© Oyinloye Oluwatosin Emmanuel
Garuba Ahmed peeped through the window from the top floor and he saw the security man opening the cage for the dogs. He had heard noises at the gate from his room and left his wife in the bed to check what was happening. He opened the window curtains wide and was about to call the security guard’s name and asked what happened when he saw his son’s car parked improperly behind his. Then he knew the reason for the noise at the gate. Toheeb had returned home late. It had been a long time it happened last and Garuba wondered what gave Toheeb the audacity to try it again. He felt like going to confront Toheeb that night but discarded the thought. He concluded that something important must have kept the boy late considering the fact that he had stopped coming home late for several months after being warned to stop. Rather he was grateful that the boy got home safely.
He heard some noise coming from the lower floor and knew it was Toheeb trying to open the backdoor. He decided to ignore and go back to sleep. He closed the window curtains and walked back to the room to meet his wife.
Garuba was already sleeping off again when he heard the sound of the room door closing. His eyes popped open and he turned to his left side, he saw his wife still asleep by his side. He quickly sat up and turned on the light using the switch above the headboard of the bed.
A lady on a very short gown stood right behind the door. She had on her face a mask which covered her forehead and her nose down to the jaw, leaving only the two eyes visible. She had a small bag hanging from her left shoulder to her waist at the right side. She raised her gun and pointed it straight at him as their eyes locked.
He shook in fear and his hands went up simultaneously. She placed a finger on her lips, a sign for him to remain in silence. She moved closer to him and stood directly opposite, she placed a feet on the bed in a way that the gown rolled up and short tight pant was visible.
She glanced briefly at the wife who was still asleep and uncocked her gun. ‘Good morning Mr Garuba Lawal,’ she began in low tones. ‘I don’t plan to spend much time here and I don’t want to hurt you, so I’ll ask that you cooperate with me, so that I can leave you and your family quickly.’
The man kept a blank stare on her face with his hands still raised up. He looked at his sleeping wife briefly again and then his eyes hovered around the room for a moment.
‘Your son’s live is at stake,’ Tarasha said as she took out a phone. She unlocked it and handed it to him. ‘Toheeb is drunk and fast asleep, he didn’t know when I placed that explosive around his body.’
The man’s eyes widened in shock as he confirmed her words from the picture on the phone staring him in the face. His whole body began to tremble so hard that the mattress began to vibrate with it.
‘Shhh… Calm down,’ Tarasha said, placing a finger on her lips again. She then stretched her hand to take back the phone. The man returned the phone and tightened his lips together in a bid to control his panic.
‘I don’t want to kill him or you,’ Tarasha continued with a smile. ‘I just want you to give me something I need urgently, you’d be free if I do so.’
The man nodded slowly in agreement with his lips still sealed and his cheeks swollen with the air trapped in his mouth.
‘Ya Allah!’ Garuba’s wife exclaimed as she opened her eyes and saw what was happening.
‘Shhh,’ Tarasha gestured to her to keep quiet. She quickly sat in the same position with her husband and covered her mouth with her palms. Tarasha turned back to Garuba, ‘I want the NOTD sealed deal documents with you, all of them.’
The man’s eyes widened for a moment and he stared blankly like he didn’t know what she was talking about.
‘Don’t waste my time Dude, don’t try to lie. You should have heard that I visited Eze Okafor this morning, he already told me that the documents are with you, so tell me where they are right away.’
‘Ermm… They’re in my cupboard,’ the man said, pointing to the wardrobe with his hands still trembling. He had heard the news on the attack on Eze Okafor and he now realized that the person standing before him was Samantha Osman.
‘Get them for me, all of them,’ Tarasha ordered and put her leg down. She motioned the man with his gun. He stood up with his hands raised as he walked to the wardrobe.
It took the man almost twenty minutes to fetch out the documents as they were kept in a secure bag at the lowest end of the wardrobe. He handed the documents to Tarasha and returned to his previous position at her order. She took some few minutes to scan through the documents and confirmed that it was what she wanted, it matched the description that Eze Okafor had given her perfectly.
She kept them neatly in her bag and took out a device from her bag. She wore the device around her wrist like bangles.
‘Are you going to take the explosive away from Toheeb’s now?’ Garuba Ahmed summoned courage to ask.
‘No, I won’t.’ she replied, staring at him with the corner of her eyes. ‘You have your security men around and you would alert them once it is taken off. I don’t want to kill, not you or any of them.’
They stared at each other silently for a while.
‘I’ve got some other questions for you,’ Tarasha said. She placed her feet on the edge of the bed again. ‘Why were you keeping these documents?’
The man remained silent for a while, thinking of whether to respond with the truth or tell her something else.
‘Speak up, I don’t want to waste time here.’ Tarasha said impatiently.
‘I was the Inspector in charge of the case, so I decided to keep it then so that it won’t get missing from my office.’ He replied.
‘And all these years, why are they still with you?’
Garuba Ahmed closed his eyes for a moment. It was difficult to decide whether to say the truth or not, he didn’t know who she was sent by and he didn’t want to say something that would make her change her mind and hurt him or any of his family members.
‘Don’t lie to me,’ Tarasha warned again, already sensing what was going through his mind.
He opened his eyes and stared at her, wondering how she knew he was already thinking of lying. He swallowed in saliva before he began to speak. ‘My main aim was to reopen the case if I become the President next year.’
Tarasha chuckled. ‘You think you would become the President? With Elvis Richards in government presently?’
The fear in the man’s heart increased. He began to think that she was sent by Elvis Richards.
‘Do you think you stand a chance of winning against him?’ she went further.
‘I don’t know. We never knew he was going to contest until he declared recently. He isn’t the President, so I believe he cannot influence the nation like he would like to. Our recent electoral process is becoming more free and fair, and I believe I stand a chance against him.’
‘Well, you have to forget about probing him when you get to office… If you get to office,’ she said, stressing the ‘if’ in the sentence. ‘I’m going to take care of Elvis Richards myself. Now tell me the other things you have that could work against him.’
The man stared at her eyes for a moment. He was a trained investigator and he could read intentions from the eyes of a culprit sometimes. Her request seemed more like a trap for him. She could be working for the Vice President and pretend to be working against him just to get what she needed at the moment. But the look in her eyes was different, it revealed a strange sincerity he had never seen in criminals. However he still had nothing additional to tell or give to her.
He shook his head and waved his fingers to say no. He glanced briefly again at his wife who was staring at them in fear and at sea as to what was going on.
Tarasha put her feet down and put the gun into her bag. She pulled a gown down a bit and straightened the other parts of the cloth.
‘What of my son?’ Garuba asked again.
She turned her wrist to him, showing him a timer on the device on her wrist. ‘You can take off the explosive in forty six minutes,’ she said to him. The timer on the device was also reading down from forty six minutes and twelve seconds. ‘Any attempts to take it off before then would cause something fatal,’ she continued with a crooked smile. ‘And this button,’ she turned her wrist for him to see the switch on the device. ‘I’ll push it once I notice the police or any security officer following after me. I’ll advice that you don’t involve the police at all, you should be wise since you know that the Inspector General is a friend to Elvis Richards. So,’ she paused for some seconds. ‘Are we in agreement?’
‘Yes,’ the man nodded. He let out a breath as he was still scared that the explosive may still go off.
‘Okay, you have to see me off, I’ll be borrowing your son’s car.’ Tarasha said to the man and motioned him to get down from the bed. ‘You stay here till he returns,’ she said to the wife.
She took out the keys from the keyhole at the door and locked it from behind after she got out. With Garuba following her, she was able to drive out with the car without interference from the dogs and also leaving the gate security man surprised as to how the slut who entered with the son came out with the father.
Toheeb was still fast asleep in the bed with the explosive bag worn on his chest. He stirred and stretched when the door to his room was opened but still didn’t open his eyes, he continued his sleep and even began to make funny sounds.
‘Sir, why didn’t you call on us immediately?’ one of the men who entered the room with Garuba Ahmed asked. Another one walked past them to the bed to check what was on Toheeb’s body.
‘She warned us not to make any move until after forty five minutes and I didn’t want to take chances,’ Garuba replied.
‘Oh mehn! This is a real explosive,’ the man who was checking the bag in Toheeb’s chest announced to the others. The other man left Garuba and quickly joined his colleague. He climbed up the bed and knelt close to Toheeb.
‘Wow! We have to be careful.’
‘It’s switched off already,’ the other man who was already assessing the bag said. ‘But we have to take it off now, it could be switched on anytime again if the girl is not far away from here.’
It took them about 2 minutes to take the explosive off carefully without cutting the wrong wires, Toheeb continued to sleep all through. One of the men carefully disconnected the wires on the explosive and took it outside. They returned to meet Garuba Ahmed who had gone to sit in the living room sheet after they removed the bag.
‘Sir, we have to inform the police once it’s daybreak.’ one of the men suggested as he walked to the Garuba’s side.
Garuba remained silent and calm. He was still thinking on what to do, whether to follow the lady’s advice not to involve the police or do things his own way.
‘Sir…’ the man standing by his side called to get the man’s attention.
‘We won’t inform the police directly and none of you should talk to anyone about it, not even my wife. I’ll call Inspector Kehinde or probably go to his office this morning.’ the man replied. Inspector Kehinde was a police officer who he knew and could trust.
‘Sir, but don’t you think we should do something immediately before she goes too far?’ the second person suggested.
‘I do not have any problem with her since she did not hurt anyone but I will still have to get the Inspector informed in case anything else happens.’
Challenge Road, Ilorin.
Garuba Ahmed sat at the backseat alone. The two men who had helped him to take off the bomb were seated at the front, one of then driving and the other working on a mini laptop. Their Jeep stopped behind a public transport bus as the traffic warder at the front ordered vehicles coming from their direction to stop.
‘Are you outside already?’ Garuba said into his phone.
‘Yes, I just got outside the station.’ the receiver replied.
‘Okay, we’re close to the roundabout and driving towards A Division already. We’ll pick you in a minute.’
The vehicles began to move and they crossed the roundabout in few seconds. They located Inspector Kehinde standing with the other pedestrians waiting to get vehicles and they stopped for him to join them. He walked to the car quickly and joined Garuba at the backseat. They drove off.
‘Good morning Inspector Kehinde,’ Garuba Ahmed greeted first, offering the officer a handshake.
‘Good morning sir,’ Inspector Kehinde replied with a bow and took the handshake with two hands respectfully.
‘We have something very important to discuss, and we have to find somewhere perfect we can discuss it well.’ Garuba said.
‘Sir, you should have asked for me to come to your place. From the way your voice sounded when you called, I believe what you want to discuss with me is very urgent.’
‘Yes, it actually is. But I couldn’t call you to come to my place, my wife is around and she would want to listen to our conversation.’
‘Okay, why don’t we just start right away?’
Garuba chuckled and then stared for a second at the men sitting at the front. The Inspector understood with the gesture; the man wasn’t comfortable discussing the matter in the presence of his men.
Garuba suddenly glanced at his wristwatch and looked up. ‘It’s 12pm, can we listen to the news now?’ he said to his men.
The man at the passenger’s side in front turned on the car radio and tuned it to the station airing the news. The newscaster began to read out the headlines just as the guy increased the volume. The first headline read: ‘Eze Okafor confirmed dead this morning’.
The news threw Garuba off guard and he placed his palm on his chest as his eyes widened in shock. He closed his eyes and inhaled and exhaled deeply to suppress the shock as he waited for the details of the news to be read. The reading of the headlines ended and the details of the news began immediately after. The newscaster read in details how Eze Okafor was found lifeless in the hospital bed by seven thirty am while the doctor was going on the morning round. His death was however not announced immediately because it had to be confirmed first and the cause had not been ascertained. Signs of ropes were said to have been seen on the man’s legs and hands and a window of ward he was kept in was found damaged. The State commissioner of Police had reviews the incident himself and concluded that Samantha Osman came back at midnight to finish off the man.
‘But this isn’t true?’ Garuba Ahmed argued aloud with no one in particular.
‘I think it is sir,’ Inspector Kehinde opposed in a calm voice. ‘She tried to kill him yesterday but was intercepted by the police, I’m sure she really returned to the hospital to finish her mission.’
‘No, she didn’t kill him.’ Garuba insisted in a strong tone which made him sound suspicious. Everybody else in the car remained silent and stiff, waiting for him to say something else to back his argument but the man was quiet and moody. Written all over his face was confusion, he had his lips squeezed in like he had swallowed something bitter.
‘Sir, why do you say so?’ Inspector Kehinde asked.
‘I know,’ Garuba turned to the Inspector still carrying the confused look on his face. ‘Let’s get to Friendz, I’ll book one of their inner rooms where we can sit and talk.’
Fifteen minutes later
Friendz Eatery, Ajase Ipo Road, Ilorin.
Garuba and Inspector Kehinde sat opposite each other at a table, inside the management office. They discussed in the room with no one else present while the normal activities went on at the eating areas of the restaurant.
‘Kehinde… Samantha Osman was in my home last night, I mean around two am this morning.’ Garuba began. The Inspector drew back with a shocked expression on his face, he narrowed his gaze at Garuba’s face doubting if the man knew what he was talking about.
‘She entered into the house at midnight with my drunk son and came to talk to me in my room. My wife was there with me but didn’t who she was,’ Garuba explained.
‘She came to talk to you? I don’t understand,’ the Inspector questioned.
‘Yes, she came for a document and left after I gave it to her.’
‘Ah!’ the Inspector exclaimed with his mouth agape for a moment. ‘But why didn’t you inform the police about this sir?’
‘She advised me not to involve the police but that’s why I’m informing you because I’m sure it won’t go beyond you and I.’
‘Sir, I don’t still understand this whole thing. Can you make me understand better?’
‘She came peacefully without hurting anyone and she said she wasn’t willing to hurt anyone, all she wanted were the documents.’
‘What documents did she take with her?’
‘The documents are the main thing,’ Garuba said and paused to look around for a moment, to ensure that no one was listening or watching them. ‘These documents were signed more than ten years ago, they’re documents incriminating the Vice President. They’re proofs of the illegal deals his pharmaceutical company carried out when he was the deputy governor of Lagos State.’
‘But how come these documents are with you?’
‘I got them while I was in service, I was the Inspector in charge of the case. I had to keep them with me to avoid having them taken and destroyed. Our judiciary system was in a mess then, you only needed to have money and power then and you’d be free from any charges leveled against you, there’ll always be a way to render the proofs against you useless.’
‘But what did she need these documents for and how did she know they were with you?’
‘She needs them against Vice President Elvis Richards, it’s no secret that she’s been trying to take his life, but now, I’m beginning to believe she’s fighting him for a good cause.’
‘She’s killed several people, you don’t fight a good cause illegally.’ Inspector Kehinde retorted, with so much hatred for Samantha Osman in his voice.
‘Sadly sometimes, sacrifices have to be made. Some people lives have to go for a revolution to occur, some times a lot more have to die, that’s the sad truth.’
‘I don’t get the connection of those she killed with any good revolution, if any revolution is coming out of this, it’s a bad one.’ Inspector Kehinde argued.
‘Kenny, we have to be patient and watch but I believe something good may come out this at the end. I’m an investigator, I lived my life committed to the service, I had to resign when the criminal Rikau was made the Assistant Inspector General, I knew I would have to compromise if I stayed in the force. This morning, I saw those eyes; Samantha’s eyes.’ Garuba paused for a moment and the picture of Tarasha played in his memory again. He could see the colour of her eyes which wasn’t covered by the mask again. ‘I’m sure I would never suspect to be a killer if I met her on the street. I saw her expression when she went through the documents after I gave her. The person she’s really after is Elvis Richards and that is one man that we have to bring down if the country has to move forward, I believe that there are still more people hiding under him but starting with him will be a good one.’
‘In summary, you support Samantha Osman’s actions sir?’
‘No, I do not support her actions. I support what I perceive as the motive behind the action.’
‘Then can you explain her motive for killing Eze Okafor?’
‘She didn’t kill him. Eze Okafor was killed at midnight, Samantha Osman was with me at midnight. She got the information about the documents with me from Eze Okafor that morning when she attacked him, that was all she needed from him, there was no reason to kill him anymore. And besides, she couldn’t have been in Anambra and be in Kwara State at the same time.’
‘Hmm…’ Inspector Kehinde took in a deep breath and stared thoughtfully. He tried to draw out a meaning from all the man had told him but many more questions arose in his hearts. ‘Sir, you talked about the Vice President’s illegal deals…’
A loud crash sound interrupted their discussion and sounds of gunshots followed. The men quickly bent their heads below the table and the Inspector took out his gun. Something hit the entrance door of the room where they sat in, they could see it was a man’s back. And then a gunshot followed, the man’s blood splattered on the transparent glass at the upper part of the door. Another bullet hit the door and pierced through it. Someone moved close to the door and they could hear sounds of the dead body being dragged away. The door was kicked open.
…to be continued