drugging her, I wouldn’t go as far as a well planned murder, that’s not the kind of thing that a regular student does, and I assure you I am a regular student with no record of cultism. I never stopped loving her sir, and even now with the knowledge of her betrayal, I love her still. The only hurt I feel is knowing I will never see her again”

Kogberegbe looked at Dapo for a long minute and turned to leave

“Thank you detective” Dapo said

“I’m not helping you” Kogberegbe threw back over his shoulder, irritated “For all I know, you may warm the cell bed for a year.”

“It’s difficult to investigate matters in Nigeria because we don’t have records. But I know you’ll find out the truth”

 

——–

On his way out, Kogberegbe pondered about what Dapo said. Truly, it took twice the normal effort to get to the root of a crime in countries such as Nigeria. There was a particular case he remembered which the police screwed up before his arrival. Some amateurs robbed an office, leaving foot and finger prints at the scene. When the police first arrived, they questioned the local security men who claimed that it was an insider that did the job and that it wasn’t done at night. Kogberegbe knew they only cooked up this story so as to cover their own lethargic attitude to work, often times they would be found sleeping on duty. The police took their words and immediately started investigating on the assumption that the robbery didn’t take place at night and that a staff committed the crime, thus neglecting important links such as the footprints and the fingerprints. Some staff were immediately arrested and the police took off to the office. They were soon called back by some staff who pointed out the clear footprints on the fully rugged floor of one of the robbed offices. The perpetrator even took off his shoes and the prints were of the person’s bare foot. The police discarded this, saying that it was planted after they left the scene. When the finger prints on the window was shown to them, an officer attempted to wipe the finger prints, asking if it truly was a fingerprint and wondering aloud why the office window was so dirty! There was not much to work on by the time Kogberegbe arrived and he found it difficult to respect the Nigerian police ever since.

Kogberegbe drummed the steering wheel impatiently as he waited for Dana to pick up his call. She did on the third ring.

“Hey pretty. Can you please schedule a DNA test to be taken of the foetus? I need to determine the paternity”

“Let me guess, boyfriend in trouble right?” she chuckled

“They’re always the first suspects”

“I’m on it boss”

“How long will it take to have the result?

“Wouldn’t count on you having that anytime soon. It may take a month, the results you had today was rushed because of its urgency”

“I understand Dana. But can this also be pushed?  I don’t expect to still be on this case in four weeks!”

“Not much I can do boss”

“But I heard there’s a new lab in town and that you no longer have to send samples abroad for results right?”

“Yea, and that’s why it’s going to take four weeks. You know how long things used to stay when we depended on labs across the border”

“Dana, please think up something”

“Criminal samples take priority, but we even have loads of that in the lab. I’ll find a way to push it up the list. Despite that, don’t expect a miracle, it will definitely take days”

“You’re a darling, Dana. Days sound more promising than weeks. Bye” Kogberegbe put the phone in the glove box. In Lagos, you don’t just leave your phone lying around- or anything of importance for that matter. Valuable things had a way of disappearing when you do. His head was throbbing again, and Kogberegbe knew it was because he was out of leads. He would like to wrap the case as soon as possible but the only link he seemed to have would take ‘a few days’ at the minimum.

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

 

 

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Another aspect of the story he couldn’t shake was the double life the girl lived. That could be an important lead he was omitting.  What if she and not her father had made a strong enough enemy to get her killed?

Kogberegbe double checked his house security system and drove out of his garage. His car, like his favorite jeans, was well used.

As he sped along the deserted road, he leisured in the cool breeze and absence of traffic jam. The car stereo was blaring a rock song that helped to get him in the swing of things. Anyone who saw him at this time would not have the faintest idea he was a detective. This suited Kogberegbe fine, the more his true identity remained hidden, the better his chances of penetration during tough cases.

By the time Kogberegbe got to the Okanlawons’ estate, his mind was clear and set to analyze the task at hand. His first few stops were to the Okanlawons’ neighbours. He needed outsiders’ view of the family as there could be things Dr. Okanlawon wouldn’t want Kogberegbe to know, because of his reputation. When he got to the first house, he was glad he’d decided to set out early.

Making a living in Nigeria, especially in some densely populated cities, meant leaving the house before day break, and a surety of not making it back home till very late at night. Kogberegbe watched as the mom scolded the older of their two children to move fast as they were running late. It was just 5:45am. The father gave Kogberegbe a look that said he wasn’t welcome at this time at all. He shook hands with Kogberegbe reluctantly and his wife checked the time while the two children looked sleepy and cold. Kogberegbe assured the man he would only take a while.

“Sure” The neighbour, Mr. Adamson said.

“I assume you’re aware a murder was committed in this neighbourhood yesterday” Kogberegbe said

“Yeah, heard. It’s unfortunate but I’m sure if there’s a way we could be of help, we will”

“Did you hear or see anything out of the ordinary in the early hours of last night?” Kogberegbe asked

“Not at all. Judging by the number of hours I put into my work, you wouldn’t blame me for sleeping like a log, which is what I do. Moreover, the Okanlawon’s house is two houses away. There’s a low probability I hear an occurrence in my own house, much less theirs” Adamson said, smiling humorously.

“Understandable. Do you have a night guard?”

“No. we just moved in and still trying to get our own footing” Adamson said

Kogberegbe surveyed the building “How well do you know the Okanlawons?”

“I’m afraid, not much” Adamson sighed “Almost everyone in this estate work hard and barely notice one another. We’re all hardly ever at home- with the exception of some housewives. But from what I know, Dr. Okanlawon and his family are a polite bunch. They were really warm and welcoming when we moved in and though we don’t see much of one another, I know them to be a good family”

“Do you think Dr. Okanlawon might have some strong enemies?”

Adamson gave a weak smile “Don’t we all have enemies?  As for strong ones, you’ll have to ask him because I’ve not seen or heard about him getting on many people’s wrong side- not Dr.”

“What about Ronke, Dr Okanlawon’s daughter?”

“She was a warm girl. Pity she got unlucky with fate, whoever did it must be insane. The girl would never hurt a soul. She was easy going, smiled radiantly and would greet from afar, even if you didn’t see her. We’ve heard people say they would want their children to have her kind of spirit. She mostly stayed indoors and if she had to go out, must get back home before eight pm. That’s about all I know of her, mostly gathered from what others say about her in the estate”

“Thanks, you’re been of great help” Kogberegbe lied.

“Glad I could” Adamson said, shaking Kogberegbe’ hand again before Kogberegbe passed him his complementary card

“Just in case anything comes to your mind which you have omitted, or you see anything unusual, please give me a call”

“Sure” Adamson said, walking Kogberegbe to the gate and opening it wide for his car’s passage

“Sorry I took your time. Bye” Kogberegbe said.

 

Kogberegbe interviewed some more families but didn’t get any new information. Everyone believed Ronke and her parents didn’t keep late nights. No one thought Dr. Okanlawon could have an enemy that would hate him so much as to hurt him. This left Kogberegbe retracing his steps to his starting point- Dr. Okanlawon’s gateman. Musa looked like his world had fallen apart. Kogberegbe doubted that he had his bath or even slept at all.

“Oga, that one, not froblem” Musa responded when Kogberegbe pointed it out to him “I no haffy”

“Well, you shouldn’t be. You were sloppy with your work and someone got killed” Kogberegbe said bluntly

“Thank you oga.” Musa replied with a smile, apparently without comprehension “Madam no well again. Oga carry  madam go hosfital por morning. Oga sep pit no stay again. To kill me right”

“You shouldn’t talk that way Musa” Kogberegbe said, trying to calm him down “You don’t deserve to be killed, even though you made some mistakes. What you can do now is to help me find the girl’s killer”

“Ah, oga, I want now!” Musa said as if he was offended that Kogberegbe thought he wouldn’t help “Me not haffy”

“So, let’s start from here” Kogberegbe said, leading Musa to a bench even though Musa was bent on punishing himself to death. “Musa, I want you to relax okay?”

“I okay” Musa said unconvincingly.

“Now Musa, I want you to think deeply” Kogberegbe said.

“yes sir” Musa replied

“Was there any time during the day that you left the house?”

“Lept?me I no lept the house anytime. Pood sep, na when pood seller come to me, I buy pood, chof am por oppice there” Musa said, pointing to the gatehouse that now housed a new gateman

“Okay, so tell me about yesterday, starting from the morning, what did you do all day?”

“I not do flinty. I not even chof” Musa said miserably.

“Then you must have heard when the glass was broken” Kogberegbe prodded and Musa looked even more miserable, silent and not catching Holme’s glance. Kogberegbe’ heart started beating faster. “There’s something you aren’t telling me right? “ At this, a tear rolled down Musa’s face “Talk to me Musa, help me find this killer, then at least Ronke can be avenged and you can find some peace”

“I drunk” Musa said in a small voice

“You got drunk?” Kogberegbe asked, to which Musa nodded. “Why and how? Tell me about it”

“I not know how to drunk bepore. My wipe por billage I want marry, they marry her to give another ferson” Musa stated feebly

“Okay, go on”

“I not haffy. My priend not like me not haffy and say to helf me”

“So, your friend helped you by getting you drunk?”

“It do good. I drunk and I sleef and I wake and only headache, I not thinking flinty about my wipe again because apter I wake, not long, oga or madam come and work start again”

“So, you got drunk and slept off all through the day till when your boss got back?” Kogberegbe said bewildered

“Yes oga”

“While you were drunk, do you realize anyone could have sneaked  in to lay all the pathway that made the murder easy?”

“Sir?”

“Never mind. How long have you been doing this…drinking to stupor I mean?”

“I not drunk to anywhere o oga, na just here por my oppice”

“Ok, how long have you been drinking? When did this start? Yesterday? Last week?”

“Not last week, another week”

“You mean week before the last?”

“Last last week?”Musa said nodding

“So, who’s this friend that introduced you to drinking?”

“Sabo, na Sabo. He gateman there” Musa said pointing at their neighour’s house, separated by bush “My priend, Sabo is. Me I bring Sabo prom home por North, tell oga there” He pointed again at the building “I gibe am gateman, Sabo good strong man prom my billage. He come and he become gateman, we good priend”

“I see. So you have a close relationship with this Sabo. Ok, on the night of the murder, where was Sabo?”

“Aah, me no know. Sabo always inside por night”

 

“Alright then. I guess I’ll have to talk to your friend. Musa, when was the last time you ate?” When Musa continued to look at him blankly, Kogberegbe added “food”

“Oh pood? Me no want pood. They hang me, kill me”

“No Musa, you don’t deserve to be hanged. I want you to find something to eat. You’re good to me alive than dead okay?”

“Me no want pood” he insisted

“But I want you to okay? Please” Kogberegbe stood firm and Musa kept quiet, averting his face. Kogberegbe headed for the neighbour’s compound. He’d been there earlier that morning but didn’t learn anything different from what others had to say. Though Kogberegbe greatly doubted that the murderer lived in the neighbourhood, it was his job to explore all possibilities. The killer might have had some help which could be anyone in the neighbourhood. Or at the least, Sabo might have been awake and witnessed something while Musa was in drunken sleep.

Sabo didn’t look too pleased at the sight of Kogberegbe.

“You come bepore” Sabo said, in the same adulterated English with which Musa spoke, not masking his displeasure to see Kogberegbe.

“I know I have been here before. There’s been a recent development and I’m afraid I have to question you again if you don’t mind”

“Oga e not like disturb. He want to go out not long now…”

“Never mind, I’m not here to see your boss” Kogberegbe cut in, studying Sabo’s features while he spoke with him. Sabo was very dark skinned like the other gatemen in the neighbourhood, typical of northerners; but he didn’t look half as fragile as the other men. Sabo was averagely built and about 5’9. He also carried a cool expression that convinced Kogberegbe that Sabo drank regularly. From his facial features, he also smoked a great deal.

 

 

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