“Could you please allow us pass ma’am?” Inspector Kofo said, getting impatient.
The young woman seemed to have frozen in her tracks and was blocking their entry into the house now. Clearly, she could see the bruising of her face and on her wrists, signs she had been in a struggle with someone who was physically stronger than her. She hated men who would descend on women they were supposed to protect and beat them up. But the highest on her hate list was men who raped women.
She had been a police officer for fifteen years and had watched less competent male officers rise above her for the simple reason that she was a woman. She had fervently fought against the rule that female officers had to seek the force’s approval in their choice of husband, when no such rule existed for male officers who wanted to get married. Not that she wanted to get married though. She had made her mind up long ago that she didn’t need men. She had adopted a girl and that was it for her. Her antecedents had brought her to the media’s attention, and the police had been embarrassed.
The president had ordered the IG to promote her properly and she had gotten to the Police Superintendent rank within a two years. And she had become a personal favorite of the First Lady. It was then she floated the idea that she had harbored for years but hadn’t been able to make happen. With presidential support, of course enabled by the First Lady, the Special Rape and Domestic Violence Squad had been formed, with Kofo at its head.
When the call had come into the Lagos State Police emergency number that morning, the operator had passed the details on to the detective on night duty, Detective Adams. He had contacted her just as she was getting dressed for work at 6:30AM and she had been in the office fifteen minutes later. Adams and the first detective to resume that morning had joined her to visit the Surulere address that the caller had given.
Now, as she gently moved the lady who had given her name as Tricia aside, her trained eyes quickly fell on the corpse. Adams stayed back to watch over the girl, as she crossed over to the other side of the room in two quick strides with Samuel, the other detective.
Kofo knew the lady was lucky that it was rape that brought them here and hence the SRDV was first on the scene. If any of her colleagues in the regular force had been on the scene, the girl would have been slapped severally by now. She calmly examined the man. The knife was sticking out of his chest, but it was not the first place it had cut him. There were slashes on his hands as if he had been defending himself, and a gash in his neck. She went around the house and she checked every door and window. No sign of forced entry anywhere. The only door that wasn’t intact was the door to what seemed to be Tricia’s room. The house was not scattered, so the assailant hadn’t been looking for anything. Everything pointed to the Tricia. Except that she was a small woman, and it would have taken superhuman strength for her to confront someone the dead man’s size even with a knife. And in her gut, she didn’t feel Tricia was the murderer. The years had taught her to follow that first gut feeling.
She made the necessary call to the station to arrange for the body to be taken in and to let them know that this had moved from an ordinary rape case to a murder case. She turned to Adams “Arrest this woman; she will be going to the station with us.” Immediately, Adams snapped his handcuffs out and they went onto Tricia’s hands. She was too numbed to struggle.
That morning, far away in Bonny Island, Maro Dickson got out of his bed and went through his morning ritual. He had gotten fat in this Bonny. The laid back, all issues handled life was even more than what he was used to at home. And as the last son of Chief Dickson, his life had been real luxury. But this was his first stint at making his own money, and it felt much better than spending daddy’s money, brothers’ money, sisters’ money and all the not-Maro money. It’s not like there was an awful lot to spend money on in Bonny though. He hardly ventured out of the NLNG areas to the poverty ridden city that surrounded the Europe in Nigeria NLNG area of the island.
His morning ritual involved reading his favorite blogs – tlsplace where he would read whatever madness TL had managed to think up, and the Naija gossip blogs for all the juicy gist beyond the shores of his Bonny. The only ish he had with most of the gossip blogs was that they all seemed to have almost the exact same stories and scoops. Whatever, he still devoured them voraciously. The headline screaming at the top of the page seemed promising. It said “Lagos Runs Girl Murders live in lover,” with a warning of graphic images after the cut. Like anyone heeded those warnings at all. He clicked on the link and saw the image of a dark, good looking man who seemed to be in his early forties. Right beside him was another picture of his corpse, with a knife laid beside it. And right below his image was the image of him, a pretty woman and two kids. He guessed that was his family. He wondered why a man with such a cute family would have a live in lover. He always could never understand these things. He sure hoped the image of the lover who had murdered him was there o. He scrolled down and he immediately wished he hadn’t. It hit him in the face like a Hulk Hogan round-kick; he didn’t see it coming and he unconsciously gasped and then exclaimed “Trish!” The image of the young girl in handcuffs in nightwear was none other than the woman his father had said was a good girl from their area, his own Tricia. He replayed the numerous conversations his father had had with him on the matter. His two brothers were separated from their wives and it seemed his father laid the blame squarely on the fact that they had married Lagos and Abuja girls, city girls wey don tear eye, as he would say. Hence the advice that he marry a good girl from their hometown. And here was the same “good” girl shamed for the whole world to see, shagging a married man. And she was now a murderer. He picked his phone and called his father.
That morning, just as the police was entering Bruno’s house in Lagos, Mr. Abah was woken up be heavy knocking on his room door. He wondered which of his wives would have the effrontery to rudely interrupt his sleep like this. He really didn’t have to wonder. There was only one of them who would not wait for him to wake up, but would actually wake him up if she needed to. And he knew better than keep her waiting. Mama Eduvie could bring down a storm if she actually wanted to. She had been his first wife, and was the only one that knew him when he was just Jolomi. Now, he had grown to be a respectable man in his village, acquired a chieftancy title and everyone called him Oloye. Of course, a man of his caliber could not have only one wife. In the period since then, he had added two other wives to his family and they had borne him something Mama Eduvie had been unable to – male children that would carry his name.
“This woman, what is it!” he shouted in his guttural voice from inside the room and he walked to unlatch the door. As soon as he did, she rushed in and he saw she had come for one of the fights he often wondered if she periodically rehearsed. “Oloye, you have done it! You have ruined me!”
“What exactly have I done this time?” he asked, the irritation in his voice evident.
“You have killed my daughter. Because she wasn’t one of your precious boys, you decided to just kill her”
This was one of the things that annoyed him the most about women. He knew Eduvie was not literarily dead, yet she would not just get to the point. “I know my daughter is alive, so what has happened to her?”
“When we asked and begged you to give her some money to get a house in Lagos, you refused, when I know that you had given money to that your foolish new girlfriend to open a salon.”
He was angered now. How dare this woman come and think of telling him how to spend his money? He had trained her daughter in school, hadn’t he tried as a father? “Woman, if the reason you came to wake me up is because you want to quarrel about something in the past, I will ban you from coming here again. Is she now sleeping under the bridge? Abi is she not with Ivie? Is it not better for a young girl to have someone supervising her than to be living on her own in Lagos?”
“See your life?” she said, clapping her hands all around him. “You were so uninterested in your daughter. Ivie could not accommodate her, but arranged for her to stay in one room in her friend’s three bedroom flat.”
Oloye sighed. “So,” he said, rolling his eyes in exasperation “the problem has been solved!”
“Solved ke? Ivie’s friend is a man! And the man raped our daughter overnight!”
Oloye nearly had a heart attack. “What!” he screamed. “How could you let my daughter stay alone in a house with a man who has not paid her bride price and carried wine to our people?”
She was thoroughly disgusted “Is that what is worrying you now? And who let her stay there? Was it not you? If you had given her money, would she have been in a situation that would have made her stay with the man?”
“SHUT UP WOMAN!” he shouted “I always knew that your Ivie was up to no good.”
But she would not be cowed by his display of temper. “You see what your womanizing has done to your daughter. After three women are in your house, you are still using the money you are supposed to take care of your family to pursue that useless bleaching Carol.”
He raised his hand to slap some sense into her but stopped himself and turned towards his cabinet. He picked his phone and dialed his daughter’s number. It rang and rang out. “Now why is this girl not picking her call?” he mused. Then he turned to her and asked “have you spoken with her yet?” “Yes, briefly before I came here.” He went into his safe and brought out some money. “You need to go to Lagos immediately. This is not something you hear over the phone, you must see with your own eyes. I will make sure the fool that laid his hands on my daughter faces the music.”
About 3hours later, Oloye was hurrying his wife to leave for Lagos, when a call came in. “Hello”, the voice from the other end said and he recognized it as Chief Dickson MFR. “Hello Chief,” he said, almost bending over respectfully even over the phone, as if Chief Dickson was there to see him. He, Oloye was a chief majorly in name. Chief Dickson was a chief in name, wealth and power. He had even been endowed MFR, so he had all the right connections. Arranging that his first daughter should marry the chief’s last son had been a coup he was pleased with himself for executing. So when the chief said the next thing, he nearly dropped his phone. Chief Dickson said “We will be coming over to your house to discuss your daughter and our son. We have come upon some disturbing news about her. We will be there by two this afternoon as I’ll be coming from Warri with my wife”.
With that, he hung. He didn’t bother to mention this to his wife. He drove her to the park quietly.
Somewhere in London, a blond haired man’s phone rang.