Hear ye, hear ye (and tell a friend) I’ll be launching my debut novel, Golden Sands this Sunday, 28th of October in La Mango Restaurant, 2 Adekunle Fajuyi Street, G.R.A, Ikeja. Time is 3pm. Book reviewer is publisher Seun Salami @seunwrites. There’ll be book signed by me on sale that day, plus music from Dipo of “Im Oladipupo, I can be your man” fame. And food there is absolutely amazing. You do not wanna miss it otherwise, I’ll order your LASTMA uniform fresh from the factiory
I’m sure you’ve enjoyed Oyin Clegg’s Finding Hubby as you are now enjoying Tricia’s Nightmare. I’ll be glad if you came out on that day and support cest moi. I’ll be giving away a N15,000 pack of dead sea beauty products (absolutely fantastic stuff) courtesy Oakleaf Pharmacy.
Click on http://www.facebook.com/DeadSeaPleaseures and like their FB page, they have got great stuff.
Enjoy today’s Tricia’s Nightmare and see ya on Sunday
Kofo was troubled as she stood at the door of the Surulere flat for the second time that day. The statement she had read was as good as passing verdict of guilty on Tricia. She knew the girl hadn’t written the statement and had probably signed under duress. She had then decided to go back to the house and look around again. Already, the knife had been taken in as an exhibit. No finger print technology, so there was no hope of identifying anyone with that. If the girl was charged for murder, then she would be convicted in all likelihood. She had to get evidence of rape actually happening that night and get her lawyer to reduce the charges to manslaughter.
Mrs. Aisha Ujah sat in the insurer’s office with her lawyer. She had assumed that things would go seamlessly with the claims but there had been a hitch. She had submitted a scanned death certificate and the Peekay Insurers required her to submit an original in her claims. The blonde account manager was saying “Mrs. Ujah, we are so sorry for Mr. Bruno’s loss. He was a dear client. However, if you peruse the terms of the insurance contract,” he handed over a copy of Bruno’s life insurance policy to her and another to her lawyer, both with green highlighter marks and continued “you will see that for claims exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, we are required by policy to carry out due diligence before settling the claims. Mr. Bruno’s assured sum is two point seven five million pounds and falls into that category.”
Her lawyer looked defeated. It was indeed clearly stated. “So Mr. Clarke, the policy says you have ninety days to ascertain and either settle the claim or refute it, right?”
“I’m afraid so,” he responded, running his hand through his thick hair.
“Well,” Aisha said, “I guess we will wait then.” She stood up and the lawyer shot up with her. “Thanks for your time Peter,” she said as she shook him and then turned to leave. Almost as soon as they left, he called Teju “When are you leaving?”
“Peter…” Teju responded, rolling his eyes “I thought you English were the epitome of courtesy”.
“Oh please. She just left here with her lawyer. I’ve bought us sixty days.”
Teju knew Peter was lying about the number of days, but he chose to let it pass. “I’m in luck, since I’m Nigerian, I can fly into Nigeria without visa requirements. I’m off tomorrow morning.”
“Good,” Peter mumbled and he cut the call off.
“He expected that you would for your accommodation in kind, Tricia. Bruno is an ex, and I didn’t assume he was serious about it at the time he mentioned it.” Ivie tried to reach out and hold Tricia’s hands as she spoke, but Tricia recoiled from her touch.
“So you knew he would try to sleep with me, yet you asked me to go and live with him?” Tricia asked, her eyes holding embers of hate.
“I didn’t know he was going to do anything,” Ivie answered, “and if he had asked, couldn’t you have managed him better?”
“What the hell are you saying Ivie?” It was Taju. “Managed him exactly how?”
“Look, Taju,” she said, turning to face him squarely “you people are being holier than thou. The Maro boy that she’s dating that couldn’t get his wife to be a proper apartment, is she not shagging him for free? So, how come she cannot give Bruno, who was housing her for free some once in a while that he asked?”
Taju slammed his hand on the table “Ivie are you mad? Are you listening to yourself?”
Tricia stood up and walked to the officer “Take me back to the cell, and tell the DPO I don’t want to see this woman ever again.”
“Eduvie, family is supreme. I’m only trying to help you here, as I was trying to help you when you had nowhere to stay in Lagos, and this is the way you insult me?” Ivie said. Tricia did not even glance back as she was led back to her cell.
Enroute Lagos that day, the station wagon driver hadn’t slept since the previous night. None of the passengers knew he had dozed at the wheels, even with his eyes wide open – until he was heading straight for an oncoming trailer. When their shouts startled him awake, he swerved the wrong way. He ran headlong into the trailer. None of the passengers survived the crash.
Kofo saw the phone lying on the bed. She wondered how her colleagues who had come to collect evidence from the house could have missed a mobile phone. She first checked the last calls made and received on the phone. her mum, her aunt Ivie and a Maro. She made a note to call Maro. The she checked the text messages. She read the panicky messages to her mum and the same Ivie again. “Well,” she mumbled “that establishes that there was a threat to her life from Bruno and the probable time of rape.” She looked around some more and found a cotton bud sealed in a drug polythene container. It seemed to have some gooey substance at its top. She picked that up too. Then she checked the files on the phone. “Smart girl!” she exclaimed, as she saw the pictures of herself and the door that Tricia had taken to record the rape. She put the phone and the cotton bud in a brown paper bag and left the house. As soon as she was seated in her car, she called Adams. He picked up on the second ring and answered in the stiff way he normally spoke to her “Hello ma,” he said on the other end of the line. She didn’t mind the stiffness; better stiff than unnecessarily chummy. “Have you found out who was assigned to her case?” she asked him. “Yes, I have,” he responded and there was dead air for a split second when she waited for him to tell her who it was and he waited for her to ask. She broke the silence “Adams, you can tell me who it is now,” she said, the satire dripping all over her words. “It’s Olu Williams”.
“Damn!” she said before she could catch herself. “Okay Adams, thanks,” she said as she recovered and rounded the call off. She wanted to ensure the girl got justice. But if it was difficult before, it had become near impossible now that her arch-nemesis was assigned to the case.
Olu Williams saw this as a straightforward case and he intended for it to be treated as such. He had a record of having convictions in all cases but one under his belt and he wasn’t about to let that number after the but rise to two. And in all honesty, the case was a piece of cake. He had trained as a lawyer, and though in the force, for criminal cases assigned to him, he chose to be both investigating officer and lawyer. The only case he had lost had been when he had allowed one of those lawyers from the ministry take the case. He had muddled it up and lost an otherwise water tight case and made a mess of the job he had done investigating the case. He called his immediate assistant, Yemi ‘Dudu’ Job. Dudu wasn’t the most intelligent man, but he obeyed orders meticulously and he was loyal, a priceless thing in this force filled with overambitious fresh faces. “Arrange for the accused to be arraigned before Okafor at Yaba. She knows the drill and it will give us legal ground to hold her for as long as the investigation requires, which shouldn’t be very long.” “Right away sir,” Dudu answered and swung into action immediately. Olu knew he couldn’t hold the young lady legally for longer than forty-eight hours without arraigning her, otherwise he would be compelled to release her. He cursed whoever wrote that law silently, but this was Nigeria, and where there was a will, they could find a legal way to achieve their aim. They had an arrangement with Magistrate Okafor of the Yaba Magistrate court. Even though they knew that the court was without jurisdiction to try murder, they would still arraign suspected murderers there. They would get a no jurisdiction verdict but critically would have arraigned them, so they could now hold them for longer. The thought crossed his mind that it was legal illegality, but he killed the thought. He did what he had to do to rid the street of criminals, he was the good guy. Plus he remembered that call from AIG Saranja in Abuja. He had to deliver a murder conviction in this case, the AIG had said, and then they would look at his transfer to the presidency. He cracked his knuckles; he absolutely had to deliver.
The officers jumped to attention as Kofo entered the waiting area in front of Olu’s office. If there was a personification of her troubles in the force before she got SRDV created, it was this man. But now, to help Tricia, she had to convince him to set aside their differences and arraign her for manslaughter rather than murder. She waited while his henchman (that’s the mental picture she got when she looks at the guy), ironically called Dudu even though he was almost as light-skinned as an albino, went in to inform him that she was waiting to see him. moments later, she entered the small office. A fading map of Nigeria hung on the wall, alongside different trophies that showed that Olu was an accomplished tennis player. “To what do I owe this honor?” he asked quizzically. She smiled, unready to play his sparring game
“Olu, there’s a case you are handling that I have an interest in. The Tricia case”
“Hmmm,” he said, hand on chin. “Do I recall any such case now?”
“Olu, cut it out. I know you do. I’ve been told you are planning to arraign her at Okafor’s tomorrow.”
“Okay,” he responded, sitting forward. “So I know her. I’m doing standard stuff we do for murder cases. And don’t give me that lecture on the legality of using a magistrate court to hold her. We all do it in the force.”
Kofo wondered how to phrase what she was going to ask “I don’t think she should be tried for murder,” she finally blurted out
“Oh really? And what should we try her for then, please Madam Kofo?”
Kofo counted one to five to calm herself down and ignored his barb “Manslaughter, at most. The man raped her and I have looked at the doctor’s report. Rigor Mortis places the time of death within fifteen minutes of when I presume she was raped, so there was provocation and self defense involved here.”
“Kofo, I am disappointed in you. You just want glory for you glorified squad in this case. What special evidence do you have of rape that our boys overlooked? Or you haven’t considered the possibility of the girl lying that she was raped to justify the cold blooded murder? Evidence, Kofo, evidence.”
“There are pictures taken with her phone. The ‘boys’ missed it when sweeping the flat for evidence.”
His eyes really lighted up for the first time and Kofo saw something pass through them that she couldn’t quite place. “Where is the phone now?” he asked
“Right here,” she said, as she brought out the white blackberry torch. She handed it over to him and he quickly raced to the images. “Have you gotten a doctor’s expert opinion confirming the rape?” he asked.
“No I haven’t” she responded, shaking her head at how she had made such a fundamental mistake.
“Good,” he said and then he checked the image location – memory card. In one swift movement, he opened the phone and extracted the memory card. And broke it into two. And then he looked squarely at her and said “we will try her for first degree murder, and trust me, I will be prosecuting this case myself. And I intend to exact the maximum sentence.”
Kofo stood up without a word and left.