It was a drop dead beautiful svelte that opened the door for me when I reached Mr. Adogoke’s house at Ibadan. I had branched at the shop to greet madam and her girls before entering the main gate into the main compound through the pedestrian gate. The entrance door to the house opened from the inside just as I was about to open it from the outside.
Jesu Christi o! I hissed
Uncle Bolaji? She asked
Yes? I asked as I peered very well into those eyes; do not tell me you are ouwayemisi! I said
Of course I am! She exclaimed in laughter; you can not recognize me again? She asked
Jesu o! jesu o! Are you a model at school or some thing? Jeez! Look at you! You have grown into a beautiful woman! Like a super model! I exclaimed; how old are you now? I asked
Uncle BJ, I am just above eighteen now! She said
Look at you! I don’t know if I should lift you up or hug you or even kiss you! I said
Any one uncle! She said
Come here! Come here! I gave her a close hug that affected my crouch once again, I remembered the first day I met Chioma.
Please take my bag to the guest room! I said as I discharged from the hug and went straight into the convenience room at the sitting room to caution my emotion, I stayed in there for about ten minutes. I did not come out when I heard her calling my name from the sitting room.
This is not any other girl; this is Mr. Adegoke’s daughter! My mentor’s daughter! What was wrong with me? I am almost nine years older than her! She is like a sister to me!
Suddenly I heard DJ Slam’s voice in my head.
Shattap ya Yoruba mgati, mgbati mouth there! Na ya mama born am?
But the Papa na my mentor nah!
Ehen? Na her father go marry her? Biko wire the girl! Slam echoed
Chai! But the girl is innocent nah!
Oh no! Oh no! Jew man! Is she not above fifteen years of age?
She is eighteen I said
Then she don ripe be dat! Wire am! Wire am! Slam said.
Dem take wire swear for you? I asked.
If you no wire am! Another guy go wire am o! That’s all! Slam said as he fizzled out of my head.
I returned to reality as someone banged hard at the door to the convenience
Ta ni yen? Who is that? I asked.
Bolaji! It was madam
Mummy! I called back
I came out to meet Mummy already dressed to go out.
Thank God that you are around, please look after the house, she said; have you seen Yemisi?
No ma! Yes ma! Yemisi abi? I was confused
Kilode? What is wrong? She asked
Kosi nkankan ma! Nothing ma! I replied. I saw her as I came in, I did not know it was her! I managed to explain.
Okay! She has grown abi?
Yes ma! I replied.
Please take care of the house and the shop! You are the man in the house now. I will be back at night, tell Yemisi to prepare dinner before Daddy returns from work
Yes mam! I said
Immediately she left the house, I went to my room to loosen up and relax from the stress of the journey.
It was the aroma of the food she brought into my room that woke me up. I was so famished that I jumped out of bed and grabbed the plate of steaming Jollof rice from her
Thank you my dear! I said: how did you know that I was very hungry?
She laughed and said: I don’t know o! You have been sleeping since morning nah, I was knocking at your door but you did not answer so I decided to burst in with your food.
Thank you for bursting in! I said; you just saved a soul! I would have died of hunger from my sleep! I said as I ate up the steaming food in a hurry.
Uncle, take it easy nah! She said
Did you cook this food? I asked an obviously stupid question
Yes nah! She said
Who taught you how to cook? Another stupid question.
Who else but mummy! She asked
Oh, yes! Mummy! I forgot, I said; so how is school life? I asked the first sane question.
Uncle wait let me go and get you drinking water. She left and came back with a cold glass of water.
Thank you very much! I said and gulp down some water; so, school life! How is it? I continued.
School life is fine! She said as she sat on the edge of the bed.
I heard you are studying Agric economics! I lied.
No o! I am studying Med- sug! She said
As in, Medicine and surgery? I asked.
Yes sir! She said.
Wow! That’s cool, I am not surprised though, I am just impressed, I said. I wish you the best, Doctor Yemisi.
I heard you came out with first class in engineering, she said.
That’s true! I said.
I am not surprised though, I am just impressed. She said.
Ahan! I said.
Ahan what? She asked.
You are mimicking me, I said.
She laughed; but it is the truth nah! You have been our inspiration in this house, there is no day my dad does not mention your name while advising us to be the best! You are my role model, my hero!
I wished she could say “my husband”. I was loving every moment with her until one of the sales girls from the shop came to call her out of my room for an urgent errand.
I could not take my mind off the thought of Yemisi. I was already jealous of the possibility of her having a boy friend already. A beauty like her would have been hooked by some stupid campus boys that have made it their birth right to sample every beautiful female Jambite. She was already in her second year and as such would have been devoured by those scoundrels! Yemisi is mine! Imagine the way she served me food in bed, she even knew I had to drink water while eating! What other sign am I looking for? I wish we were alone in the house so we could just be talking. DJ Slam tried to get into my head again and I shook my head vigorously and shouted” Get behind me Satan”! He ran away echoing the words “ wire” wire! Wire her”
This is not a girl for wiring but for keeps, a girl to treasure and nurture, a girl that gives one good dreams when she sleeps by my side. A wife material! Her laughter was so inviting and soothing; I wanted to think of her innocence, I did not like to think of those Campus boys and their capabilities. I just wanted to think of Yemisi as mine, untouched, waiting for me.
Waiting for you for wetin? Na you God create her for? Slam interrupted
Yes na me! I shouted. Slam! Leave me I beg! Make I think!
Think well o! But remember that no girl is innocent o! He fizzled out of my head again.
Get thee behind me Slam! I commanded.
I was possessed by the thought of Yemisi. I was thinking of her as a future partner, my wife! I deserve her.
Only you deserve her? Just wire her and go your way! Slam spoke again.
I pretended to ignore him.
If her papa catch you! Your own don finish be that! Slam said.
Mr. Goke had advised me that I get into a serious relationship with a girl that would love me for who I am and not for what I will become. I don’t need to look further! Oluwayemisi knows my story, even though she was very young when I stayed briefly with their family during my secondary school days, I am no stranger to her.
The opportunity came on my second night at Ibadan. Uncle Goke and Madam had retired indoors for the night. Gbadebo was reading at the Library, he was preparing for his senior secondary certificate examination.
Come and sit here Yemisi, I said; we need to talk.
Okay! She said as she left the seat close to the Television and sat on the two- seater couch I was occupying. She smelled good. The faint scent of perfume came with her. This girl is clean. Her skin is light and smooth without blemish. Her legs, tapering from the bum short she wore were straight and fresh like vanilla ice cream. My heart beat was racing as she sat by my side and focused on the Television. She does not look me in the eyes. I really felt like having a bottle of Gulder at that moment but I I have never drunk alcohol in their house. Even when uncle Goke bought beer for me, we were seated outside the house discussing behind the shop.
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly so that she would not know that uncle BJ is a Jew man. How old are you now? I asked
You have asked me that before and I said eighteen plus! She said still watching the TV.
Have I? I am so sorry, I said; in other words, you are not a baby! I said.
I am not a baby, she said, still focusing on the TV.
I want to ask you some questions; I hope you will not be offended? I asked
I don’t know o! I hope there is no problem? She asked looking at me and removing her face to focus on the TV.
There is problem o! I said
What happened? Did I do something wrong? She asked
You are doing many things to me my dear! I said.
Ha! Uncle BJ! What have I been doing to you that is wrong?
You have been scattering my head since I came around two days ago! I can’t concentrate! I talk and argue with myself like a mad man! I have not been able to take my mind off the thought of you! I think I am in love with you already! I said.
Ha! Uncle BJ! She exclaimed
You are like a big brother to me! She said.
But I am not your brother and you know that! I said. Do you have a boy fiend at school or at any other place?
No o! She said shyly
Are you sure? I asked.
I don’t have the time for that yet! She said.
And why is that? I asked. You are a very pretty girl; does it mean you don’t have toasters?
Of course I have toasters daily but I am not ready for another relationship now. She said.
What happened to your previous relationship? I asked.
Hmm, it’s a long story, we were secondary school friends, he was a sickle cell anemia patient, and he is dead! She said.
Oh no! I am so sorry I said. I heaved a sigh of relieve and a silent prayer of gratitude.
How long was this?
After our SSCE. Over two years ago.
Do you miss him? I asked.
Yes, sometimes! He was a very good boy, he deflowered me!
The laughter of Slam started to echo in my head; hahahahahahah! See your innocent girl o!
I shook my head vigorously to send Slam away.
I love you! I said. I don’t care weather he deflowered you or not! I am not a saint myself. I am glad there is no one in your life now, I would have committed suicide if you had told me you love some one else but me!
I don’t love any one o!
Except me abi? I teased
Yes me! I said
I don’t know o! But I love and respect you like a big brother! She said.
Thank you! But don’t love me like a brother any more! Love me like your boyfriend! Like your husband to be! I said
Ha Uncle BJ! She exclaimed meeting my gaze with surprise.
Kilode? I asked
Husband to be? Like my boy friend? She asked.
Yes! I said. We are not strangers to each other and I will wait for you until you are through with your studies. I just want you to promise me that you will be there for me!
She was silent; you are not saying anything, I said
I don’t know what to say nah! I am confused, she said. How can I bring myself to be calling you by your first name without putting the word Uncle or brother?
Forget uncle I beg! I am not your uncle! Your uncle is the village! Forget brother, your brother is reading in the Library! I said. Call me BJ like all my friends do!
She laughed. My Parents would skin me alive.
Don’t worry, when the time comes, they will support us! I said.
My mother loves you, she will be happy about this if I tell her. But for my father, I cannot tell.
Leave your father! Your mother will get him for us! So am I getting a yes? I asked
Yes! She laughed.
Wow! I suppressed my scream by jumping around the sitting room. I pulled her up and hugged her quickly and left her before an intruder bumped in on us.
I love you! I love you! I was saying.
I love you too, she said shyly.
I could not sleep that night, I waited for Slam to talk into my head but he did not come, Satan shame unto you! I said to him. The next morning after Uncle Goke had gone to work and mummy went out, Gbadebo went to school, Yemisi and I were indoors playing and talking, and she could not bring herself to call me Bolaji and I forbade her from calling me Uncle. She will find a name for me in due course.
I left Ibadan two days after. I gave my new found love all the gifts I had bought for Katty and Tessy, Perfumes, wrist watches, hand bags and T shirts. I will buy their gifts when I get to Onitsha. I gave Yemisi some cash but she refused it. I asked her how she will conceal the gift items from her parents; she said she will tell her mother what transpired between us once I am safely on my way to the east. I did not know what to say but to hope for the best.
As she came into my room to help carry my travelling bag to her Mothers Car, I quickly closed the door and pulled her close, the scent of her perfume charged my senses as I planted my mouth on her luscious lips, she responded, she held my head, I almost cried.
JANUARY 1997; I met a very complicated situation on my return to Owerri, strange things had happened while I was away.
I entered the Hotel premises at 4.PM with my luggage strapped on my back. I was expecting a warm welcome from my colleagues and a subtle reprimand from Oga Dan for staying away longer that I was permitted. I met people wearing long faces as they went about their duties. No one paid me any attention rather they were starring at me as if I was a stranger.
I walked to the bar and brought out a chilled bottle of Gulder from the Gulder branded Chiller to calm me down after a long journey. The DJ Cubicle was closed; it was unusual for Slam’s office to be close at such hour when the business of the day was gearing up. He normally plays blues or roots reggae at such hour. Emeka walked into the bar to collect some drinks so I greeted him and asked after DJ Slam but he pretended not to hear my question.
Emeka! Is it not you that I am talking to? I asked
I should be asking you! He snapped
Asking me? As how? I asked
You no know? He asked
Know wetin? I asked
Okay! Dey there dey pretend, when Police come carry you go, you go confess! He said and walked out to attend to Customers.
Something was amiss, so I gulped down all of my beer and carried my luggage to go to my room upstairs, I entered the reception and asked the receptionist for the key to my room.
Go and ask Oga Dan! The receptionist told me.
Oga Dan? Why? I asked.
He has to authorize the release of the key to you! She snapped.
Haba Chinwe! It is me o! Bolaji! Am I a stranger here? I asked
Please go and ask Oga Dan nah! I am busy please! She snapped and started tapping the key board of her desk top computer all of a sudden.
I dropped my luggage behind the door and made to go up to Oga Dan’s office.
Hey Oga! Chinwe called out.
I looked back at her not sure who she was referring to. She pointed at my bag
Carry am go I beg! She said
You mean my luggage? I asked
You heard me! She snapped
I quietly walked back and carried my bag.
I knocked and entered Oga Dan’s Office; he was surprised to see me.
Omo! He called out
Oga Sir! I remain loyal sir! I saluted him
Where the hell have you been to all this while? I expected you to be back after one week but you have been away for three months or there about!
I am very sorry sir! I had a lot of family issues to sort out sir! And since my NYSC programme is still far away, I decided to take out time and sort certain things out. I explained.
You are welcome! But there are problems here o! I don’t think you are welcomed here any longer o; he told me as calmly as he could.
What happened sir? No wonder every one I have met had been some how cold towards me. I said.
Excuse me for a minute! He said and left the office to return after five minutes.
Yes BJ! Welcome back! He said with an enthusiasm that was not there few minutes ago. Are you a member of a secret cult? He asked.
Ha! What? Me? No o! How can? I was confused.
Are you sure? He asked suspiciously.
Haba Oga Dan! You no trust me? I asked him.
Hmm, trust you? I used to trust you but from what I have heard about you so far I don’t know if I can trust you any more.
Oga Dan, please talk to me! What is all these about? And where is Slam? At least he will tell me what happened if none of you what to tell me. His Office is closed at this hour and I asked Emeka about Slam but he said I should know better, me that have been away for some time now! Biko dede, ogini n’aeme ebe a? I asked in igbo language.
You and Slam disappeared about the same time last year; he said he was going for political runs while you said you were going for family visit. Is that not so? He asked
You are right sir! I replied.
Slam has been dead and buried! His headless body was dropped outside our gate. This happened the second day you left, and since then you have not come back here! What have you come back here to do now when you are a wanted criminal?
Jesu Christi! Jesu Christi! Headless corpse? I asked.
Yes! That was what his people buried. He said
Oh my God! Slam is dead? Goose pimples came all over me and I began to cry.
There was a loud knock at the door of the office as I asked him
So what are the Police doing about it?
Oh! The Police? He asked; come inside please! He shouted for the person knocking to come inside.
The door opened and three armed uniformed Police men entered the Office.
Good day Officers! Oga Dan stood up: this is the man we have all been looking for; he is one of the suspected Cultists!
My bladder gave out its content immediately and a feverish feeling over came me. I was feeling burning sensation from inside me as I felt the cold hands of raw fear. I looked from Oga Dan to the Police. I felt like a Dog whose owner is selling it to a Calabar or Ondo man.
Are you Mr. Bolaji? The one with the pistol asked.
I nodded my head.
You are under arrest for involvement in cult activities which has led to the death of one Nnana Ogbuike popularly called DJ Slam, Onyekachi Chukwuma popularly called Major and Onyema Iloh popularly called Lusaka! You have the right to remain silent as anything you do or say here shall be used against you in the court of law.
Nigerian Police don’t read you your rights before arresting you! For these People to read me my rights means they meant business and were not the every day Nigerian Police.
Oga Dan! I called out.
Please follow them! Murderer! Your Parents sent you to school but you came here and turned to a dare devil! Wolf in sheep’s clothing! Onye oshi! Oga Dan said.
Oga Dan! I called again as my hands were cuffed and I was whisked out of his office.
A small crowd had gathered downstairs as the Police escorted me into the Peugeot 504 station wagon they came with. I was crying as the Police men were hitting my joints with their batons even though I offered no resistance at my arrest.
We got to the Police station at a quarter past six o’clock as indicated on the wall clock at the police counter. The DPO was not on seat when the inspector that led the team asked the constable at the counter.
I was given a sheet of paper to write my statement. I asked the Corporal in the team to tell me how to write the statement as I had never had any reason to write a statement in a Police station before. The corporal relayed my request to the inspector who then called the sergeant that came with him to arrest me to take charge of my case.
The sergeant said I should write everything I know about the death of DJ Slam and other dead Cultists and about my involvement in the secret cult.
I told him that I know nothing of both. This annoyed the Police officer when all efforts to make me indict myself failed.
By 9.45PM, they dragged me to a room inside the station. The stench from the room was awful, the door was closed, and the room was sound proof. They told me to pull off all my clothes, and then my hands were cuffed.
On a wooden table close to the wall were pressing Iron, needled syringe, pliers, hammer, koboko, cable wire, a pack of Tiger head razor blade, and some other strange instruments of torture.
I was lifted up and hung on the ceiling fan anchor, the hand cuffs bit into my wrist and I screamed, my legs were tied together with a hard wire. In two minutes it felt like my hands would pull off my body. Words cannot describe what these men did to me. I went to hell.
The Police flogged me with cable wires and koboko for over forty minutes; they flogged every part of my body with emphasis on my private part. At a time one of them grabbed my legs to prevent me from struggling while another inserted a long and thin iron into my joystick to and fro causing me the most painful agony man could endure. They plugged the electric Iron into the socket and when it smelled hot, they unplugged it and pressed my buttocks and my thighs with it, the room smelled of burnt flesh, my flesh. I screamed and screamed, I begged them and told them the story of my life but it fell on deaf hears as they were threatening to kill me unless I tell them the truth.
They also used the razor blade to cut randomly on my buttocks and my legs, then they rubbed a substance which I think was dried pepper, I screamed, the pliers on their table was used on my toes, my bones were cracked, my ankles and my knees were knocked out with a hammer. That was when I stopped feeling any more pain.
Are you ready to cooperate now? I heard the question from afar.
Pour am more water! I head some said.
I woke up with a pounding pain in my head as water was poured on me. I was on the floor of the torture room; I was lying on slimy substance on the floor that smelled like death.
Get up criminal! Someone snarled.
I tried to sit up but I could not. I could not feel my hands as they just lay limp by my side.
You no dey hear word? Some one barked. I say get up!
I can’t! I said. I can’t feel my hands.
You never see anything yet! He said. Look up! I say turn your back and look up!
I turned to lie on my back; every movement sent excruciating pains all over me.
You see this guy wey hang there so? The voice asked me.
I looked up to where I was hung and saw the lifeless body of a young man dangling from the ceiling with blood dripping from his body.
He don die! The voice said to me. Na the same treatment wey we give to you we give am but he no survive am! For you to survive am mean say you be hardened criminal! A confirmed cultist! But what we did to you is just step one! By the time you still refuse to cooperate with us, we shall proceed to step two! You hear me?
Yes sir! But wetin una want me to do nah? I asked. Make I lie upon my self? Una no even bother to investigate wetin I tell una, the very day wey I leave this town, I was at Ibadan! i..
Sharrap! Someone shouted and kicked me in the groin. I saw flashes of light as I screamed my guts out.
I will cooperate! Anything you want I will do it! I said as I cried. I could not bear to take any more of the torture.
Oya, sign this statement! He dropped an already written statement on the table and pulled me onto a chair. He dropped a pen by the paper and told me to sign the paper. I tried to move my hands but I could not. I was reading the content when the man shouted.
Oh! You dey read am abi! There was an explosion, something tore through me. I felt myself falling.
…To be continued