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
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.
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.