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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Drama, Literature, Prose, Stories

ASUNDER!

ACT 3 SCENE 1

Family meeting at Ogiri’s house, Ogiri’s Uncle and the Wife are present. Tombra’s Father a.k.a Old Soja and his Wife are also present. They are all dressed in traditional Kalabari attires save for Ogiri that is putting on a Jean trouser and Polo Shirt. Hot drinks have been served everywhere on the table, male and female all have a bottle and a glass of spirit, brandy and whisky, anytime Old Soja sips from his glass, he gaggles noisily before swallowing with squeezed face.

Ogiri: One again, I welcome you all to our house! This is our house because we are all one family!

Old Soja: (Cuts in) Na today? E don tey ! (Pours himself some drink and drinks up, he gaggles and squeezes his face as he swallows) Ahgh! This ogogoro na correct o! Go on! Go on my Son! I dey with you!

Tombra’s Mother: Papa Tombra! Why you dey like to fall you self hand like this nah?

Old Soja: Wetin I do nah!

Ogiri: (Cuts in) Thank you sir! As I was saying, I have a problem with Tombra, I have been trying to settle it on my own for sometime now to no avail. As you all are aware, I have been out of job for sometime now, I am still not able to secure one as I speak but..(Old Soja Interrupts)

Old Soja: go straight to the point! wetin be the problem? Why you summon us come here from the Village? Tell us! Abi! (Looks at his wife for support)  Mama Tombra no be so? (He gulps some whisky and gaggles noisily, squeezing his face as he swallows:  his wife cuts in)

Mama Tombra: (Angrily) Papa Tombra! Na wetin dey worry you? Na only you dey here? You no get shame? If you no get shame, me I get o! You dey embarrass me I beg!

Old Soja: (Surprised and with more drink still in his mouth, he tries to speak thereby spilling the content of his mouth on his dress, he wipes his mouth with his hands, searches his pocket and brings out a white handkerchief to wipe his mouth and his dress) you dey craze? Ehn Mama Tombra? Why you dey shout for me like that? I be your mate? Na your mouth I dey take talk? Na your mouth I dey take drink? Abi na your belle I dey drink am put? See as you don make me to waste this foreign Ogogoro now! (Points at his stained dress)

Mama Tombra: Why you dey drink like animal? (Mimics how Old Soja gaggles his drink) you think say na Village you dey with your drunkard friends? You no see our in-laws here? Why you too dey like to fall hand sef?

Old Soja: (Exclaims) Tamuno eh! Why I go shame for my in-laws? Dem be strangers? If to say you sabi the worth of the Ogogoro wey I dey drink so, you go understand why I dey drink am with impact! (Emphasises the word ‘Impact’)

Mama Tombra: Impact? Wetin dey bring that one now?

Old Soja: Yes! (Stands up, sways to and fro, obviously tipsy) yes Impact! Push me, I push you! If you sabi wetin this Ogogoro dey do me as e enter my body, then you go understand why I dey charge like that! Before I swallow am, I need to shake am well- well for my mouth so that the drink go don confuse before e enter my belle! If you think say I dey lie, drink am nah! This one wey una dey drink so na woman ogogoro, na only twelve percent alcohol e get! This one wey I dey drink get forty five percent! We be mate? Oya take small from my own drink! (he lifts up his bottle and approaches the Wife, picks up her glass and empties the content in his mouth without ‘impact’ then he pours some drink from his bottle into his wife’s glass and hands the glass back to her) Oya drink am if you strong! Drink it and see Impact! (Mama Tombra drinks from the glass and swallows, she attempts to take another sips but suddenly clutches her chest)

Mama Tombra: (Screams) Fire! Fire! Water! Water! I don die o! (She runs into the room coughing as husband jumps about excited)

Old Soja: (Pointing at her direction) Impact! Impact! You see what I mean? (Asks the others) That is the ‘Impact’! (He continues to laugh as Ogiri’s Uncle looks at him with scorn shaking his head sadly with disapproval, Tombra notices this)

Tombra: Papa! Sit down! When you go back to the village, you can continue with your drama!

(Old Soja apologizes and sits down stifling laughter by covering his mouth)

Old Soja: (Jumps up swaying to and fro) ehen! Where were we? He drinks some more whisky and gaggles again)Ahgh!(Shakes his head vigorously, shuts his eyes tight and opens them very wide, he shakes his head again and close and opens his eyes) Yes! We are good to go! Go on my Boy!  Did you say you now have a job! That is good! Very good!

Ogiri: (Cuts in) No sir! I am yet to get a job! The problem why I called you here is that my Wife has been so uncooperative since I lost my Job. Even after loosing my job, I still carried the family with my savings. Now the Kids are going back to school and I begged my Wife to help in paying their School fees but she declined! She swore she will not pay their fees! (Mama Tombra walks back into the forum with a hand kerchief cleaning her eyes with her mouth wide open; she goes to sit down while Old Soja begins to mock her) Mama Sorry o! Hope you are better now? (Mama nods her head) My wife has a thriving business, I am out of Job! And she refuses to help out at a time like this! I have called this family because I do not want to take some actions that I would later regret! I can take some drastic action! (Old Soja interrupts)

Old Soja: (Flares up, stands up swaying) Drastic what? Hic, you be Obasanjo? Hic, what drastic actions can a jobless man take other that to go and get a job sharp! Sharp! Hic. (He grabs his bottle to pour some drink but the Wife rushes and collects the bottle from him, there is a struggle and he let go of the bottle) ehen! Mr. Drastic! Hic, you say wetin? (Staggers to and fro)

Tombra: Papa! E do! Sit down! (He sits down)

Mama Tombra: (To Ogiri) My brother! No vex I beg! This drink you gave my husband is too strong for him nah! The alcohol is 45 percent!

Tombra: it is Old Soja that choose the drink himself o! Nobody gave it to him; he went to the shelf himself and selected that particular brand.

Old Soja: (Stands up swaying) hic, all these other ones na woman drink! Hic, na dat one be the correct drink! Hic. I remember when I was in 103 Battalion! Hic, dem sabi me for the mammy Market! Those days we dey drink raw Ogogoro from fire! We dey, hic.

Tombra: Papa! (Old Soja sits down)

Uncle Joe: (Stands up and clears his throat) my in-laws, una welcome once again! Please what we are here for today is a serious issue and I think we should tackle it seriously.

Old Soja: (Jumps up staggering) tackle? Who are you? (Points at Uncle Joe) are you Austin Eguavon? You want to tackle me seriously? I will shoot you seriously! Hic, in fact I don’t need to waste my bullet on a bloody civilian like you! I will flog you, flog your Wife and wait for your Children! Are you mad? When I was in the Army, during the civil war, a man tried to tackle me at, hic, Umunede, we were advancing towards Onitsha then, hic, and I killed him with only one bullet!

Uncle Joe: My wife Tombra, I think you should calm your father down, it seems he listens to you alone. What kind of attitude is he displaying here? In fact I am highly disappointed to say the least!

Old Soja: (Flares up) hic, you are mad! You are a, hic, goat! Are you feeding me? You say I disappoint you! Who the hell are you? (Advances dangerously towards Uncle Joe but is restrained by Tombra) Are you the one that bought the Ogogoro? You People want to cage my Daughter! Lazy family all of you! (Points and staggers towards Ogiri) you! Hic, you are a jealous fellow! Hic. My Daughter is drastically building me a duplex in the village! Hic.

Tombra: Papa!

Old Soja: yes! That is why he is jealous! Hic. What do you have here? (Looks the sitting room over) a common Bungalow! Hic. My daughter is building something twice this Bungalow! That is why you want her money! You want her to start paying School fees! From there she will start buying clothes for you and your family! See dem! See dem! See their heads like Coconuts! You people are not ashamed of your selves. Hic. You want to turn my Daughter to a man!

Ogiri: Oh Tombra! So you are building a hose with out my knowledge? Is that why you couldn’t assist to pay your Kid’s fees? Is the house more important than the future of our Children? I can’t believe this! That means you have been a pretender all this while! And you go to Church regularly o! Even house fellowships you do not miss! So you are building a house behind my back?

Old Soja: Yes it is remaining roofing! Hic. And you want her to use the money to pay School fees? When we have already fixed a date for the house warming ceremony? Hic. Old boy no body can stop that ceremony o! Hic. Mama Tombra! Where is my drink? He goes for Uncle Joe’s drink and gulps down the content of the glass cup that was half filled. (Faces Uncle Joe) bloody Civilian! Who are you to drink when I am not drinking? Coconut head! All of una for this una family, una heads be like Coconut! (Points at Uncle Joes head, then Mama Joes head and then Ogiri’s head) Family of Coconut! (He gulps down the content of Mama Joe’s glass too, Uncle Joe wants to intervene but is stopped by Ogiri) wetin you want to do? You wan fight me? (He staggers to his seat)

 

Mama Tombra:  (To Ogiri) my Brother, I beg you in the name of God (She kneels down) I am at a loss here, kindly ignore Papa Tombra’s attitude and utterances; he is drunk as you can see! He was not like this until lately when Tombra started sending money home for the building Project. Are you not aware that Tombra is building a House for us in the Village?

Ogiri: (Shakes his head and pulls her up) no ma! I am just hearing of it today!

MamaTombra: yee! (Faces Tombra) Tombra eh! Tombra is it true? Your husband is not aware of the house you are building?

Tombra: (Shrugs indifferently) it is my money! I can do what ever pleases me with it!

Mama Tombra: You are building a duplex for us in the Village, yet you cannot assist your husband in paying your Children’s School fees! I am not a party to this! I will not step my foot into that house unless you change your ways and start supporting your husband!

Tombra: They are his Children! They bear his name!

Mama Tombra: what about you? Don’t you bear his name? Are you no longer his wife?

Old Soja rushes from his sitting position to the centre of the sitting room and begins to vomit. There is pandemonium in the house.

 

Exit

 

 

 

 

 

ACT 4 SCENE 1

(Ogiri’s sitting room, the two Kids are busy at the dinning table with their home works. Ogiri enters)

Joshua: Daddy welcome! Good evening!

Ogiri: Good evening Josh! How are you?

Daniella; (Comes to hug Daddy) welcome Daddy!

Ogiri: How are you my pretty Angel? Where is your Mother?

Joshua: She has gone to Church for fellowship! Daddy, they say we should not come to School tomorrow!

Ogiri: why? Because of your School fees abi?

Daniella: Yes Daddy! We were called out today at the assembly ground for non payment of School fees! It was so embarrassing!

Ogiri: did you tell your Mother?

Joshua: mummy came to pick us from School and our Bursar saw her and told her personally.

Ogiri: and what did she say?

Daniella: she said we should tell you! She said you have the money to pay our fees but you do not want to pay it.

Ogiri: My God! Is that what she said?

Joshua: yes Daddy! We reminded her that you are jobless but she threatened to slap any one of us that says so again!

Ogiri: how much is the total fees?

Joshua: mine is seventy two thousand naira and Danny’s own is sixty four thousand naira. The total is em, em, one hundred and thirty six thousand naira!

Ogiri: Okay! I will give you the money tomorrow, but don’t tell your mother about it yet!

Daniella: Daddy but you said you do not have money! So mummy was right after all?

Ogiri: I can raise the money for your fees my dear, but after paying the fees, things will get worse for us, especially me!

Daniella: how daddy?

Ogiri: I will become penniless! I will have no dime left to feed on! I am sure your mother will not allow you Guys to go hungry, but for me, the Lord is my Shepherd!

Joshua: but Daddy, why is mummy behaving like this to you? Was it not you that opened the Shop for her when I was ten years old? I remember nah!

Daniella: mummy must be wicked!

Ogiri: no! No Danny! Do not say that about your mother, she is only going through a process called metamorphosis! When jungle mature, who no know go know!

Joshua: Mummy has a lot of money Daddy! Every day at the Shop she counts a lot of money! Why can’t she help you out?

Ogiri: my Son, women are like Children, give a Child a piece of Cake and try to collect part or all of it, you will see drama!

Daniella: ahan! How will you give a Kid cake and you want to collect it back! Is it fair?

Ogiri: good! Joshua, you heard your Sister abi?

Joshua: yes sir!

Ogiri: that is a woman for you! Don’t you know that the Person that gave you Cake and wants to collect part or all of it has a good reason for doing so? Well, no wahala! (Walks towards the room and looks at the lights) this light! Is it NEPA or Generator?

Joshua: it is generator sir!

Ogiri: ha! Why not wait until seven o’clock before putting it on?

Joshua: we need it to do our assignments and home works!

Ogiri: you can still do your home work at night nah! It is just past four o’clock and you have already put on the generator! Do we still have fuel in the fifty litre jerry can?

Daniella: Joshua poured the last one into the Gen!

Ogiri: hmm, you Children don’t know what you are up against! Look! I don’t have money, I am broke! After paying this School fees of your, I will be left on nothing! I will become a beggar until I get a job. You Children are used to a life of surplus but my dear, levels don change o! Your mother that I know would rather buy fuel for her Generator at the Shop instead of the one at home. Go and put off that Gen until night!

(Joshua reluctantly leaves the room grumbling)

Daniella: daddy, did you buy anything for me?

Ogiri: how? Anything from where nah? Did I go to work? Don’t you understand all that I have been going through in this house? I am a jobless man! I am getting desperate now! (Storms out of the house, Daniella feels embarrassed and begins to sob as she enters the room)

 

Fade

bookcoverimage-asunder

Posted in Prose, Stories

RUGGED KUMALO

WARRI –EFURUN TOWN

Pandemonium as machetes wielding youths with fresh palm leaves tied around their heads and waist took over the streets linking to the residence of Kumalo.  They all wore black trousers and white singlet. Car owners and drivers had to abandon their cars and flee to avoid molestation from the rampaging irate youths.

There was tight traffic jam on the street as they conveyed the corpse of Jumbo home for burial. The Egbesu Cult members have the sole responsibility of burying their fellow initiate. While smoking Indian hemp and drinking different colours of ogogoro in different shades of bottles, with blood shot eyes were visibly saddened and angry at the death of a very young member. Every shop on Otiotio Street was closed for safety while non initiates stood by the road side to watch the procession. They were singing and chanting war slogans as they marched on with the casket on the shoulder of six able bodied youth wearing only trousers.

 

Detective Peter was in their midst dressed to match. He also has a red Papas cap on and a bottle of ogogoro and

Machetes in his hands. He had followed the corpse from Enugu, though in his private Car. He had driven after the Bus that came brought Jumbos family members from Warri to carry the Corpse from UNTH Enugu. He had gotten to the local mortuary where the body was deposited before going into town to lodge at the ‘blue waters’ hotel. He came around Kumalo’s night in the night to attend the wake keeping and from there he4 had gotten the whole information he needed about the Akporjotor’s family.  Their men do not live long due to their affinity with the Egbesu cult. They have always died accidentally by the bullet. Though they are noted for their brevity and ruggedness. Kumalo had wanted to break that jinx and make a difference in his own generation that is why he decided to leave this vicinity to Enugu where he can live and graduate peacefully with his brother. Peter also learnt that Kumalo’s mother is hypertensive and lives on daily drugs to stabilize her BP.

Detective Peter was among the group today mimicking the songs they sang and dancing to the rhythm with them also. He had joined them at the Morgue when the Cultist came to carry the Corpse and had followed them thus far. The corpse was laid in state on a platform at the center of the Akporjotor’s compound and the youth danced around it pouring libations and chanting amidst gun shots in the air.

The head of the group later came to the center of the circle and signalled for attention.

Area! He called

Hey! They chorused

Area! He called louder

Hey! They chorused

Area!! He screamed and vibrated.

Hey! The chorus.

Men! Egbe don gas o! He addressed the group. Yawa don gas! Na which day we bury Oga Akporjotor the rainbow shoe here? He asked no body in particular.

Now we don come to bury him Pikin again! Na who dey do this family nah? He asked no one in particular while there were remarks here and there.

See small Jumbo Akporjotor wey just enter school yesterday here! See as dem just burst him head like coconut! Wetin he do dem?

Nothing o! Nothing! The crowd chorused.

Someone in the crowd started a song.

Na wetin he do dem?

He no do dem nothing o! The chorus

Na wetin he do dem?

He no do dem nothing o! The chorus.

Ha! This one! This one! Gentle man no dey o!

This one! This one! Gentle man no dey! The chorus.

The crowd went into another frenzied singing and jumping mode until the leader beckoned for attention again.

The crowd mellowed and in unison started to chant

We no go gree! We no go gree!

Make una wait! Make una wait! He calmed them down.

Madam Akporjotor get only two pikins! Okiemute and Jumbo! Papa Akpors don follow warri crisis waka! Now the only two children wey de give the woman hope, winch don chop one of dem! Jumbo don kpai and Okiemute de form missing in action!

We go bury Jumbo! Yes we go bury am because na we brother. After the burial, we go storm Enugu! We go storm that town to go look for Okiemute aka Kumalo. If Kumalo don Kpai also, we go find the dead body and carry am come home come bury before we know how to take revenge. Egbesu no be small children runs! We no be campus confra! We be correct witches and wizards here! No be every bird dem de chop!

Dem no de chop Vulture nah!  Wey dem? Dem de mad? Someone screamed from the crowd.

This Enugu People don chop Vulture o! He continued.dem go feel us! We go burn down that School! We be Egbesu! We be Winch! We be dead body!

This one! This one! Gentle man no dey o! This one this one gentle man no dey o! He started the song all over while the crowd started charging and cursing.

The leader suddenly stood transfixed, he stood on his toes and spun around, he spun around three times before he changed the tone of the song.

Igbokigbo! He chanted

Hey! The chorus

 Igbokigbo! He chanted

Hey! The chorus

He started chanting and jumping and the crowd went agog as they started cutting one another with their matchetes. The matches were just like mere canes on them as no one was cut.

Igbokigo! Igbokigbo! Igbokigbo! The crowd kept chanting and gyrating. Detective Peter was most unfortunate to be within the crowd at that moment as he received several machete cuts all over his body and his hands as he tried to block off the machete swipe while making his escape route out of the crowd. His head was spared because none of them tried to cut another on the head.

Peter boarded a bike and headed straight to Saint Philemon’s Hospital along PTI road and he was admitted immediately after he flashed his badge. He came back after two days at the hospital to find out that Kumalo’s mother had died of heart attack when Jumbos body was being interred. She was taken to the mortuary where her son’s body was kept while a contingent of ten members of the egbesu cult had left for Enugu to look for Kumalo.

 

 

STATE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT HQ

ENUGU

Detectives Peter and Sandra were in the office of former ASP now SP Sunday Onche. He finally got his promotion after proving to the Police that he is mentally stable and physically competent to carry on with the police job for his mates have been Superintendants three years before now, he was in a good spirit and resplendent in his new uniform of blue and black. He also has an office to himself now.

Peter had narrated what went down at Warri to the SP and briefed him of the imminent danger facing the city by the entrance of ten members of the dreaded Egbesu cult.

Oga! Those guys were cutting and shooting at one another and nothing happened! They were just chanting Igbokigbo! Igbokigbo, and jumping about. It was like an evil spirit entered them all, sir! I was lucky o! I was not expecting the turn of events at all else i would not be in their midst at that time! Peter explained: what if they had shot at me thinking i was one of them?

Then you would have been dead meat boy! SP said: you are an undercover cop and in your line of duty, anything can happen. But thank God you are safe and healthy!

Oga! I am safe but not healthy! My back is gone! My shoulders are finished! The cuts are very deep! Each cut was stitched twelve times. If not that I  am a police officer, I would have been rejected at the hospital. Peter explained.

Which means you could have bled to death? SP asked.

Oga! You are not even feeling sorry for me! Peter challenged.

No sir! Sorry for what? That’s the job you have chosen as a career so you should accept whatever befalls you in good spirit! SP said. Meanwhile I have had my own fair share of misfortune in the line of duty.

Oga! You mean you have scars on your body as a result of the job too? Sandra asked.

Hmm! Peter! Have you guys ever wondered about the where about of my family? At least I should have a family at my age nah! Not so? He asked.

Of course your family is abroad nah! We all know that! Peter said.

SP shook his head sadly from side to side and stood up from his seat. He pockets his hands in his trousers side pockets as he paced about the room.

I was undercover at Akure eight years ago to burst a cartel farming and distributing Marijuana. I infiltrated the cartel and became one of them. The marijuana business in that part of the country was very organized. They had farms in the deepest part of the forest that people don’t venture into. It was another world in those farms. There are houses for the labourers and their families at the plantations. They are well paid and taken care of. The rules at the farms were very strict and must not be broken. The Barons were small gods! They were revered by the workers and these barons were so ruthless that they kill workers at will and bury them at the farm. The security network at the farms is likened to that of a maximum security prison.  We had such farms at Akure, Ifon and Owo communities. The Barons were high chiefs and traditional rulers in their respective climes. But I bust them after three years of working for them. I was as discreet as I could be or so I had thought. I succeeded. I was rewarded with a promotion and I was redeployed to Gusau in the north for another under cover job on smuggling between Nigeria and Niger boarders. Two months going at Gusau. I was invited to Lagos to be briefed that my wife, my four kids, my house help and my two Alsatian dogs were slaughtered over night. A note was pasted on the door of my house claiming that the attack was from Akure drug farms!

Jeez! Sandra screamed.

Peter was speechless, his jaw simply dropped.

So my guy! SP continued, that is the path we have chosen to follow. I was told I lost my mind and ran mad. I was hospitalized at the psychiatric hospital for two full years. I spent one year at rehabilitation before returning to the police three years ago. It’s been over six years now but I still look forward to waking from the night mare. How can I just loose my beautiful wife of fifteen years like that? My first son was in his third year at the Nigerian military school zaria, my second child was at Air force military school while the last two were at staff school UNILAG because my wife was a lecturer there!

I am so sorry sir! Jeez! My gawd! Ha Oga! May I sit down please? Peter asked.

Why? Sit down if you wish! SP said.

Peter and Sandra sat down and Sandra started to sob.

Sir! Your family was wiped out in the course of your job and you still remained on the job? Peter asked.

Yes! They are the only family I have left. The police took care of me when I was sick. I was given the best medical attention until I regained sanity. Even my family members and in-laws abandoned me for madness. The police alone did not desert me. My in-laws blamed me and my job for the death of their daughter and grand children. I had kept my family with my wife safe in Lagos while I was moving around with the job. I never knew that just when we think we are safest, we are actually most vulnerable!

 

It is six years altogether now, Sandra said; sir, do you have any plans to start a new family?

So that they will be wiped off again? SP snapped

Haba! Oga no nah! That was six years ago nah, you need to move on, Sandra persisted. You cannot say because you fell from a horse you would not climb the horse again nah!

My dear! Fall pass fall! You see this fall ehn? I am not going to re climb the Horse. SP said; enough about me now! Let’s get back to where we were. Where were we?

Sandra and Peter jumped up to their feet.

Peter! From what you have said, there is red alert in town now! Isn’t it? SP asked.

Yes sir! The Egbesu boys must be located and arrested before they reach Okiemute!

And how do you plan to achieve that? SP asked.

We have been to the Edo line motor park! Sandra continued; we found out that they had arrived town in two station wagon cars while a third car was driven by the one of them who we suspect to be the leader of the cult. They chartered two cabs to the IMT campus two. We went there and tried to look for clues but no head way yet.

We also went to Okiemute’s class to know his close friends, especially those from Delta state. We are keeping tab on three of them in case the Egbesu makes contact with any of them. Peter said.

Do the students know where Okiemute is at now? SP asked

That, I cannot be affirmative! But none of them have visited the hospital yet Sandra said.

Okay! Continue to nose around for clues. Meanwhile what about the boys that attacked Okiemute? Have you arrested them yet? SP asked

Not yet sir! Okiemute only knows the face of the one he fought with, he also gave us a name ‘Stanley’ as being called at the scene of the crime when he was pretending to be dead. His information cannot help us much for now but we will build on it. Peter said.

And you said the boy is not a cultist! SP said.

He claims he is not a campus cultist but acknowledges being a member of the Egbesu back home and I have confirmed that to be true. Peter said.

And which is worse? SP asked.

Ha! Oga!

SP started to laugh. I am joking boy! I know a lot about the Egbesu than you do. Okay. Em, we are at a cross road here, the scenario is dicey. Do you know the name of the confraternity that attacked the boy?

Not exactly sir! But we have narrowed it down to either of the Black Panther or the hawks. Sandra said.

And why these two? SP asked

Our internal source told us sir! Peter said.

And who and what is your internal source? SP asked.

We are sorry sir! That is our ‘joker’ for now! Sandra said.

Okay! I respect that! SP said. Now get back to work and close up all these gaps in your case. Let’s clear up this mess now before it forms a big shit! You are dismissed!

Sandra and Peter saluted and left the office.

 

 

 

KUMALO COVER

Posted in Prose, Stories

OUTSIDE THE COCOON

 

 

By Awoleye A.Dominic

 

Four teenagers, Odiri, Kikelomo, Danjuma and Adaeze are childhood friends, all children of Soldiers living together in the Army Barracks at Abakaliki in Ebonyi state, south east Nigeria.

They all attend the Army day secondary school meant for Soldiers Children and their wards. The school is tuition free for soldiers while Civilian Children that attend the school pay school fees.

Their parents are non commissioned officers so they struggle to make ends meet.

Odiri thirteen years old is the sixth Son of Copral Onorode Johnson, an urhobo man from the Niger delta region of Nigeria. Odiri has two younger brothers making a total of eight sons in the family. The mother is still hoping she begets a female child. She augments the family income by selling smoked fish at the front of their block. Corporal Johnson is a diehard pool player who has vowed to win back all his loses to the promoters of pool someday. Odiri’s ambition is to become a soldier as soon as he finishes his secondary education. His first two brothers are in the Army already.

 

Kikelomo Ajose is the first daughter of sergent  Bamidele Ajose, a military medical personnel from the south western part of the country. She has four younger ones; the last born Segun is the only son of the family. Kikelomo is thirteen and in JSS 2. Her father had told her that she would become a seamstress after her secondary education because he cannot afford to see her through to the University. The mother operates a grinding machine business in a stall built behind their block, The Shed is built with Zinc roofing sheets and ply wood, she wakes up very early daily to grind beans and pepper for the women that sells Akara for early morning breakfast.

 

Danjuma Dogaro is from northern Nigeria, southern Kaduna to be precise. His father is a private Soldier. He is fourteen years old. His mother is based in Kaduna farming and fending for his siblings. She had to remain in Kaduna when the Husband was transferred to Abakaliki so that she could live long. Private Musa Dogaro has been in the Army for sixteen years and has remained a private Soldier. He had been promoted three times and also has been demoted three times. All the demotions have been as a result of drunkenness. He becomes violent when drunk and he beats anyone around him. Danjuma wants to be a footballer; his father says he must be a Soldier. He is to try the Army recruit enlistment next year after his JSS 3 examination.

 

Adaeze Nwokolo is from the south eastern part of Nigeria, She is the first daughter of corpral Arinze Nwokolo of the Military Police. She has two younger brothers. She is twelve years old and in JSS2. The mother is a full time house wife who does nothing but to gossip from house to house. She is the unofficial minister for information in the barracks. Her elder sister is married to a Lawyer in Abuja and so she had put it to Adaeze that she must become a Lawyer. Corporal Nwokolo also wants his daughter to become a Lawyer. His focus is on his job and the bribe he collects as a military police, he is always in uniform in and out of the barracks looking for cases to settle. He is saving up money to train his daughter to the University to become a Lawyer. Adaeze got exposed to money early by stealing from her father.

 

The four teenagers boxed into a cocoon by virtue of being born to Soldiers are constrained to think and aspire within the limits imposed on them by their environment. Their Parents are poor and proud because of the power of the Army uniform. The Army provides their basic needs free. Free accommodation, free light, free medicals facilities, free water supply and tuition free from primary to secondary school. They live a life of contentment and forget to plan for their children’s future. To them life begins and ends in the Barracks because upon retirement from the Army, they are paid pension until their death.

 

These Kids must carve a niche for themselves and make a success out of life. But it has to be outside the barracks! They have to look outside the box if they must escape the life of self imposed servitude. But how will they defy their Proud Parents? Where are the opportunities? In a barrack life full of envy, sabotage, war, drunkenness, social vices, any child that wants to make a difference is brought down by jealous soldier’s wives and their husbands. Nobody wants the other man’s child to be better than his.