Posted in Prose, Stories

THORNS IN MY BOOTS

CHAPTER 12

I sat in solitude as I smoked a wrap of Indian hemp; we called it Kpoli in Abakaliki Prison. I was outside the Cell at night but within the confines of the Prison Yard. I needed to think out the way forward in my life, I had been doing this for the past six days.

First of all, I do not have a Father, I do not have any sibling, and I do not have any known Cousin, Uncle or Aunt. I grew alone with my Mother, we hardly received Visitors except for those that seek to buy domestic Animals on non-market days that would come and ask my mother if she knew anyone that has to sell.

I did not visit anyone socially, even on boxing days when Children visit relations in the spirit of Christmas; I never participated for once in my life. My mother brought me up the hard way, she was scared of losing me, and I was always within her sight.

Eventually when I came of age I ventured to leave the Village to carve out my destiny and all these calamities are befalling me. Okay! Let’s say life is not a bed of roses, let’s say everyone has his or her own issues in life! I agree. They say the Rose flower also has thorns, but mine are merely thorns! All the flowers are withered. They say it is him that wears the shoe that knows where it pinches; I decided not to wear just a shoe but a Boot! But my Boot is full of thorns! It pinches me all over!

Joining the Army was not an easy feat to endure but I survived depot without a visit from any one for the whole nine months. Instead of staying in the Army and reap the fruit of my labour, here I am in Prison; borne out of my negligence! I have wasted almost four years of my life waiting for an elusive freedom. I do not know how much longer I would stay here.

Now, my Mother, my only relation, she was the reason I left home for Zaria, I wanted to prove my Village People wrong, I wanted to change the name of my family for good, I wanted to redeem our lost glory, I wanted Mama to be able to walk tall in the Village, I wanted to help change her life in the City so that when she returned home, tongues will wag and people will marvel at the transformation in her life. I wanted the constant frown that has left permanent lines on her forehead to be wiped off! I wanted her dimple to return to her face by putting a constant smile on her lips. I had it all planed out right from the day I entered the Army. Even though I was not an Army Officer, my earnings would have been enough for me and my mother. I had rented a Shop for her already and I had money set aside for her to start a business with, my trip to the village had started the magic of restoring our family’s dignity, I had plans to enroll in school and get a degree so as to apply for commissioning to the Officer cadre, or better still I resign and get a civil job, I had it all planned out!

My Mother has gone mad; some stupid Soldiers had lied to her and broken her heart.  She was called “iya oloju kan” in the Village, the Woman with a lone eye, I was the lone eye and now the supposed lone eye is plucked out! How would she see? She has gone blind! Her world has been plunged into pitch darkness completely! She now sees nothingness! Barrister Amaka said my Mother gazed at her but did not see her, I know my mother, she is just waiting for death to take her, if not for the fear of God, she would have gone to drown herself at the Osun River. She had always talked of committing suicide but for the consequence when she gets to heaven, she would have killed the two of us whenever things got so tight and we went without food for days.

Only if I could do something from here! My God! Why have thou forsaken me? Why is my own so different? Please God help my Mother, save her! If she dies, what becomes of me? What is the essence of all my aspirations? I will be likened to the lunatic on the street who has no family to be identified with. Even his biological relations point at him from a distance and shake their heads in shame at his plight.

I needed to see my Mother! If she sees me she will regain her senses, I was positive about that. I only need to cuddle her and keep her close to me and gradually she will be well, it may not be instantly, but she will eventually recover if we stay together, I know what to say to her, I know her favourite songs, I will sing them to her, I know she loved to watch me dance, I will always dance for her, I will sit her down and plait her hair, I used to plait her hair, I know the foods she loved, I will prepare them for her and feed her like my baby. Oh mama mi.

But I am in prison, even if she is brought here to see me, I can only embrace her, I would not be able to keep her close, wont her condition become worse if she is brought here and taken away? The moment she sets her eyes on me, would she let go? She would go berserk if she comes here to see me and after ten minutes I am ushered back to my cell, away from her. Whatever string that is still holding her between sanity and total insanity would snap!

The other person that seems to affect me somehow now is Barrister Amaka. I do not really understand how or where to place her. She is supposed to be a paid legal consultant to me but she has gone beyond that! The way and manner she is taking my case called for concern because she had not even requested that I paid for all the cost she had incurred so far. She had dug up much about Mr. Chike, she had gone to my home town to see my mother, and she had visited the Army Barracks to collect my Cheque book. All these moves cost money yet I have only paid her for the initial consulting fee. I hope I would be able to pay up when she eventually gives me her bill. I have a lot of money saved up now though lately I have stopped saving after the news of my mother’s health got to me.

To tell myself the truth, I secretly wished this Barrister was not so high in status! Imagine the daughter of a senior advocate of the federal republic of Nigeria! The daughter of a magistrate Court Judge, handling my case! How on earth could I have come in contact with her in normal life? But she is so unassuming and down to earth. She does not treat me with disrespect and there is no iota of pride or arrogance in her. She even had to shed tears with me the other day when I was crying and begging her to help me because of my poor mother; she also lost the spark in her eyes when she wanted to tell me about my mother’s present state of health. She knew it would break my heart and she was not happy being the harbinger of such news to me. She has got a good heart.

I was on the third wrap of kpoli when Oga Inside came to join me; he sat quietly starring at me as I dragged on my kpoli, I was in another realm and my brain cells were charged and running errands. I looked at him and offered him the Indian hemp, he collected it and took two long drags, he allowed the smoke to run errands in his system before exhaling thick smoke which he directed to my face, we were communicating, I got the message; we laughed out loud together.

We finished smoking the parcel together in silence before Oga Inside broke the silence.

Ojo I want to talk to you! He had said.

Oga mi, talk! I dey listen. I said.

This Indian hemp wey you don start to dey smoke everyday now no good o! I sabi say you be Soja before you come here and Kpoli no be new thing for a Soja, but I no sabi say you dey smoke am well -well like this nah!

Oga inside! I interrupted; life don tire me I beg! I just tire for everything!

Hmm,I understand your situation Ojo, he said; this na my twenty three years for this Prisons work and I don serve for eight different Prisons all over Nigeria so my eyes don see plenty! Your case no be the worst o! At all, at all! In fact your case better pass plenty People own. No be People dey for CC cell? Thank your God say you still get hope of leaving here someday. Thank God say you get sound health, you dey fit to eat and drink, you dey even smoke Kpoli! Old boy! I don see cases wey worse pass your own well -well! You wey dey inside Prison and you still dey do business, you dey complain!

Oga Inside! I interrupted; wetin be the importance of the money wey I dey make when my Mama, the only Person wey I get for life don kolo? What is the use? I asked.

The use be say, you still fit use that money to cure her and take care of her! He said; but if you use your money to smoke Kpoli finish, how you go take carter for your mama medical needs? How you go take settle your Lawyer? Even me wey I dey here with you, you think say na because I like you? I go run from you I swear!

You mean am? I asked him.

Before nko? He asked; no be quarrel me and you dey always quarrel before? Abi you don forget? The reason I dey close to you na because you dey settle me o! If not, wetin go make Warder and Prisoner sidon together dey share Kpoli smoke? Look! You better wise up o! Stop this yeye habit wey you want to start now before you ruin yourself! Kpoli dey very expensive inside Prison and at the rate you are going, you go smoke your money finish then your eyes go clear! By that time, your case go bad pass your mama own sef!

And that Barrister of yours! He said; he be like say she like you! The way she dey carry your matter put for head dey make me to wonder whether no be me connect her to you again!

Wetin you mean Oga? I asked

Just be careful not to hurt her or disappoint her by misbehaving or giving up all hope, let her continue to see the drive and desire to survive in you. Stop burning your money on Kpoli! Don’t emulate these Politicians here! These Guys have chains of businesses churning out money for them outside the walls of these Prisons and abroad. The only source of income you have now is the illegal trade you are indulged in here, and remember that no be everybody like you! Some people dey jealous you already if you must know! But no be everything I go dey tell you! The fact that you are doing business in the Prison does not mean that it is legal and allowed! It is illegal! But we just look the other way, and for your information, the day our Oga or external inspectors will come here and they happen to find out, all of us including me will deny you three times before the Cock crows! So make your money while you can and stop squandering it, because nothing lasts forever!

Before we parted ways that night, we agreed that he contact my Lawyer and together they should see that my Mother is brought to a Psychiatric Hospital in Abakaliki. From then we shall know the way forward.

I will forever be grateful to Oga Inside for our discussion that night.

Oga Inside did not embezzle my money, he had used up some of it for family issues but he promised to pay back. The balance of eight thousand naira with him he had deposited into my Bank account, he brought back the deposit slip to me for keepsIMG_20180312_222652

Posted in Prose, Stories

INNOCENT VICTIM

She was only thirteen,

Yet she cheerfully helped her mum in their little canteen,

She looked pale, scrawny, fragile and thin,

And from her look you would doubt she was already a teen,

 

She was full of Life,

Even when working or chopping with a knife,

Her nights were usually filled with worry and strife,

Yet she constantly dreamt that one day she will be a wife,

 

It was time for her usual afternoon hawking,

Rice and beans at noon she was usually selling,

Through the streets and market she was always plying,

Just to help with the burden her mother alone was carrying,

 

Suddenly she heard a frightful loud bang,

A surge of pain like the strike of a cobra’s fang,

Her whole body seared and writhed with great pang,

While from a distance an unattended cell phone continuously rang,

 

All around her corpses scattered about lying,

It was hard to breath but yet she was trying,

She was cold and numb and also crying,

And she knew right there that she was slowly dying,

 

She clutched to her bleeding side as she lay down,

Dust and blood covered her brightly coloured gown,

Her soul quietly slipping free and totally unbound,

As she relived fond memories of her beloved home town,

 

You might wonder why I haven’t yet named her,

Well that’s cos she could be anyone’s sister,

Maybe Aisha, Nnenna, Funke or Deborah,

But the painful fact is that she is now gone forever,

 

And just like an abruptly ended dream,

Her whole ambitions and desires were trimmed,

By our fellows wielding arms with utmost grim,

While all I could utter was a loud silent scream.

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

MAYHEM

We heard the news and also in the papers we read,

How people went about in search of their daily bread,

Unknown to them that in the path they thread,

Laid a fellow who was about to strike a hundred with dread,

 

And just like clock work they struck again,

A gigantic conflagration as though fueled by propane,

Our innocent brothers and sisters were decimated and slain,

and the sight they left can cause instant migraine,

 

Not too far away a similar scene is replicated with utmost impunity,

Our supposed leaders looting our treasuries at every opportunity,

Not minding the consequences on their own names and dignity,

And the ripple effect dealt on our security and unity,

 

Reproduction of corruption is now the portion of our nation,

Our leaders go about smearing greed all over like lotion,

They hinder and inhibit our economy’s once agile motion,

And this results in the drain and dearth of our joyful emotion,

 

Our misguided armed cowards, 234 girls from Chibok they took,

We have searched from Sambisa to Cameroon through every cranny and nook,

And when we turned to our leaders their pathetic heads they shook,

While all nations of the world to Nigeria they look,

 

Its now a battle of who can loot more resources to corpses,

Money missing in billions as if perpetrated by diabolic forces,

Yet we are busy raining down insults and constantly shouting curses,

While our ill minded cowards cum leaders are enjoying lavish resorts and expensive cruises,

 

But I still have bright and glistening hope,

And so I will not just sit by and mope,

But rather pray that as in darkness in the day these ones will grope,

While a glorious future of our great nation we will build and deliver like an anticipated envelope.

Posted in Prose, Stories

DRILL A NAIL IN MY HEAD…2

Ntu! Nail! I whispered

Nail? Which nail? Nneoma asked.

Akuwara nwatakiri ntu n’isi! Chai! Chineke! I said.

Long nail, I whispered they drilled a long nail into a girls head! They say she should confess that she is a witch!

Chineke! Nneoma screamed before covering her mouthy. We are still in the hospital

Nne! We need to start planning your redeployment from this community! I said.

I saw a lot of children on the floor in chains, they looked unhealthy and were in pains. They all looked hungry and unkempt with sunken teary eyes and big heads. I then sat on the front row to observe proceedings.

One after the other the Prophet’s assistants brought each child to the front of the Alter and they began to flog the child with horse whip! These children are less than five years old! What does a five year old baby knows Nne?

Confess! Confess! They were telling the children as they brutalized them! Who killed your grandmother? Who killed your uncle? They asked the Child! Who killed your mother? Who did this? Who did that? How many people have you bewitched? How many people have you killed? Who caused the stampede that killed fifteen people at the stadium? Who wrecked your mothers business? Who inflicted your Aunty with cancer?

Stupid! Stupid questions they were asking those kids while peeling off their skin with koboko!

Nne! I could not contain what I was seeing. I was standing and seating as if I was the one being flogged. I was screaming with the children. I sat on the floor and got up. I was restless!

The lucky children were those that readily accepted to be withes and wizards and said yes to every question asked. Those were prayed for and the evil spirit exorcised after giving them certain concoction to drink and taken to a separate spot where they fall asleep.

The unlucky innocent Kids who did not admit to being  witches or wizards where tortured until they passed out. Some actually became very limp and they were wrapped in black cotton and taken outside to be buried in shallow graves!

Nne! Immediately we leave here I am going to the police headquarter to file a complaint! This cannot go on!

The one that killed me was the case of a girl of about eight years old who was termed to be the most stubborn. Her parents had been killed in a fatal motor accident and she had refused to accept that she was the witch responsible for their deaths. So they plucked an electric stove in a socket by the Alter and when it was red hot, they stripped her of her clothes and held her face down. The prophet then unplugged the stove and pressed the red surface on this girls buttocks and her back! Nne! I did not know which was louder! My scream or the girls. She screamed until she passed out. The hall was smelling like where suya is being prepared.

When I saw that she was unconscious, I ran towards her to help but I was restrained by some heavily built men that wore black on black. They were sitting at the back of the church so I did not notice them earlier. They warned me to behave properly and reminded me of what is written beneath the statute of Jesus on the Alter.

These Children cannot be witches! I cried. It’s not possible!

Are you a stranger here? One of the stout men asked me.

Of course yes! I replied. Can’t you see I am a Corper?

But we have Corpers here too nah. None of them would behave like this. Look! If these children deal with you ehn? You will understand why their family brought them here for deliverance.

My God! Is this deliverance? I asked no one in particular as I sought for answers in the faces of the few adults present in the church but no one seem to notice me. None of them even flinched at the treatment these children were receiving.

While I was still complaining, they brought another girl forward, a girl of about five. The girl’s mother was brought forward on a wheel chair, she had been undergoing treatment in the church because they brought her from another room adjacent to the Alter. When they opened the door to that room, I saw people lying on mattresses. Then the door was immediately shut.

It was evident that this woman was suffering from breast cancer because of the obvious symptoms all over her. Her chest was bare showing a decomposing breast smeared with substance supposed to be medicine. Her hair was falling off and only few strands still remained, her skin was tight and scaly. She needed to have been in a hospital and not here! They pushed the woman to the center of the church and brought the scared girl close to her.

Who did this to your mother? Prophet asked the girl. Confess now! Confess!

The little girl started to cry calling Mummy! Mummy! Stretching forth her hands to her sick mother but the mother shrunk from the little girl and spat on her face. Mummy! Mummy! The little girl cried as the Prophet assistants grabbed her and began to flog her all over. Her clothes were pulled off. The prophet again unplugged the stove and began to jab the girl with it all over her body. My bladder gave way, my stomach became crampy and I began to vomit, what came out of my mouth tasted so bitter and it was slimy. I had not eaten. The macho men in black quickly pushed me out of the church so I could clean up. I saw a Tap near the fence so I went there to wash up.

After washing up I stood outside thinking, I was confused as though I was in a dream. It was then I heard the sound of hammer on nail followed immediately by the most horrifying scream I have ever heard in life. I rushed into the church again only to see the prophet chanting incantations and hitting a long nail into the head of this five year old girl who was held down the prophet’s assistance! I held my head and fell, I felt as if it was my head that was being nailed. That is all I can remember Nneoma.

 

 

THE END………This is still going on in some communities in Nigeria!

Posted in Prose, Stories

DRILL A NAIL IN MY HEAD 2

Ntu! Nail! I whispered

Nail? Which nail? Nneoma asked.

Akuwara nwatakiri ntu n’isi! Chai! Chineke! I said.

Long nail, I whispered they drilled a long nail into a girls head! They say she should confess that she is a witch!

Chineke! Nneoma screamed before covering her mouthy. We are still in the hospital

Nne! We need to start planning your redeployment from this community! I said.

I saw a lot of children on the floor in chains, they looked unhealthy and were in pains. They all looked hungry and unkempt with sunken teary eyes and big heads. I then sat on the front row to observe proceedings.

One after the other the Prophet’s assistants brought each child to the front of the Alter and they began to flog the child with horse whip! These children are less than five years old! What does a five year old baby knows Nne?

Confess! Confess! They were telling the children as they brutalized them! Who killed your grandmother? Who killed your uncle? They asked the Child! Who killed your mother? Who did this? Who did that? How many people have you bewitched? How many people have you killed? Who caused the stampede that killed fifteen people at the stadium? Who wrecked your mothers business? Who inflicted your Aunty with cancer?

Stupid! Stupid questions they were asking those kids while peeling off their skin with koboko!

Nne! I could not contain what I was seeing. I was standing and seating as if I was the one being flogged. I was screaming with the children. I sat on the floor and got up. I was restless!

The lucky children were those that readily accepted to be withes and wizards and said yes to every question asked. Those were prayed for and the evil spirit exorcised after giving them certain concoction to drink and taken to a separate spot where they fall asleep.

The unlucky innocent Kids who did not admit to being  witches or wizards where tortured until they passed out. Some actually became very limp and they were wrapped in black cotton and taken outside to be buried in shallow graves!

Nne! Immediately we leave here I am going to the police headquarter to file a complaint! This cannot go on!

The one that killed me was the case of a girl of about eight years old who was termed to be the most stubborn. Her parents had been killed in a fatal motor accident and she had refused to accept that she was the witch responsible for their deaths. So they plucked an electric stove in a socket by the Alter and when it was red hot, they stripped her of her clothes and held her face down. The prophet then unplugged the stove and pressed the red surface on this girls buttocks and her back! Nne! I did not know which was louder! My scream or the girls. She screamed until she passed out. The hall was smelling like where suya is being prepared.

When I saw that she was unconscious, I ran towards her to help but I was restrained by some heavily built men that wore black on black. They were sitting at the back of the church so I did not notice them earlier. They warned me to behave properly and reminded me of what is written beneath the statute of Jesus on the Alter.

These Children cannot be witches! I cried. It’s not possible!

Are you a stranger here? One of the stout men asked me.

Of course yes! I replied. Can’t you see I am a Corper?

But we have Corpers here too nah. None of them would behave like this. Look! If these children deal with you ehn? You will understand why their family brought them here for deliverance.

My God! Is this deliverance? I asked no one in particular as I sought for answers in the faces of the few adults present in the church but no one seem to notice me. None of them even flinched at the treatment these children were receiving.

While I was still complaining, they brought another girl forward, a girl of about five. The girl’s mother was brought forward on a wheel chair, she had been undergoing treatment in the church because they brought her from another room adjacent to the Alter. When they opened the door to that room, I saw people lying on mattresses. Then the door was immediately shut.

It was evident that this woman was suffering from breast cancer because of the obvious symptoms all over her. Her chest was bare showing a decomposing breast smeared with substance supposed to be medicine. Her hair was falling off and only few strands still remained, her skin was tight and scaly. She needed to have been in a hospital and not here! They pushed the woman to the center of the church and brought the scared girl close to her.

Who did this to your mother? Prophet asked the girl. Confess now! Confess!

The little girl started to cry calling Mummy! Mummy! Stretching forth her hands to her sick mother but the mother shrunk from the little girl and spat on her face. Mummy! Mummy! The little girl cried as the Prophet assistants grabbed her and began to flog her all over. Her clothes were pulled off. The prophet again unplugged the stove and began to jab the girl with it all over her body. My bladder gave way, my stomach became crampy and I began to vomit, what came out of my mouth tasted so bitter and it was slimy. I had not eaten. The macho men in black quickly pushed me out of the church so I could clean up. I saw a Tap near the fence so I went there to wash up.

After washing up I stood outside thinking, I was confused as though I was in a dream. It was then I heard the sound of hammer on nail followed immediately by the most horrifying scream I have ever heard in life. I rushed into the church again only to see the prophet chanting incantations and hitting a long nail into the head of this five year old girl who was held down the prophet’s assistance! I held my head and fell, I felt as if it was my head that was being nailed. That is all I can remember Nneoma.

 

 

THE END………This is still going on in some communities in Nigeria!

Posted in Prose, Stories

DRILL A NAIL IN MY HEAD

Cladded in my NYSC uniform, I alighted from the AKTC shuttle bus that I boarded from Aba to Uyo. The journey has been an unnecessary long one because of the terrible state of the express road. A journey that ordinarily would have taken forty five minutes ended up gulping three and a half hour of my time

Azumili axis was simply impassable! The road had turned into a dirty brown muddy lake at a spot stretching over the length of six poles. This is the only link road between Abia and Akwa Ibom states. It is a Trunk ‘A’ road, A federal road, so it is the responsibility of FERMA to repair it.

Some states with similar road situations have long fixed theirs using the state allocation from the federal government and have been reimbursed by the federal government. Those Governors have the people’s interest at heart. They are smart governors as the road helped improve economic activities between their states while keeping her Citizens alive and safe as well. We had to be veering into villages in and out as we forged towards Uyo. Many of the locals have erected illegal road blocks and were collecting Tolls from motorists for passing through their Villages. Even though economic activities have boosted in these villages as Children and mothers with babies strapped behind rush at vehicles with wares for sale. Fruits and snacks were on display. Yet the youth were still collecting Tolls from the drivers amidst harassment and threats. The consequence of not paying up is the puncture of your tyres or the breakage of your side mirror.

Our driver paid two hundred naira each at about nine road blocks before we got to Uyo Park.

I entered another municipal bus headed for Nkanafot in Ikot Abasi LGA. My Fiancée has invited me over. We are both youth Corpers serving the nation, having graduated together as class mates form UNIZIK Awka. She said I needed to come and witness something strange happening in the Village where is carrying out her primary assignment. She refused to tell me the details on phone. It is better witnessed than told, she had said. So I decided to visit her on a Saturday. My own primary assignment is at NB Plc Aba. I do not work on weekends.

She was waiting for me at the park when the bus stopped and I got down. The conductor closed the door and the bus was moving when I remembered.

Hey! Where my change? I ran after the bus hitting the door with my hands. The bus stopped.

You no go give me my change? I asked the conductor, I was already panting.

Is that why you are hitting the motor like that? The Driver fired from behind the wheels.

Give me my change biko! If I hit the motor nko? Na you hand go pain or na me? Or the motor complain? Give me my change biko!

Ol boy give am him change nah! The driver fired at the conductor who was searching through rustled naira notes he brought out from his pocket.

Do quick nah! The angry driver charged at the conductor! I go go o!

Go where? I challenged as I grabbed the conductor by the collar of his shirt, the Bus began to roll forward and I jugged along.

Bia! Driver! No wound me o! No wound me o! If I wound, I no go gree o!

The conductor threw a note at me and I let go of his shirt and the driver zoomed off. I picked the two hundred naira note on the floor and went back to meet Nneoma.

I slung my nap sack behind my back and pocketed my balance. Nneoma was putting on a light blue tight jeans and a pink blouse. It’s been four months we saw each other last. That was when we went to collect our NYSC call up letter at school. She looked a little pale and slimmer. She looked more mature though, those puffy cheeks of hers are deflated and her eyes have lost its sheen. I could tell she was not happy here.

 

Nne kedu k’ime? I asked as we hugged. She simply buried her face on my chest and held me tight. She began to sob quietly.

I can’t continue this NYSC here! She said over and over. I am losing my mind, I think I am going crazy!

Hian! Ngwa lets go to your house and talk it over. O? We shall talk when we get there. So I pulled out my handkerchief and wiped her tears, then we held hands as she led the way to the school compound. The school where she teaches has a quarter for youth corps teachers.As we trudged along, there were calls of Aunty! Aunty! Corper! Corper! From every corner of the village by her students and their parents while she acknowledged their greetings waving and greeting.

It is a female secondary school, only the Corps members live within the premise that is fenced with twelve feet high brick walled fence with barb wire. The entrance gate is a see through manned day and night by an ex-soldier, a queer character that salutes “Morning sir” in the day or night. He walks about with a hockey stick soliloquizing and sometimes shooting at imaginary enemies with his hockey stick.

He interrogated me in the military pattern and then Nneoma told him I was her husband.

Sai! Aunty so you don marry sef? You for don tell me since na! Sorry sir! He saluted. Welcome to our town, hope say you bring better come o! Because for this we village, we no dey see bread chop!

No wahala sir, I said. After come for house come collect am nah!

Shun sir! I trust Aunty Husband! I believe you sir!

Kakakakaka! Kikikikiki! Advance party! Advance party! Fire! Fire! He screams intermittently docking and running. When he is exhausted, he begins to laugh as he dusts himself up with his hands.

Sai! Mma Abasi! War no be better thing o! He would say with a heavy Ibibio accent. Most People avoided him, and then he started marching and singing ‘I remember when I was a soldier’. That is Oga Okon’s preoccupation in the day,

At exactly 8.00PM when Nneoma and I were set to eat dinner, Oga Okon visited. Nneoma served him a plate of steaming jollof rice with chicken.

Sai! This na fowl meat o! Aunty you no get 404 meat for your pot? He asked as he gnawed at the chicken lap hungrily.

Oga Okon! You don start o! Return my chicken if you no want I beg! Nneoma countered. How many times I go tell you say I no dey eat dog meat!

Sai! Mm’Abasi! Aunty you dey miss p! If you begin chop 404 ehn? Your bodi go begin dey fresh like mami water own!

Ehn leave me! I like my body as e be! You, wey dey chop dog, why your bodi no fresh like mami water own? Nneoma asked

 

Na because I be man nah! I be papi water! Papi water no dey fresh, na strong e dey strong!

I could not control my laughter. I had been suppressing it but when I heard him say Papi water, I let go! I laughed uncontrollably.

Uncle, what of you? You dey chop 404? Oga Okon asked

No o! I no day chop dog o! I replied

Sai! Mbok! Make una repent o! Make una repent! He dug into the food and gnawed away humming as he ate.

Oga Okon did not leave Nneoma’s house until after 11,00PM. We were outside the veranda talking, Nneoma left us and went to sleep at 9.00PM. I did not know how to disengage Oga Okon as one story naturally led to another, I later realized I was the cause. I was showing interest and asking questions. He was telling stories of his escapades during the Nigerian civil war of 1967 to 1970.

Uncle go sleep! Good night! I opened my eyes to see Oga Okon walking away eventually. That was 11.45PM.

 

I sprang up and looked outside the window, I t was still dark outside. I picked up my phone from the floor, it was after 4.00AM. I dropped the phone. It must have been a dream. As I was drifting back to sleep, another shrieking sound pierced through the silent dark. I sat up in bed, the screams continued, it belonged to different voices, surely not adult voices but children or teenagers.

Wake up! Nne wake up! I tapped Nneoma.

Daddy go back to sleep! She said as she pulled me backwards

Go back to which sleep? I asked. I was terrified. Did you not hear those screams Nneoma? Nne wake up nah! Something is happening around here!

Then I heard sound of something being pounded coupled with shrieks.

Nne what is happening? I asked.

Tomorrow is Sunday; you will use your eyes to see what I have been trying to tell you all this while. You have only heard screams, she said. Don’t worry you will soon see screams.

But I am scared Nne, I can’t sleep like this.

My dear sleep o! Not after your stressful journey from Aba and your lecture with Oga Okon!

Okay, what is making that noise? I asked.

Behind the school fence is a Ministry headed by one Prophet Akpangbo. He cast out demons from witches and wizards. Don’t worry dear, sleep. When the day is bright, you will attend morning service there.

Me? What about you? I asked.

You know I am a catholic, I don’t worship in other churches.

Muwa kwanu? Am I not a catholic? I asked

I just want you to there and see what is happening in this community the Government sent me to. She said.

She fell asleep afterwards but I could not sleep any longer. The screams and sound of torture continued. I could not even touch Nneoma when it was 6.00AM. it’s been four moths that we saw each other, I had rehearsed how I would devour her when I get to Nkanafor but I was exhausted and I thought maybe after a little rest, I would make my move. Oga Okon came with his own wahala. Now after resting reasonably, this screaming thing has come up. How can I mount my woman with Children voices screaming in the back ground? Quite unimaginable.

I started to sleep at about 7.00AM. Nneoma woke me up and it was after 9.00AM by my phone.

Daddy wake up! Eat your food and freshen up. I have put water for you in the bath room and your food is on the reading table. I am going to church to be back before twelve.

Ngwa nu! Pray for us o! I said.

Twenty minutes after, I got up from the bed and picked up my phone. It was 10.30AM. I cannot describe the noise that filled the air. Sounds of local drumming, gongs clanging and bells ringing. Creams of Jesus! Jesus! Rented the air! The cries of people in pain, Kids voices. The voices I was hearing were definitely those of Children so I got into my NYSC trouser and put on my NYSC Polo shirt. I hurriedly brushed my teeth in the bathroom and splashed water on my face. I slipped into Nneoma’s slippers, feminine though but who cares as I proceeded to the school gate.

Oga Okon was absent from his post so the gate was locked but the pedestrian gate was simply closed. I opened the gate and followed the sound as it took me round the school fence.

 

The church is situated on a hectare of land. The concrete block fence is just four blocks high and the building is situated at the center of the vast land, as I approached the entrance I saw some men closing up a hole, a hole like a shallow grave that has just been used to bury something as I could see some form of clothing materials sprouting out of the hole as they yanked sands into it. I was staring at them until they stopped their activity and started looking at me curiously.

Na wetin? One of them asked. You no go mind your business dey go where you dey go?

I looked forward, towards the building and continued my movement so they continued their work, about three meters away from them; two men with spades were digging a hole.

The noise increased as I approached the church building, I entered the make shift caricature of a gate. The gate was not necessary as anyone could simply climb over the low fence into the premises. The gate should be for those who came with cars.

As I got inside I deduced that it was not really a proper church as I had envisioned. As I entered through the back door, I saw about twenty white plastic chairs, ten aside left and right flanks with a walk way at the middle. After the arranged chairs the floor is open and spacious before getting to a raised platform that should be the Alter because of the marble design and the pulpit. High on the wall is a huge portrait of our lord Jesus Christ on a cross. His feet and palms bleeding as he looked down on us with thorns as crown on his head. The portrait was graphic and looked so surreal.

Written in bold red letters beneath the huge portrait is the inscription “Suffer not a witch to live” The Pulpit is adorned with red and white ribbons and the walls around the Alter is designed with same colours.  Then on a door that is closed and painted white is written “Holies of Holies” in bold red letters and beneath this inscription is a sticker of the danger insignia. A skull with two bones.

Prophet Akpamgbo is robbed in pure white satin sultane with red girdle, he holds a staff that is four feet long. He is ably assisted by two men who wore white sultane also but with blue girdles. The trio is heavily bearded that you would not see their lips. On the spacious floor before the Alter are children below the age of ten, about seventy children sprawled on the floor with chains on their legs. All their heads were clean shaven exposing deep cuts from sharp objects. Some cuts were healing but most are still oozing fresh blood while some looked visibly infected. I took an empty seat at the front row of chairs and sat with my chest thumping.

 

I heard faint sounds from afar, as the sound drew nearer I could decipher NNeoma’s voice distinctively from others. I felt giddy as in a sub conscious state so I tried to mentally articulate my environment. The air smelled of ethanol like in a clinic so I willed myself to wake up. As I opened my eyes I saw nurses roaming about in their resplendent white gowns.

He’s back! He’s back! Hey! Corper go back! I heard a nurse say as they hover around me opening my eyes and pointing miniature lighting device to my eyes.

Daddy! Daddy! Clement! It was Nneoma calling me.

Ogini? I asked. Kedu ebe nno? Where am I please?

I no na hospital! She replied above the heads of the nurses. Uni-Uyo teaching hospital k’ ino!

Maka gini zi? I asked.

The Doctor came and examined me, he checked my eyes my pulse.

I think I am okay! I said. Kedu ka m si  ru ebe a? I asked no one in particular.

Nneoma came closer and held my hand. When I returned from the church I did not see you at home, I saw that you had not even eaten the food that I prepared for you so I went to Oga Okon to enquire of your where about. He said he had not seen you but that someone had left the gate open.

I guessed you might have gone to unravel the mystery behind the noise of the night as that was typical of you so I told Oga Okon to go and check for you at the ministry.

Barely ten minutes that he left, he came back with you lying at the back seat of the prophet’s car, they said you fainted! They said they revived you by pouring water on your head and you woke up but as you lay your eyes on the Prophets face again you screamed and fainted again, that was when Oga Okon entered the church and he insisted that they took you to a hospital. Today is your second day here now, Daddy what happened biko?

The memory came flooding back! I screamed again as I held my head, I felt for a hole at the centre of my head but there was none. But I started hearing the sound of hammer hitting a nail. I had to cover my ears with both hand, I pulled the sheets on the bed over my head as I cringed away to the edge of the bed. My head! My head!

I ended up spending one month at the psychiatric wing of the hospital. The colours white and red affected me whenever I saw them. It was after a month without progress that a Doctor suggested that they took me to his private clinic in Calabar where I would be shielded from seeing such colours until I was fully sane again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

RUGGED KUMALO Chapter 7

KUMALO COVER

 

CHAPTER 7

FORCE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OFFICE

Superintendent of police, Sunday Onche was summoned by the commissioner of Police Mr. Frank Ahindero. Ahindero was the sleeping patient whose clothes and Wallet Kumalo had Stolen at the hospital .

He sat on the executive brown leather swivel chair in his office. Behind him up on the wall hung his portrait, that of the executive governor of Enugu state and that of president Good luck Ebele Jonathan smiling as usual. The smiling face of the president was the only friendly thing in the office, so SP focused his attention on it as the CP accused him of everything.

“What are you telling me? What are you and your team telling me SP”? The commissioner of Police asked furiously banging his fist on the large sparkling mahogany table in front of him. The picture of his wife and children displayed on the table tripped over, he returned it to position. “This is gross negligence on duty! It is gross incompetence”! “The officer that should be on night guard at that hospital should be arrested and locked up immediately”!

“That has been done already”! The SP said quickly.

“He should be charged! He should be dismissed and jailed for corroborating with a criminal to escape”! The CP fired on. “I am very sure he knows about the boy’s escape! How can a sick boy un-cuff himself, steal my clothes and my wallet and then knock out a man twice his size before escaping? How can? Is he a wizard”? CP asked. SP was staring at Jonathan.

“I simply went to take a rest at the hospital because my BP was high”. “I could not go home because my Kids are on holiday and my house was full”, the Kids brought their friends home to spend the holidays!  CP explained. I woke up to realize my clothes were not on the table where I kept them, I sat up and looked around but only saw someone’s hospital clothes on the floor close to my bed. I opened the door and peeped out to see if any nurse would be on the corridor so I could get assistance, nothing! I then remembered I had put my phone by the pillow, it was still there so I called my orderly to bring some clothes for me at the hospital. I sat in the ward till 10.00AM before the stupid Orderly came around! 10.00AM! Can you imagine? I was supposed to have a telephone conference with the IG and other CP’s nationally at 8.00AM”! “I called John my Orderly at about 4.00AM, he lives in my compound! In my BQ! Yet it took the stupid recalcitrant, lousy! Oh! I don’t know what else to call him! It took him six hours to go to my house and collect my clothes from my people! The idiot said he forgot and fell asleep again! Can you beat that? I was trapped in the hospital wearing only my boxers without any money on me waiting for my own Orderly! SP my Orderly was sleeping in his house”! He banged his fist on the table again tripping the family portrait once again. He returned it to position and got up from his seat. SP stood at ease with his legs spread apart, arms behind his back as he focused on Jonathan.

He is a suspect! Since he likes to sleep, I have sent him to where he will get enough sleep. Nonsense! CP continued. SP Sunday Onche! You and your men are not on top of your game at all at all! I must say that I am highly disappointed in you and your team! And to say I recently endorsed your promotion, now see what I am getting! Its like this your new rank has made you to become lackadaisical!

No Sir! SP said quickly.

Go and put your house in order and get me my wallet! I have one hundred and fifty thousand naira in that wallet! I want my money! You are dismissed.

SP came too attention, saluted and marched out of the CP’s office. He smiled when he closed the door behind him and he took a deep breathe. But how will a wallet contain the sum of One hundred and fifty thousand naira? He pondered. That is a bundle and a half. Even if it were in the highest denomination of one thousand naira notes, a wallet can never taken more than half a bundle, in fact quarter of a bundle. CP lied on that one and he knew it. No wonder Jonathan kept smiling above his head. Jonathan must have heard a lot of lies in that office.

He knew better than argue with his Boss. He had to obey first before complaining, he had to obey the last order. The last order was to look for Kumalo and his wallet. How can the ID badge of a whole Commissioner of Police be in the hands of a wanted criminal?

He now understand what Peter was trying to tell him about the Egbesu Cult and their capabilities. How could just one injured man accomplish such a feat within so short a time? He stole from the CP, un-cuffed himself and knocked out a healthy male nurse twice his size and then he vanished into thin air, the stupid receptionist on duty said they saw something ran past! They said they were too busy. Lousy people! And how on earth would a police officer abandon his duty post and go home to sleep? The fact that that boy had his legs cuffed to the bed should make the officer on duty know the worth of such a suspect. He went home to sleep with his wife! Stupid officer! No problem, he will be dismissed definitely and he will have enough time for the wife. By the time he does not bring home money for the family upkeep after two months of eating up what ever he has as reserve then he will know the really meaning of the word House wife!

Those were the thoughts of SP Sunday Onche as he drove to the State criminal investigation department. He brought out his phone and dialed. “The two of you should meet me at the office right away”! He barked into the mouth piece and dropped the phone on the console.

 

WARRI

Bros Jato, the leader of the Egbesu cult is seated. With him are Kumalo, Ese, Kumalo’s girl friend and two gentle men on suit.

One of the men on suit was talking.

“As it is now, Okiemute need to go to the Police station to make a formal statement about his incarceration and eventual escape from the Police in the hospital at Enugu. He was held hostage illegally by the police because he committed no crime, rather an attempt was made on his life and his brother was killed in the process”. “Why was he chained to the bed? His life was even at risk when those boys attempted to kill him at the hospital yet what did the police do about it? His brother was murdered! His mother died in the process! Yet the police did not deem it fit to release him to come home! In fact we need to sue the police! We need to sue them”!

“Another thing we need to do now is to ensure that Okiemute remains here in Warri until the revenge mission at Enugu is accomplished. He needs to be close to the police here so that he will not be suspected for whatever happens in Enugu”.

“And how will he be kept close to the police here”? Jato asked.

“We will cause a little gbege at the station that will lead to his arrest”. “When we get there, the police will naturally threaten to arrest him for escaping from their custody in Enugu. At that instance, we sill start trouble which will lead to our arrest”.  Said the man on suit.

“But you are a lawyer! How will they arrest you”? Jato asked.

“That I am a lawyer does not give me the right to constitute nuisance at a police station”. “They will arrest me quite alright but they cannot beat me or keep me there more than necessary. They will release me because i am a lawyer but when ever Okiemute is released, we will cause another gbege that will send him inside again. We will keep doing this until the mission at Enugu has been executed”. All these should not exceed four days said Barrister Otioto.

“Bros e”! “Are you saying that i will not go to Enugu for the hit or what”? Kumalo asked.

“Which kind hit you dey talk about Kumalo”? Ese asked. “You well at all? Craze dey worry you”?

“Why you dey shout for me Ese”? Kumalo asked.

“Why I no go shout”? Ese fired back.

“Yes Okiemute! You cannot go for the hit! You are a wanted man in Enugu and the Police will naturally expect you to go for revenge, so if anything happens to those hawks now, you will be the primary suspect and they will hunt you down! You do not under estimate our police if they set out to work”! Barrister Otiotio explained.

“Okiemute please listen to the voice of reasoning I beg you”! Ese pleaded. “Please I beg you! Mama and brother Jumbo are dead! You are the only one in the family remaining”!

“No! I must be there”! Kumalo stood up. “How can you deny me the pleasure of taking revenge on the murderers of my brother”? “They cause the death of mama also! How can you do this to me bros”?

“Look Kumalo! They killed an Egbesu child! We are Egbesu! They killed our brother! Do you understand that”?

What of my mother that they led to an untimely death? Kumalo asked angrily.

She is the mother of two Egbesu Children! We are Egbesu! She is our mother not your mother alone so sit down there now and stop creating a scene here! If you shout here again i will blind your ear!  Sit down! Jato commanded.

Kumalo sat down grumbling. Ese wrapped her arms around his neck to console him but he flung her arms away angrily, leave me I beg! He shouted.

Barrister Otiotio continued.

Everything is in place now; we have Okiemute here hale and hearty. Jato! Send words to Rukewe in Enugu to execute plan A while we go to the police station with Okiemute now and file a formal statement. Oya guys lets go!

 

CAMPUS 3 IMT ENUGU

Rukewe, Sampson and Pastor came down from a Toyota Camry popularly called ‘pencil light’. Rukewe had parked the car close to the Bus stop Pavilion.

The trio dressed in uniform of red jeans, white T shirts and white berets, their eyes are covered with dark sun glasses and each lit up a stick of cigarette and started walking towards Nkutu-ume. The school’s joint.

Their appearance caught the attention of the other students going about their businesses on campus and pockets of people began to gather.  They moved from shop to shop looking for somebody. Many students ran away as they approached the shops while others cringed closer to the walls while hiding their faces.

The Egbesu trio were puffing out smoke from the cigarettes as they scanned the shops one after the other until they got to the shop where the Black Panther men were relaxing and discussing. Rukewe removed his glasses and looked at their faces very well.

Maxwell stood up abruptly. Na wetin dey happen here? Na who una be? He asked

Hey you! Pastor called. You no go sit down there now or you want winch to chop you? You dey craze? Why you dey show your self any how?

Sit down Max! Danladi advised. Sit down! Maxwell sat down.

Rekewe went to meet Danladi, he pulled an empty plastic chair closer and sat on it facing Danladi. Pastor and Sampson stood as sentries with legs spread apart and arms folded across their shoulders smoking. By now pockets of students had gathered at different angles watching the drama unfolding.

Rukewe picked up a pack of Benson and Hedges from the table in front of Danladi and brought out a stick from it. He removed a fire lighter from his breast pocket and lit the cigarette. Took a long drag on it and puffed the smoke in the face of Danladi.

Maxwell could not stomach the humiliation to his Boss as he charged towards Rukewe. Something intercepted and hit him hard on the fore head and he fell to the ground on his buttocks. He looked up and saw Sampson standing between him and Rukewe. Rukewe had not moved an inch. Maxwell got up again and charged towards Sampson but received another head butt that sent him down on his buttocks again.

Stay down Max! Danladi said. Don’t allow him to hit you a third time please. Danladi also remained seated as he pulled out a stick from the packet of Benson and Hedges also; he removed a stick, lit it and inhaled deeply before exhaling the smoke in the face of Rukewe.

Maxwell got up again and rushed towards Sampson with a right kick. Sampson swerved to the left side and allowed Maxwell’s foot to hit the ground before sending a flying head but to Maxwell’s face. Maxwell screamed as he went down on his buttocks for the third time.

My eyes! My eyes! He screamed as he crawled on all fours on the ground. His forehead had punctured and blood was dripping over his face.

“Wetin dey worry this your man”? Rukewe asked Danladi.

There were creams from the crowd. Pastor had not moved from his position. He was looking around the school environment from his standing position. Sampson picked up his Beret and his glasses from the ground and wore them then he went back to his sentry position while Max sat on his buttocks cleaning the blood from his face. Paschal the man ‘o’ war was starring at the trio with awe while the other Panthers sat in silence staring at Maxwell the hardest of them all.

Rukewe brought out his phone and showed to Danladi.

That’s my man! Rukewe said. Where is he?

Egbe! Danladi called. He is now a born again Christian! Danladi said.

I know! That’s why i need to see him; they need him in heaven right away! Rukewe said.

But you can’t hit a servant of God nah! Danladi pleaded. Meanwhile he is no longer number one, he had been dethroned.

I know! Stanley is number one now! Rukewe said. He is also on my list.

Well, he is always preaching at the bus stop there these days! Danladi said.

 

At that moment, Stanley, his ground lord, Emeka the number two and four other members of the Hawks confraternity ran into the Nkutu-ume arena with portable Axes. They have come to see what was happening in their school. They are the Hawks and they rule the campus so who could be pulling stunts in their school?

Who them be? Where them dey? The Hawks were asking aloud, brandishing their number 7.

Amici! Pastor shouted as he saw them from his standing position

Amici! Rukewe shouted as he jumped to his feet and joined Pastor

Amici! Sampson shouted as each of the trio picked up a bottle of coca cola and started marching towards Stanley and his men.

Stanley and his crew spread out as they saw the trio advancing dangerously with bottles in their hands. Danladi and his men got up and pulled Maxwell up and outside the Arena to a safe distance. There were screams everywhere as the school was witnessing an epic event.

Amici! Amici! Amici! The Egbesu boys were chanting as they charged towards the seven Hawks men.

There was no time or room for negotiation as the two group clashed. The Hawks men cut the Egbesu boys randomly with their Axes but nothing happened. The Egbesu kept chanting and fighting.

Emeka looked at the blade of his Axe after cutting Pastor severally when Pastor held on to his neck punching him in the stomach. He wanted to be sure that the blade was not blunt. It was that moment that Pastor hit him hard with the bottom of the coca cola bottle oh his head.

At this point that the music changed.

Igbokigbo! Igbikigbo! The Egbesu boys started to chant and jumped about, the whole school went on rampage with students running about screaming and girls crying while some bold ones were taking pictures and videoing the scene.

The bottle of coca cola which Pastor rang on Emeka’s head opened the head yet the bottle did not break. Emeka screamed as the Axe in his hands fell off. Pastor hit him hard across the face with the bottom of the bottle pulling off the whole front teeth, Emeka slumped. Pastor picked up the Axe that fell from Emeka and gave two quick blows to Emeka’s neck. A vain was cut and blood gushed out like from a slaughtered Christmas goat. Sampson was wrestling with another Hawk’s man, he gave him a head butt and the man fell on his buttocks but before he could stand up, Pastor was on him with the Axe chopping off his head. Rukewe was busy stabbing a Hawks man in the stomach when the sound of a gun went off. Stanley’s bull dog had barked. The bullets tore Rukewe’s T shirt. Rukewe turned around and the Bull dog barked again, Rukewe staggered back wards and dabbed off smoke from his shirt, he bent down and pulled out a pistol from his boot and fired at Stanley on the leg. Stanley screamed and fell down. He got up but fell again; Rukewe went closer and fired the other leg. Stanley screamed and fired at Rukewe three more times, he fired at Pastor and Sampson but the bullets did not harm them, the Egbesu boys were chanting Igbokigbo! Igbokigbo!

The remaining two Hawks men that were not lying on the ground fled limping with deep cuts. Stanley was left on the ground writing in pain. The Egbesu men picked up their Berets and wore their sun shades then they faced each other and started cutting with knife and bottles still chanting the Igbokigbo. Rukewe shot at Sampson with the gun, Sampson dabbed the smoke away and collected the gun from Rukewe to shoot at Pastor, Pastor vibrated and jumped higher chanting before collecting the gun to shoot at Rukewe, the school went agog, and students were hailing them shouting Igbokigbo.

The Trio marched back to the Car they had come with and zoomed off. The Car had no number plates.

 

Egbe had just arrived at the bus stop for his daily preaching when the clash happened. He witnessed what happened to his men but could not decipher where the men on white and red came from. He had hidden his face and kept his distance but from what he gathered from the students that witnessed everything from the beginning, the men in red and white are mercenaries imported by the Black Panthers. They had a meeting with the Panthers before attacking the Hawks.

 

 

Posted in Prose, Stories

RUGGED KUMALO- Chapter 6

KUMALO COVER

 

 

CHAPTER 6

 

NKUTU- UME CAMPUS 3

 

GUYS! Yawa don gas o! Stanley was addressing his Hench men. They are seated inside a Shop smoking cigarettes. The mood was pensive. It is still like a dream to me! It was like those guys were expecting us! We went to the hospital reception together and I pretended like I was a patient while Vicious and Dagger went to the receptionist to ask for Kumalo’s ward. The lady directed them to the room and while they were on their way, she quickly picked the phone and made a call. Before you knew it, four plain clothes police men brandishing pistols stormed the reception hall and the lady pointed towards the corridor that our men took. They said we are Egbesu Boys or something and they have been expecting them. They did not even allow the boys to talk as they started beating and Mal handling them. They took the boys upstairs to Kumalo’s room to ask if he knew them, but of course he wouldn’t know them, it will only confirm his fear that we are not done with him yet!

Stanley threw away a cigarette stud and lit another one. So they brought our boys back in hand cuffs kicking them out of the hospital into a stand by police Van! Stanley summarized.

And all this while you were there our men did not implicate you?  Emeka the number for man asked.

No! They did not even look at my face and I am grateful for that! Stanley said. Thank God that they did not implicate me because I had my bulldog with me!

Haba Stan! Emeka exclaimed. Old boy! Hell would have been let loose o!

So what do we do now?

Naturally they would be taken to the station for interrogation. If they are not released after twenty four hours, it means there is serious trouble which may lead to a court case! Stanley explained. None of us can go there to see them except an elderly person that can pass for their guardian or parent.

Then let us contact Mr Alozie, the HOD of statistics department. He is an XY. He can go there as a guardian to one of them. Emeka further suggested.

He is actually related to Dagger for real. He initiated Dagger himself during one of the end of year parties we held in his house three years ago. Stanley explained.

You mean am? Emeka asked.

Then that settles it! Another Hench man offered. Let’s go and tell him what has happened before things get out of hand. But Guy you get luck o! If to say those guys nab you with your dog ehn?

I know! No remind me again I beg! Stanley snapped. Meanwhile who don see Egbe?

Ol boy, no body don see that guy o! its like he dey dodge us. Emeka said.

Leave am! If I catch am eh? I go kpai am myself! He cause kasala keep for ground, he come disappear! Stanley said.

 

CAMPUS 3 BUS PARK

The park is busy with students boarding and alighting from shuttle buses and taxi cabs. The bus conductors are shouting the names of their destinations to attract passengers.

Abakpa! Abakpa!

Obiagwu! Obiagwu!

New haven! New Haven!

Campus 2! Campus2!

The list is endless, as most of the students live off campus. Students rush into the buses going along their way while some are still waiting for their destination to be called, others are waiting for the school bus to arrive, having bought two way tickets from Campus 2.

Former Lord Egbe alights from inside a shuttle bus with a big size Bible in one hand and a white handkerchief in another hand, he chose a vantage spot opposite the bust stop pavilion and he began to preach.

Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand! The soul that sinneth, shall die! He shouted.

“The bible says and I quote ‘come to me all ye that labour and are heavy laddened  and I will give you rest”!

“What does it profit a man to gain the world and loose his own soul in hell? I was formally in the world but now I am saved! Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was blind but now I see! Was weak but now I am strong! Glory to Lord God almighty! Glory halleluiah”!

He preached on while the students listened, those that knew him came together to gossip, making faces and gesticulating frantically. They did not know what to believe because two months ago when the revered Reverend Father Mbaka had come to the schools mini stadium to preach on cult renunciation and many students had come out to denounce cultism, Egbe was not one of them, in fact some hawks men would have gone out to confess their sins and repent on that day but for the fear of Egbe and Stanley that were present at the sermon. If either of the duo had gone out, many cultist would have gone out too because in the real sense of the word, most cultist are living in bondage.

They have no real freedom, they are living in fear of their own lords who are very dangerous, they are perpetually indebted to the cult because they pay semester dues and so many unexpected dues that keeps them perpetually broke, they live in fear of other cultist, they live in fear of the man ‘o’ war, they live in fear of the school authority and they live in fear of the police.

When ever there is an emergency on campus and the Police and Army joint tax force patrol team storms the school, all hard men are afraid, afraid of the unknown, they take cover when no one is looking for them, fear of the unknown.

The Buccaneers run for cover, the Axe men scamper, the Burkinafasso change their positions, the Juris men vanish like smoke, the Vikings regulates, the Blood brothers diffuse into thin air, the Campus pirates turn to chameleons, the Eiye boys fly away, the Ku Klux Klan extinguish their flames, the Mafites turns under cover.  The sinner, they say, runs when no man chase him. When the JTF might have gone, they will then come out from their various cocoons to ask the so called Jew men questions. “Na wetin those police dey find sef? Na who dem carry? Dem arrest any one”?

The Jew men stayed but the hard men ran. When the tyre of a car accidentally bursts in the school premises, the Jew men turn to see what the matter is while the hard men run for cover, clear conscience fears no accusation!

Many of them are being expelled and jailed daily. Many of them are being lured into nefarious activities by the lords. Like Armed robbery, Political thugs and burglary. Many of them never bargained for what they eventually are faced with once they got themselves initiated, and there is no going back because of the oath of allegiance and secrecy taken. The only way out is death.

Some cultists have lost their hearing as a result of injury during the initiation, many have indelible scars on their bodies thus they cannot take off their clothes in public or in the presence of their relatives. Many have died and were buried at the initiation grounds and their parent still wonder when they would return from school. Many have been rusticated from school but cannot go back home so they loaf about in the city constituting nuisance to humanity. Many intelligent boys could not combine academic activities with cultism and because cultism takes preference in their school life they go down academically and ended up graduating with a pass or a third class result which is as good as useless in the country. Many have come to realize that cultism cannot help them in any way, rather it compounds their problems but it is too late to cry when the head is off. Many cultists would have repented for good and followed Christ on that day when Reverend Father Mbaka came to preach but they were afraid of what men like Egbe, Stanley, Danladi, Paschal and Maxwell would do to them.

And today Egbe stand in public and preached the gospel. The smoke from the gun he used to kill Jumbo is still swiveling in the air.

 

STATE CID INTERROGATION ROOM

 

Dagger and Vicious are cuffed together on their wrists and they sat side by side on the floor of the dimly lit room. Their bodies are stained with their blood. Their faces have been reshaped into something amoebic. Swollen lips and swollen eyes, their noses have doubled in size and on their heads are several lumps with blood stained cuts. They could not cry anymore, tears were no longer dropping from their eyes. They could only grunt and nod their heads.

You bloody criminals are being economical with the truth! Look! I will burn you again with this pressing Iron o! The interrogator, a man that looks just like Wesley Snipes except that he has a very conspicuous K leg. They say he had the K leg in the line of Duty. His right leg was broken into shreds by the bullets of some Militants that they had gone to arrest in the creeks of Degema. The leg was to be amputated at the National Orthopaedic Hospital but he had escaped from the hospital at night and ran to his Village at Omagwa Nike for a traditional treatment. The Herbalist did a good job on his leg.

Constable Ubani pulled out the hot Iron from the wall socket and threatened to burn the boys with it.

Oga please sir! Please sir! We have told you everything sir! Dagger managed to talk through his mouth and nose, the front of his mouth is devoid of teeth and every word came out like a whistle sound. Our former leader is the one that caused the whole problem; he lives at the railway quarters along Ogui road sir. I know his house. He was beaten by the boy in the hospital in a one on one fight and that was why we went to hit the boy and his brother, in fact it was him that shot and them.

Good! Good! Said the interrogator. What is his name?

We call him Egbe ‘the Kite’ sir! I don’t know his real name sir. But every one calls him Egbe and he is a final year accountancy student. Dagger whistled.

Can you guys see where you have landed your selves now? You are small boys of barely twenty years old. Your parent sent you to study and become important people in life but you chose to be criminals! You turned yourselves into murders and armed robbers in the name of cultism. You may not have committed any felony yet but being a member of a secret cult automatically makes you a wanted person any a’ persona non grata’ in public places! Your place is in the prisons! You will be charged to court for aiding and abating of a murder and an attempt to commit murder at the hospital. You will each get at least thirty years in jail with hard labour. By the time you are out of jail, civilization would have left you behind. All the so called Jew men on campus today that are your mates would be fathers and owners of businesses by then.

Chai! Oga please nah! Oga but you said that you would leave us if we cooperate nah! Oga we cooperated nah! Please sir! Dagger cried and pleaded while Vicious was shaking his head from side to side. He could not open his eyes or his mouth because they were swollen beyond their limits.

It is because of your cooperation that you will get thirty years nah! Constable Ubani said. Your sentence would have been fifty years!

Chai! Chai! Dagger whistled. Oga please nah! We won’t follow cultism again o! Please sir! Dagger begged

 

 

UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA TEACHING HOSPITAL ENUGU

 

It is now a month and two weeks that Kumalo has been hospitalized and chained to the hospital bed. He wondered who must have been paying his hospital bills, he thought it could be the police if not why would they keep him under surveillance? Or could it be part of the hospital’s corporate social responsibilities? He is being rotated between different wards on a daily basis since after the visit of the Hawks men.

Kumalo knew he was no longer safe at the hospital, he had told detective Peter to take him to another hospital but he was told that the police can only use a teaching hospital because of its government affiliation but promised to ensure that security around the hospital is improved upon.

Kumalo does not trust the Police; he knew there could be Hawks men that are members of the police force. Kumalo started thinking. He was very sure now that his mother must be dead or down with a sickness that would not allow her to come and see him in Enugu. Detective Peter had lied to him  that his mother was doing well when he went for Jumbo’s burial, he had asked the detective the cause of the bandages he wore but he said he had an accident while he was in warri. He had asked Peter of those that buried his brother and Peter had said it is the community youth. He knew Peter was hiding something from him, he had attended so many funerals of the Egbesu members and he know how it is done so he expected so many questions from Peter but they were not forth coming.

How were you able to meet my People? Did you introduce your self to my people? Did you tell them about my where about? Kumalo had asked Peter.

No! I simply went to represent you there; I dressed like one of the youths so no one noticed me, and no! I did not introduce my self nor did I tell any one of your where about! Peter affirmed.

So what did they say about me? Kumalo asked.

Nothing much! Peter said. Please let’s talk of something else, how is your injury? Are you still feeling the stomach pains?

Was there a time they started chanting Igbokigbo! Igbokigbo? Kumalo asked.

Jeez! Peter screamed and ran out of the ward. Kumalo laughed out loud and had to suppress the laughter due to the pain in the stomach. He knew what Peter was hiding.

Kumalo had noticed over time that only one police personnel is detailed to the hospital on Sundays. He had also noticed that the guard resumes after 12.00PM and closes at 10.00PM. He had planned his escape to be on a Sunday so on Saturday evening he had dodged a mini surgical scissors from the tray the nurse brought to dress his wound. He had raised the bed sheet and dug the scissors into the mattress.

At 12 midnight on Sunday, the hospital was quiet as those that could sleep were asleep already. The maternity ward never sleeps. There is always a woman in labour. Kumalo has heard a lot of nonsense said by women in labour shouting on top of their voices. Some had made him laugh while some had mage him sober. Some women pray for God’s assistance during the labour crisis while others rain curses upon the man that put them in that condition and his family members.

Kumalo pulled out the mini scissors and used the pointed edge to uncouple the cuffs on his leg. The cuff gave way and fell to the ground, it made a noise and Kumalo quickly lay back down and pretended to be asleep. When no one entered the ward after five minutes, he knew no one was on guard.

Kumalo indeed used to have his own set of hand cuffs when he was still in the kidnapping game at Warri. He got up and limped to the door, he opened it and saw a deserted corridor so he stepped out; he had a cramp on his legs so he went back into the ward and stamped his feet severally on the ground.

The corridor was deserted as he stepped out again but he could here voices at the far end where the receptionists are, and that is the only exit route. Instead of going forward he turned backwards and started opening the doors of other wards. He opened a door that a patient was fast asleep; he saw some clothes folded on a table close to the bed side of the patient so he tip toed in and closed the door.

He pulled off his hospital clothes and wore the blue jeans trousers and while T shirt on the table. There was something in the pocket of the jeans, he brought out a thick wallet and in it is minty wad of one thousand naira notes. His heart beat skipped. He made a quick sign of the cross as he pockets the wallet; there was a belt in the trouser so he buckled it up even though the waist of the owner is bigger than his by five inches, the belt helped.

He heard foot steps on the corridor and sounds of doors being opened and closed. The sound got closer, a nurse was going round! He thought. The nurse must have opened his door and seen an empty bed. He knew an alarmed would be raised at any moment so he quickly opened the door and jumped outside.

This young man! Where were you? The nurse asked as he came out of a room and saw Okiemute on the corridor.

Okiemute squatted down and started crawling on all fours. The nurse was shocked.

Young man! Stand up! Are you okay? He went to lift Okiemute up. Kumalo allowed the man to pull him up quietly and when he was upright, he took a cursory look at the man’s face smiling as he did so, then he took a quick step backwards.

You must be Goliath! Kumalo said, pointing at the nurse. Can I snap a photograph with you? He asked the perplexed nurse still smiling.

The man took some steps away from Kumalo while Kumalo took same number of steps forward calling

Goliath! Goliath!

When they got to Kumalo’s ward, the Nurse opened the door and pointed inside. Kumalo slowly walked inside smiling and jabbing in the air

David kills Golaith! Goliath kills David! Kumalo was saying as he moved slowly towards the bed. The nurse followed him into the room and closed the door; he dropped his tray on a table and brought out a syringe and needle. He fixed the needle on the syringe while Kumalo climbed on the bed and squatted facing the nurse and smiling. The nurse inserted the needle into a medicine bottle and extracted its contents, his back was turned to Kumalo but as he turned to face Kumalo it was too late.

Kumalo sprang into the air from his squatted position on the bed; the spring in the mattress helped him to spring up into the air. The nurse saw him mid aid and opened his mouth to scream but the sound was muffled by the blow to the side of his head close to his eyes. He was knocked out cold and he slumped to the floor. Kumalo quickly retrieved the injection that fell on the floor and injected the nurse on the neck. He pulled off the nurse’s shoes and wore them. It fitted. He opened the door and ran through the corridor and out of the hospital.

The receptionist saw someone run past but was too preoccupied attending to patients on emergency that just came into the hospital that night.

Kumalo kept jogging until he got to Okpara Avenue before stopping to catch his breath; he pulled up the T shirt to see if he was bleeding. The bandage was stained with blood but not flowing heavily. It must have been due to the way he constricted himself mid air to deal the nurse that deadly blow that silenced him. The nurse would not recover in a hurry; it depends on how long the sedative he had prepared for Kumalo would last.

He brought out the wallet in his pocket and counted fifty four crispy one thousand naira notes. He searched further and brought out the Identity and business card of the states commissioner for police. Phew! He blew. From frying pan to fire! He exclaimed. He needs to be in Warri fast! He needs to see his mother. Either she is dead or alive.

Posted in Burning Platform, Poems, POLITICS, Prose, Stories

MY COUNTRY MY HONOUR

 

 

To Maiduguri we were drafted

Sixty six of us with shaven heads

After six gruesome months in Zaria

We were caged in the land of no return

It was there we went through metamorphosis

 

In six 911 Mercedes military Trucks

We were sent to six different Battalions

To defend the six Geopolitical regions

And prevent us from splitting into six pieces

Our job was to keep the peace

 

I went to hell and I survived

I see, I saw and I conquered

For not all that went to the hell I went

That returned to tell the story

Of how we were dehumanized to attain glory

 

I was trained to maim and annihilate

With the bare hands I could strangulate

To endure the pain with eyes on the gain

All for the honour and glory of my mother land

Nigeria we hail thee, our home and mother land

 

As I clutched my Riffle beneath my chin

Waiting to kill or to be killed in the jungle

Flashed of home disturbs my concentration

My mother awaits my return from the Depot

My siblings await to see their hero

 

My Casandra who expects to see me every tomorrow

And my friends who wait albeit in sorrow

My inherited lands for too long have fallowed

Loved ones pray and fast and God they hallowed

That someday they will see me home when peace will follow

 

But today I am far away from home

Far from the love and care of my own

In the forest of Sambisa we have made home

Our quest is to make Nigeria a home

 

Ratata! Ratata! Infantry Guns barking

Kabum! Kabum! The sound of the Artillery

Flying shrapnel, writhing bodies, smoking nozzles

Screaming Soldiers, screaming Rebels, the race for life!

AlahAkba! Sweet Jesus! We called before we died

 

A man who believed in a cause

A cause sworn to uphold

To lay his life for his father land

And he turned his back against all he hold dear

For a Soldier is duty bound to serve his country

 

So I as lay wrapped up in bandages

My legs gone from the exploded mines

I remember my Colleagues

I see their faces as they screamed

I see as they ran and fell to the Enemy

 

I see as enemies tie them up and slit their throats

Blood and water oozing as life takes leave of them

I see them being charred like goats

And the tears poured down my eyes

And I weep for my fallen Compatriots

 

Family and friends we will see no more

Dreams and aspirations were cut short

Because we swore to serve and defend

When will this madness stop?

How can this house stand?

When siblings lift up arms against each other!