It’s the FINALE!!! And I’ve made it the longest episode of anything I’ve ever posted on the blog. Tricia’s Story ends with 2012 and new things begin in 2013. Thanks for the wonderful year we’ve had on tlsplace. It started as something real small, that I just did to find expression for my stories, and somehow you’ve grown it (cos me no fit explain as e grow o) into something that’s evidently beyond me. I indeed appreciate everyone who has taken time to read, share, comment on and critique my stories. We’ve together proven that Nigerians read, and read well too. Happy New Year in advance, and may 2013 deliver great things to you. It will be the time to live the things we only dreamt before. I look forward to delivering great stuff to you in the coming year. Enjoy…
Kofo woke up to the steady nudging from Teju the next morning. They had made love, slept, made love some more, ate and various combinations of those activities severally all through the previous day. Now they needed to leave this cul de sac they had honeymooned in to face the reality of an impending showdown in court in a few days time. Teju had ordered a full English breakfast which they both ate heartily, enjoying each other’s company in serene quietness, interlaced with moments of catching each other’s eyes lingering on the other and laughing at those moments.
They had decided on a few things – there was no reason for Teju to remain hidden now, Olu would already know about him by now anyway, so they might as well come out clean to everyone with him. Teju was not going to underestimate Saranja’s desperation too. If he had gotten rid of Ivie, he could attempt to get rid of anyone else. Kofo would have to detail some of her team to keep watch over them, and they would all be together until the trial at Kofo’s.
Now, it was time to contact the rest of the team.
Maro woke up to the shrill sound of his phone ringing. He needed to change that ringtone from Terry G to some cool Asa. He had spent the whole of yesterday with Tricia, and he felt renewed vigor to make sure they won this case and freed her. His father had called again, and they had had a serious falling out. He would deal with that later. Groggily he reached for the phone. When he saw who it was, the sleep cleared from his eyes instantly.
“Kofo!” he hollered into the mouthpiece “where under the good Lord’s heaven have you been?”
“Haa,” she replied, “that’s a rather long story. Let’s meet up in my office in an hour. Pack your things, you might not be going back home.”
“Madam, you have been rather interesting recently. I cannot wait. I’ll be there. Have you called Taju?”
“Calling him right away. Call Olu. We need him to be there too.”
“Alright General Kofo,” he replied “your wish is my command.”
“Thanks Maro, would see you in a bit,” and then she hung up.
He jumped out of the bed and began to get dressed before he realized he hadn’t bathed. He laughed at how excited he was as he undressed and got under the shower. This was about to get even more exciting.
“They’re all on their way, yes?” Teju asked Kofo as he did the lace on his sneakers.
“Yes,” she said, rolling her eyes “and we should get going otherwise we will keep them waiting. You know, in Nigeria, it’s the woman that wastes time and is hurried up by the man.”
Teju sprang up from the bed and reached out to carry his luggage when his phone rang. It was Peter. He placed the phone on the dressing table that doubled and dining table in the room and put it on speaker.
“Hi Peter,” he said and Kofo noted how thick his accent had become almost automatically.
“Mr. Bello, you didn’t bother to let me know your hide had been saved, maybe I should have left you in the hands of what’s his name… yeah, Saranja for a bit longer.” Peter said, obviously upset with Teju.
Teju smirked, and Peter growled. It seemed to Kofo they were used to this kind of communication. She listened quietly.
“Okay, so James Peter Bond, a very English thank you to you. But I’m certain you didn’t call me to demand the outpouring of my gratitude so what might it be?”
“Mrs. Ujah should be landing in Nigeria as we speak,” Peter said in a matter of fact manner.
Kofo’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets in surprise and Teju dropped all unseriousness in an instant.
“You should have told me earlier. That makes things significantly easier,” Teju said, rubbing his chin
“How so?” Peter asked.
“Haa, Peter, if she was in the UK, and there was a charge against her in Nigeria, there would be all manner of legal wrangling to get her to a Nigerian court. In this case, she has come right here. Anyway, Peter, leave the rest to me. I’m certain now your four million bucks is safe in your books.”
“That’s why we employed you. Now quit jabbering and get to work,” Peter said
“Well, you’d have to get of this phone to allow me do just that,” Teju replied before Peter could hang up the call. They both laughed before Teju said seriously
“Thanks mate, for having my back.”
“Always my pleasure, always,” Peter said and cut the connection.
“Why do you think she came in?” Kofo asked once she was sure Peter would not hear her.
“I cannot deduce that, but whatever reason it is, she has just committed a blunder. Now you were saying we should get going. I’ll be a proper Nigerian man now – hurry up woman!”
She grinned and they kissed lightly before setting out.
Aisha Ujah landed in Nigeria that morning with the 6:45am Virgin Atlantic flight. She had made special arrangements to be picked up that morning. She did not have much time. She first visited the mortuary where Bruno’s body was being kept. She knew the body would not be released for burial until the case was over, but she needed that for the smokescreen of trying to arrange burial to work.
The driver that met up with her at the airport had been instructed to buy and register three mobile lines on three different networks. She called her contact on the one designated for the day now
“Do you have him?” she asked, straight to the point.
“Yes ma’am, he’s with us now.” the female voice from the other end of the line responded.
“Good, now make the call and make the demand.” She instructed and then cut the call off. Then she headed for her family house to ensure that everyone saw her.
Justice Toboriye Douglas had just finished her exercise routine for the day. Since they had been given quarters in Lekki phase 1, she had created a daily routine of jogging and then exercising in the serene and secure environment provided by their government provided estate. She had not had an easy life, the justice. Her husband had died in an air-crash just after they had their first son. And she had chosen not to remarry but dedicate her life to the two things that were now most important to her. The first was her career and she had fought tooth and nail in the male dominated world of the bench to get to where she was. The second was her son. She loved and doted on him with all her heart. He was seventeen now, and looked so much like his father and had his brilliant mind. He had gotten into university at sixteen and was in his second year now. The second bit of her morning routine was to call him in school. He didn’t like it, but she had made him promise he would always take her calls, and good boy that he was, he had stayed true to his promise.
She took a cool shower and savored toweling herself dry before packing her hair up. She liked the way the grey was beginning to mingle with her dark brown hair. It gave her a distinguished, judgelike look in her opinion.
She reached for her phone to call her son and was scrolling through to his number when the phone began vibrating in her hand. “Mtchew, who is this one disturbing me this early morning? It’s even an unknown number.”
She cut the call off and dialed her son’s number. It rang twice and then it was picked
“Hello darling, how are you,” she began.
“Hello Justice Douglas, you just cut our call to you” a chilling female voice answered. She nearly dropped the phone in astonishment.
“Who is this? Why is Timi not answering the phone?” she shouted.
“Listen carefully Justice. We have your son now, and you will do as we say, otherwise, you will never see him again. There is a murder case that you will pass judgment for on Monday, concerning a Miss Tricia Abah. You must pass a guilty verdict unfailingly with maximum penalty, otherwise you will see Timi, but he will not see you again, ever, permanently. Do not try to withdraw from the case, or contact the police. We will know, and I do not need to repeat what will happen. We have sent you an email containing a picture of Timi from his phone.”
With that, the line went dead. Almost instantly, her phone beeped. An email had come in. As if in a trance, she reached for the phone and checked the email. It was from Timi and there was a file attachment. She opened the attachment. It was a picture. Of her baby. Tied up, with a gun to his head. If she had thought this was a joke of some kind, all doubts cleared from her mind. This was no joke.
She called her secretary “cancel all appointments I have today.”
Then she called the commissioner of police on his private line “Mike, I need your help…” she began.
They had all gathered in Kofo’s office. Teju and Kofo were seated on Kofo’s side of the desk, while Taju, Maro and Olu took the visitor’s seats opposite.
“Teju Bello, I presume,” Olu said, addressing Teju.
Teju nodded in the affirmative.
“I have heard about your role in the downfall of Saranja” he continued.
“Since you both seem to know about each other already, it would be nice for Kofo to introduce Teju to the rest of us who do not have the intelligence network of the police force,” Maro interrupted.
Kofo smiled. Maro was still Maro, very direct and sure of himself. Kofo took them through who Teju was and how he had helped with the case so far, plus his ordeal with Saranja and how she had gotten him out. And then as an afterthought, she added
“Oh, and Bruno’s wife has come into the country today. I wonder why she came in…”
“This is why,” Maro said, holding up his phone.
“She came to get your phone?” Taju asked.
“I’m on twitter,” Maro responded “and the news just went viral that a Timi Douglas was kidnapped in school today. His mother is a Justice of the High Court. Her name is Toboriye Douglas.”
“Tricia’s prosecution judge!” Olu exclaimed.
“So she has kidnapped the judge’s kid to force the judgment she wants! That’s desperate!” It was Maro.
“She is rather desperate for four million pounds,” Teju pointed out.
“I think Olu should make that call to Saranja now,” Maro said.
Kofo looked intently at Olu and asked “Olu, are you set?”
“Yes I am,” he responded, as if finally making a decision.
When he finished the call, Olu could not help but marvel. If he had any other doubts in his mind, it was killed. Saranja was fried, especially considering the considerable leverage he knew the insurance company would have on the British government and by extension the Nigerian government.
“Do we contact the Justice?” Taju asked.
“While the call was going on, I did a background check on her,” Kofo said. “She’s widowed and he is her only child. Except we can guarantee that she will get that child back, she will not listen to us. And she will be desperate now.”
“And the weakness of our system here is that there is no jury. The judge’s pronouncements are final. So get the judge and irrespective of what the lawyers say, you have the case.” Taju pointed out.
“I will get the boy.” It was Teju who spoke. He stood up and Kofo reflexively almost pulled him back to his seat.
“You do not even know the country. You cannot!” she said.
“You can assure the judge that her son will be unharmed and delivered to her. But she should do the right thing.” Teju said.
Then turning to Kofo, he looked at her intently and then said “I will be fine.”
With that, he left the room and Kofo felt her heart lurch.
It was late in the evening when Justice Douglas received a call. Ever since the ordeal began, her phone was her one constant companion. The commissioner of police had dedicated multiple teams of policemen to scour everywhere for the kidnappers. She had called every government official she knew and by now, a huge search operation was going on for the boy. These people did not know who they were dealing with. She would find them and deal with them.
“Hello,” she said coarsely.
“Call the search off, and do not try this any longer. We will find out and you will lose your boy”
The line went dead.
She slumped into her seat. The Nigerian security apparatus was so compromised. This was supposed to be top secret, and the kidnappers had found out.
The phone rang again. Another number. She quickly picked it up
“Hello! How did you find out about the search?” she shouted
“Hello ma. My name is Detective Kofo, I was in your courtroom as witness for a murder case involving a…”
“Tricia? That wretched case! What in hells hordes do you want! Are you one of them?” Justice Douglas was shouting at the top of her voice.
“No ma, I am on your side. I know they have your son and want you to deliver a guilty verdict. Trying to get him through the police is an effort in futility. Top members of the force are involved in this case and all want the innocent girl condemned.”
“What would you have me do? Just before you called, they had threatened to kill him if I didn’t call the police search off. How they found out about it, I do not know,”
“Ma,” Kofo interrupted “you cannot trust the police on this one. You will have to trust me.”
Kofo spoke with such assuredness that the Justice calmed down. “I do not want to sentence this girl to death, if she is innocent. My conscience could never live with it. But I cannot stand by and watch my only son die. My heart could not take that!”
“We will get you your son. That I promise. We only ask that you deliver fair judgment on the day the case is heard.”
“I want to see you. How can I trust someone I have not seen properly?”
“Trust me ma, while I would have loved that, they will be watching you. And we need to keep them in the dark about what we are doing. Once we are seen together, they will be on the alert for us.” Kofo said.
“What more can I do right now, really? I’ll have to trust you, seeing that the police have failed me. But you had better delivered; otherwise, I do not trust myself to do the right thing in court.”
“We will,” Kofo said. “Do have as much rest as you can ma.”
“That went better than I thought it would,” Maro said as Kofo dropped the call.
Olu Williams got up to leave “it’s late already, I should be on my way. I have to prepare the evidence and file it properly so there are no issues in court on Monday.”
“Very well then,” Kofo said. “See you in court.”
When he had left Maro asked “do you trust him?”
“No,” she replied “but I trust his intelligence. He will do what he is made to see is the wisest for him”
“Hmmm, and if he doesn’t decide going along with our plan is the wisest?” Taju asked.
“I have made a backup of that conversation,” she said, removing a tape from underneath her drawer. “Experience has taught me not to give anything to Olu without backing it up.”
The next morning Aisha finally decided to call Saranja. In response to her hello, he exploded over the phone
“You kidnapped the Judge’s son without running it by me!”
“And how is that different from you killing Ivie without running it by me?” she retorted
“Because, in Nigeria, the judge can pull powerful strings. And if it’s ever traced to me, I’m dead and buried. She will make sure of that.”
She laughed scornfully “oh, so you are just afraid for your hide? Don’t worry, we have it all covered, unlike you. She called all those people yesterday and they began a manhunt. We called her and threatened her in the evening. By this morning, the search has been called off. She is ready to play ball. And you know, if you had handled your part well, I would not have had to resort to such desperate and crude methods.”
Saranja clenched his fist in anger. This woman ticked him off!
That afternoon, Justice Douglas received a call.
They did not even allow her say hello. This time it wasn’t the female voice she was beginning to grow familiar with. It was a male voice she had never heard before
“We are pleased you are cooperating. All the police search parties seem to have been called back, so we will allow you on favor. But note that if we as much as suspect any foul play on your part, he’s a goner. Now, to the favor – the voice you will hear next is one I’m sure you are dying to hear”
“Hello mum,” Timi’s voice came clear over the connection
“Oh, my baby, how are you? Are you eating? Are they hurting you, Lord, protect my son,” she said, the words rushing out of her with the same intensity as the tears gushing from her face.
“We will be watching you in court.” The male voice came back to the line.
And then the line went dead.
Peter’s phone rang and he picked it on the first ring. He had been waiting anxiously for any news on the Nigerian situation
“Hello Teju. What’s happening over there? Everyone here is walking on tip toes, waiting for information on this!”
“Well, Peter, here’s information for you man. The judge’s son has been kidnapped by Mrs. Ujah, to ensure the judgment is a conviction for Tricia.” Teju responded
“Well, that works in our favor. Because even if Tricia is convicted now, we can point to the kidnapping and deny payment,” Peter responded
“Don’t be a scrooge Peter. What evidence will you point to that there was any kidnap? She has layered it so well that it’s not traceable to her. If you do nothing now, you will be parting with four million bucks and make Mrs. Ujah and the former AIG Saranja very rich people.” Teju responded.
“So,” Peter said “quit beating around the bush. Just hit the nail on the head already and say what you think we should do. I know you wouldn’t have called if you hadn’t come up with something”
“Unfortunately for Mrs. Ujah, she didn’t study the Nigerians well. There’s a strict hierarchy of criminals here, and if you can get to the very top, the lower down criminals have no choice but to do the bidding of their higher-ups. So, I went as close to the top of that hierarchy as I could get. They will get the boy, but it will cost you Peter, cost you quite significantly,” Teju said.
“And how much are we looking at here,” Peter asked quietly.
“Two Hundred Thousand Pounds or the equivalent of Fifty Million Naira,” Teju responded evenly
“What!” Peter exploded. “Where in the British Isles do you expect me to get that kind of money on such short notice?”
“Peter,” Teju said calmly but firmly “I am asking you to save Four Million Pounds with Two Hundred Thousand. It’s your call really. I’m sure you’ll need about a day to convince all those involved to authorize this. I’ll wait.”
“I know I’m mad for saying this, but I will try. And if we do get the money released, you do know that my career would be over if you fail?” Peter said
“You fail to realize, dear Peter, that mine would be even deader if I fail.” Teju said and then ended the call.
Peter sighed ruefully as he began to call board members to set up a conference call.
Considering all the build up to it, the weekend before the final appearance was uneventful, outside of routine paperwork and the likes from both the prosecution and the defense. The kidnappers did not contact the judge any longer and she went into some sort of normalcy mode, as if to handle the situation. She immersed herself totally into work, preparing for this case. Kofo was not fooled though. She knew that the judge would deliver judgment against them if she resigned herself to thinking that was the only way she could get her son back. From her study of the judge, she deduced she would rather have a ruined career than a dead son, if the choices came down to that.
And so she was worried. Teju had been mysteriously incognito since he had left them at Olu’s office, only calling intermittently to assure her that he was well and that the boy would be found. Maro had come around every day, spending most of the time with Tricia in her cell. She had allowed them that liberty and Tricia seemed to liven up more and more over the course of the days that led up to Monday.
And so, the d-day came and they all gathered in court. She had chosen a conservative suit for Tricia today, to communicate a seriousness she knew they must all have felt. Still no Teju, and no Timi Douglas. Teju’s number had been unreachable all morning.
As the judge sat down and the clerk’s voice rang through the courtroom, “All Rise!” Kofo noticed that Justice Douglas’ eyes darted back and forth across the courtroom. They finally rested on Kofo, as if asking questions “I thought you promised I would get my son back if I trusted you.” She then looked from Kofo to Tricia and back.
By then, the clerk had finished calling the case up.
“Counsels may begin,” the judge said.
In the corner of Kofo’s eye, she caught Saranja come in. One piece of good news thus far. She willed herself not to turn around. But then a thought crossed her mind, niggling at it until the curiosity got the best of her and she turned around to check. Sure enough, seated in the corner was Mrs. Aisha Ujah. She recognized her instantly from the picture Teju had shown her. Their eyes met briefly and she held the gaze deliberately. Then, she slowly turned to face forward.
Taju was in the center now, holding up a piece of cloth
“My Lord, this is the piece of clothing the defendant was wearing when she was arrested. It is already amongst the police evidence presented for this case.” Then he walked back to his table to retrieve a few photographs from the thick file there.
“These,” he said, passing copies along to Olu’s team and the judge “are photographs that were taken of the immediate vicinity where Mr. Bruno was murdered. Observe the blood splattered all over the white wall and the black seats.”
He paused to allow them peruse the photographs and then held up the cloth again and continued
“Now observe this cloth. If it indeed was what the defendant was wearing when she murdered the victim, shouldn’t there be blood splatters on it, consistent with all the other items in the immediate vicinity?”
“Objection my Lord! She could have changed into this after she carried out the murder, to conceal her culpability before the police arrived at the scene. There was at least three hours between the time of murder and when the police arrived.”
“Sustained.” Justice Douglas said
Taju walked over to his table and again retrieved a series of photographs. He passed them to the prosecution and the bench again.
“These are pictures taken by the defendant with her blackberry phone right after she was brutally raped. Please note the parts of her clothing showing in this picture. The outfit is the same as this one I hold,” Taju said
“Objection!” Olu interjected again. “The small fraction in this picture is insufficient to establish that the clothes are the same.”
“Sustained,” Judge Douglas again said. “Defense will desist from drawing inferences unfounded in clear facts.”
Where Kofo sat, she wondered why Olu was puncturing the exact arguments he had suggested. And the judge was agreeing all of his objections. Taju looked like he was struggling. In the corner of her eye, she saw Saranja smiling. He looked like an alligator about to clamp its jaw on prey.
Taju walked over to Olu and spoke to him quietly.
“You have the floor,” he said, with meaning. It was the time the plan was meant to kick in. it was now or never that they would know if it was wise to trust Olu.
“I do not have any questions or witnesses to call,” Olu said.
Taju stopped dead in his tracks. “There must be a mistake, counsel” he said, addressing Olu. “You cannot say you have no questions or witnesses whatsoever.”
Olu did not meet his eye “that’s exactly what I said,” he responded.
Taju backtracked to Olu’s seat and spoke under his breath with wellsprings of anger emanating from every word he spoke “why are you doing this?” he growled.
“Because…” Olu began saying, when they heard Kofo exclaim.
Had she not been looking back at Saranja, she would not have been the first to see him. Her heart swelled with relief and pride as Teju entered the courtroom. And he did not enter alone, there, beside him was Timi Douglas. “Timi!” she exclaimed loudly.
Her exclamation drew the attention of all in the courtroom, first to her, and then at what she had been looking at that caused the exclamation.
Aisha literarily froze. She saw Teju’s eyes scan the courtroom and settle on her. The moment their eyes locked, he seemed to anticipate what she was thinking and blocked the only exit from the courtroom. It was clear he was making sure she could not get out.
Justice Douglas sprang up, forgetting for a brief moment then as if comporting herself with considerable effort, she mouthed the words “thank you” to Kofo and then took her seat in a dignified manner that had seemed absent from the beginning of proceedings that day.
Olu turned and stared Saranja full in the face and then shook his head. Slowly, he turned back to the now seated judge and said “I would like to call Retired AIG Amedu Saranja to the witness stands”
“Please go ahead,” Justice Douglas said. Taju was by now seated.
Saranja stayed put where he was, not responding to Olu’s invitation.
Olu walked back to where he was seated and pointed at him “sir, would you be kind enough to take the stands?”
Saranja shot him a look that would be lethal to an elephant in one dose and then shuffled up, deliberately taking his time.
The clerk promptly administered the oath to him after which he waited for Olu’s questions to begin. Rather than ask any questions, Olu produced a tape and a small tape player from his jacket side pockets and Maro volunteered the speakers they had used a week earlier to listen to Dr. Obochi’s recording a week earlier.
Saranja and Justice Douglas looked at Olu curiously, wondering what he was doing.
“I would like the court to adopt this tape as evidence,” he said.
Justice Douglas waited for an objection cry to ring out from the defense but when none came, she said “adopted, counsel.”
Olu deftly rigged the playback apparatus and his voice first rang out loud and clear in the now quietly attentive courtroom.
“Hello Olu,” a second voice said. Immediately, Saranja jumped up from his seat and pounded his fists on the rostrum “you bastard doublecrossing two-faced son of a gun!”
Olu paid him no attention, and the tape kept rolling.
“Sir, this case is getting out of hand. I thought it was a regular murder case, where the defendant is really guilty, but things are beginning to say otherwise. There was another murder, this time Ivie, Tricia’s aunt.”
“Oluuuu,” the voice which Saranja’s earlier outburst had identified as his own responded “look, there is a lot of money involved in this, and the girl was becoming a liability. I had to handle her before they got to her and she began singing. Do not worry, like I promised, you’ll be well taken care of when this is done.”
“Taken care of? That could mean I end up like Ivie, as a lose end too,” Olu’s voice said
“Haa, Olu, I would not do such a thing to someone who was of such service to me now,” Saranja’s voice said.
“But it seems Ivie was of service to you sir. I wonder, what kind of service. And I begin to wonder if it wasn’t beyond being a mole in Kofo’s camp to ferret documents to you. Was she asking for money?”
“Olu, you are smart,” Saranja cooed. “She was becoming greedy, that girl. All she helped us do was arrange for her niece to be there, and then get us the key that gave access to Bruno’s place so we could enter without a disturbance. She was supposed to get just ten percent before, but she began to ask for half of my share. So apart from being a liability, you see she had become greedy. So I killed two birds with one stone by taking care of her”
There was an uproar in the courtroom and Olu stopped the tape. The prosecution was in particularly wild jubilation. It took several shouts of “order!” by the clerk for the courtroom to settle.
Olu then turned to Saranja, whose eyes were now bloodshot and asked
“Sir, confirm before this court that the voice on that tape was yours and you indeed had that conversation with this prosecution counsel with the view to induce him to somehow manipulate proceedings in this court?”
“Damn you Olu, damn you!” Saranja screamed
“The witness will do well to watch his tongue and answer the questions directly or he will be held in contempt of this court.” Justice Douglas said sternly.
“Mr. Saranja, please answer the question. Was that you on the recording?” Olu repeated.
“It appears to be so,” Saranja growled.
“That would be all,” Olu said and turned to Taju said “your witness”
Taju stood up with a sheet of paper in his hand and then asked
“Mr. Saranja, you mentioned a large sum of money involved in this matter, a sum that would have enough to settle the prosecution had he decided to play ball. Would you care to tell this court about the source of this money?”
“I am not a poor man,” Saranja said “money for the likes of him would not be a problem.”
“Haa, good sir, would this money happen to be the insurance payout of four million pounds from Mr. Bruno’s life insurance policy?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Saranja responded gruffly.
“Mrs. Ujah, who happens to be the sole beneficiary of this policy, filed claims for the insurance all the way in England, just hours after Mr. Bruno’s death, with complete papers. It is curious that a few weeks before Mr. Bruno’s death, she began calling you a lot. These documents show this, they are copies of your call records. Also, she called the deceased Ivie a lot too in this time frame. Before that time, you guys were not talking. Now would you care to intimate this court on what this sudden burst of international conversation was about?”
“Calling or talking to anyone has never been a crime, and I am not compelled to reveal the contents of my private conversations in any court. If it’s important, get the recording of the conversations from where you got the call records.”
“Well, the calls were not recorded by the phone companies. However, it might interest you to know that the lady has told us that you kidnapped Justice Douglas’ son in order to coerce her into giving judgment in your favor.” Taju said coyly.
“What! That witch!” a now livid Saranja said, pointing at Aisha. “I had absolutely nothing to do with kidnapping anyone. I even warned her that it was uncalled for, and that I would handle this, but she still went ahead to kidnap the boy. I had no hand in that!”
“Sir, I didn’t mention the lady’s name. I wonder how you are certain it’s this woman. Would you please tell this court who she is?” Taju asked
“That is Mrs. Aisha Ujah, Mr. Bruno Ujah’s wife!” Saranja responded.
“I have no further questions for the witness,” Taju said and stepped down.
“This case has taken a new dimension, as the facts that have been unearthed show that the witness’ involvement in this case goes beyond the mere role of being a witness and requires further investigation. Mr. Amedu Saranja will be remanded in custody until such a time as the state will bring him before this court to stand trial for the murders of Mr. Bruno Ujah and Miss Ivie Ovie.” Justice Douglas said. Immediately, two policemen arrested Saranja, cuffed him and led him away from the stands.
She continued “the evidence before us also shows that Mrs. Aisha Ujah might be somewhat involved in the murder of her husband, Mr. Bruno Ujah. Equally as grave is the fact that she sought to pervert the course of justice by kidnapping Mr. Timi Douglas, the son of the presiding judge. She will be remanded, along with Mr. Amedu Saranja until such a time when she will stand trial for these crimes.”
Again, the policemen immediately arrested Aisha and led her away.
“Finally,” Justice Douglas said, “the evidence before this court shows that it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Miss Tricia Abah did not only suffer a brutal rape from Mr. Bruno Ujah, but she also did not kill him. Therefore, this court declares her discharged and acquitted of all charges before it. Tricia, you are free to go. This court is dismissed.” Then she banged her gavel!
“Cooooouuuurt!” the clerk shouted, but his shout was drowned by the wild jubilation in the courtroom.
For the first time in her career, Justice Douglas did not go straight to the changing room after delivering judgment. She raced straight for her son and smothered him in a barrage of kisses and a smothering hug, thanking Teju and Kofo profusely.
Maro led Tricia away in the commotion.
A month later, Saranja was sentenced to life imprisonment for the two murders. He is appealing the judgment.
Aisha was also sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of her husband and the kidnap of Timi Douglas. All of Justice Douglas’ colleagues personally promised her to exact the maximum penalty. And that’s exactly what they did. She is also appealing the judgment.
The First Lady’s prayers did get answered. Exactly a month after the sentencing, Tricia wedded Maro. And Kofo wedded Teju in the same ceremony. In attendance was the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria himself, along with the very exuberant First Lady, who was mother of the day. Of course, where the president went, all the political bigwigs went. A very proud Chief Dickson reveled in the honor of having all these people at his last son’s wedding. Even the British High Commissioner was in attendance. All the threats of disowning Maro were forgotten. Oloye was absent. Tricia still hadn’t forgiven him, especially when she learnt her mother had died in a road accident when he could have paid for a flight. She specifically asked him not to come. An uncle gave her away.
And so ended Tricia’s Nightmare.
THE NEXT STORY
Finally, Tricia’s Nightmare has given way to a blissful morning, and I’m glad you’ve followed the story all the way. I do hope there are a few of the things I desired we would see about law enforcement in Nigeria were seen. As it is structured, law enforcement here does not promote civil liberties; it in fact curtails and impinges on it. This is one of the fundamental flaws of our democracy – the lowliest of policemen can take away my liberty and there is precious little I can do about it exploring the legal means. I would have to part with monies, or know someone if I hope to be free quickly. We in essence run an illiberal democracy. It is important that we grow to a point where a gun or a uniform does not automatically grant you the right to act as you please. The law gives you legitimacy and not your uniform or your gun. This amongst many other things I sought to point out with this story
I read someone on TL say “Fiction is truth wrapped in a cloak of cowardice”. That fellow cannot be more wrong. I disagree not because there is not some truth in the statement, but with the fact that the word “some” is missing from before the word “fiction”. The generalization and blanketization is what I have and ish with. The “bravery” of writing is not found in the form the writing takes, but in the character of the writer. There can be cowardly and well as bold and critical fiction. In the same vein, truth can be wrapped in cowardice in any of form, type and medium of expressing thought. As an example, whenever I want to open my mouth to speak unnecesarily in praise of my efforts for something I was helped by many to achieve, I remember the story of how the tortoise cracked its shell. I doubt I would remember that lesson as vividly if it wasn’t wrapped in fiction I loved. In fact, fiction has been one of the most powerful tools of expressing truth in ways that last beyond the generations in which they were written, keeping it fresh and accessible for people who did not live in the era in which the events mirrored by the fiction was written. Animal Farm’s representation of the Russian Revolution and communism did a lot more for many of us than any critique written in the same era. Elechi Amadi’s great ponds, Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horsemen, Achebe’s Man of the People are all in this mould. And then, in all honesty, there is writing (as with all other forms of creative expression of thought) that is simply to be enjoyed and entertaining. The writer is at liberty to chose the story he/she wants to tell and if its for pure entertainment or a different purpose. (So all of una wey dey fight me say I no dey do advocacy with my writing, una hear?). Each writer will find their voice, expression of their thoughts in the cadence that their intentions dictate and with the medium and form they chose. Even Jesus resorted to parables to share deep truths about the kingdom. Oya, let me rest this and tell you what’s next
I’ll be taking a one month break from posting fiction series, all through January, to do a few things. I’m in the studio, working on a song called FLY which should be out in a few weeks, and all the preliminary work requires some time. I’ll count on your support to make this a success when it does come out.
I also need to kick-start the 2nd iteration of working on the draft of what I consider my best work so far, Guardians of the Seals. It’s a novel of epic proportions ranging right from the beginning of creation to a time in our future; it is my hope that it will be my Opus Magnum. It is the direct reason I asked on twitter a few days ago if people would read a Nigerian authoured Fantasy tale in the mould of Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, two of my favorite book series. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see, abi? I’ll be shopping for a literary agent for this one and publishing it will take some time; unlike Golden Sands, I cannot do justice to this one self-publishing. I’ll post an excerpt from it next week – it will be the only bit of the book that will be publicly seen before the book is published, so you must miss it not.
I’m also seeking sponsors for making Finding Hubby into a TV and Web Series. If you have any info, connects or you’d like to sponsor, please o, reach me by email. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org
So until February when I bring you a new series (It’s called Broken Mirrors), enjoy…