“Control, come in for Jaguar team… Control, come in for Jaguar team”
One of the policemen says into the walkie-talkie as Dayo is handcuffed and being led into the back of the parked Police van. The cacophony produced by honking of cars in the city traffic at midday mixed with the sounds of “Chae! This is a wicked world” to “Chae! Chae! There is God ohh. And He is seeing everything we are doing” to curses and abuses on the ‘supposed’ newlyweds coming from the onlookers is fast turning into a chaotic scene. Police quickly cordons off one lane of the road and tries to hide Bola’s body as much as possible from the public glare. The ensuing traffic is already stretching all the way back to Falomo roundabout and spilling into Awolowo road, and on the Falomo Bridge itself. Dayo is confused and sad at the same time, he cannot understand anything. As he approaches the police van, he takes a glance at his bride still lying by the side of the car apparently still in coma or maybe dead, he can’t say. But the image of Bola lying awkwardly in the booth of his car still wearing the cheerleader costume she wore this morning when they both had sex is the only thing replaying in his mind. His heart palpitates wildly as he goes over the whole sex scenario they had just this morning. He prays silently that Bola is not dead, maybe she is injured, in a coma, or something, but definitely should not be dead or else, he is in big trouble.
“Jaguar team this is control, if you can read me Jaguar team, come in for control” The voice at the other end creaks through the walkie-talkie and cuts into Dayo’s thoughts.
“Control! Jaguar team reading you Lima Alpha Charlie, your signal is 5 over 5. Jaguar team has a papa, area is red-red. Over” the policeman that arrested Dayo replies on the walkie-talkie
“Jaguar team, go ahead with the papa. Over”
“Control, Jaguar team needs an ambulance. We have a mike murder suspect who has been apprehended alongside a whiskey suspect who is now unconscious. Jaguar team discovered a dead whiskey in the booth of their car. Over”
“Jaguar team, ambulance en-route. E.T.A is 5 mikes, I repeat, 5 mikes. Confirm your location is still Alfred Rewane Kingsway Road. Over”
“Control, double affirmative. Over”
“Jaguar team, scorpion team is 1 mike away from you, 1 mike away from you. Hand over the suspect to them for onward transmission to Sierra India Charlie Delta Yaba. And then, you take the dead whiskey and the unconscious whiskey suspect to the government hospital when the ambulance arrives. Confirm you copy. Over”
“Control, copied. Over”
“Alright. Caller from Jaguar team, Confirm your Indian delta? Over”
“Control, Sergeant Major Oscar Lima Uniform on the Romeo. Over” the policeman identifies himself
“Sergeant Major Oscar Lima Uniform, confirm? Over”
“Double affirmative control. Over”
“Tango Yankee Jaguar. Over and Out”
The radio stops creaking. Dayo is still sitting at the back of the police van sandwiched between two other police officers, he cannot decipher most of the things he just heard on the radio between the officer and the person at the other end; but he knows he is in a lot of mess. He could hear them mentioning ambulance and hospital, if Bola was actually dead, he is sure autopsy will be carried out on her if what he usually watches on crime channels about murder investigation is anything to go by, then a DNA test would be carried out when his semen in her, and his body fluid all over her except if… “Except if she has been with another person after that morning sex” he thinks within himself “Common. No woman could be that loose, she was with you few minutes before you changed into your wedding attires and drove out to church in your car. And your car did not leave the car park of the hotel until you drove it out yourself, and then parked it under the watchful eyes of the church’s security men. So how would she have gone somewhere else, remain in the same costume and come back dead inside your booth? Think, common. Think…” A voice inside his head seems to answer him. He is perplexed and jittery; he is a murder suspect and probably a murderer now even without actually killing anyone.
“Can you let me call my lawyer please?” Dayo asks courteously.
“You can’t call anyone right now, I will suggest you do so once you get to the station” the police officer to his right replies him courtly. This is his first encounter with the Nigerian police; prior to this time, he perceives them as rude and unprofessional, and in this situation, if his perception about them was anything to go by; he would have been beaten and assaulted pretty well by now. But to his surprise, they are calm, apart from their initial reactions that greeted the discovery of Bola’s body in his car booth.
“Please, what about my wife? Is there anybody attending to her?” he asks again turning to the same officer who answered him earlier.
“You mean your accomplice sir?”
“You have to believe me officer, she’s my wife. We are just coming back from our own wedding at the Catholic Church of the Assumption, Falomo. You can go there now and ask anybody in the church, even the officiating ministers will still be in the church with our family members now. We are just driving ahead to the reception venue, please, we didn’t kill anyone. We can’t kill Bola. She is my wife’s sister. Please.” He pleads with the officers, turning from one to the other with teary eyes. No response from both of them.
“Sir, your transport is here, and I’m sure you will be able to call your lawyer once you get to SCID Panti. But for now, I will advise you not to say anything until your lawyer is present. I don’t know if I believe you or not, but you have a very bad case here. And as for your supposed bride, she will be properly attended to, I’m sure she is just feigning shock in the first place. But one of our well trained officers is giving her first aid treatment right now until the ambulance arrives, and I can categorically tell you there is no injury suffered from her fall; if that will make you feel better” the officer who spoke on the radio earlier and is now standing beside the van tells him as he opens the door and motions Dayo to come and join another police van that has just arrived.
(4 DAYS AFTER THE WEDDING) SCID PANTI
Odion paces back and forth. Dayo is sitting on one of the two plastic white chairs facing each other in the small roomwearing a tee shirt, a jean trouser and a pair of leather slippers. A small mattress is on the bare floor, and his hands are no longer cuffed. He is sweating profusely and seems perplexed. Standing up, he wipes his brow of the immense amount of sweat that had accumulated there; he moves closer to Odion.
“Odion please stop pacing, I beg you. You have done this before; you have handled criminal cases before, and I know you can help me, I didn’t kill anyone and you know it”
Odion stops pacing, turns to him and let his gaze rests on him for a while. The cramped room is tense as both men stare at each other without saying a word. Odion bites his lower lip, shakes his head, and continues pacing.
“Odion, please don’t do this to me, you are scaring me already. You know I didn’t kill anyone, and I have just been held here for the past four days even without any concrete proof. Come on, Odion say something to me please” he pleads with him again.
Odion pauses again, and takes another look at him before he replies him.
“Dayo, I am just wondering why you lied to me when you know for sure the police would eventually find out the truth. Why am I your lawyer if you can’t tell me the truth? Why would you make me look like a fool in front of this people? I told you the first day how much I tried to secure your bail, but the police refused because they concluded this is a clear murder case, since the body was found in the booth of your car. I also told you how I had to negotiate with them to keep you in this holding room so that those boys in the open cell will not kill you before you even get a date in court, and so I can adequately prepare my brief at least to convince the court to grant you bail. But you still lied to me” Odion says with anguish in his voice.
“But I didn’t lie to you; I didn’t kill Bola, why would I kill my wife’s sister?”
“There you go again. Bola is your wife’s sister and you told me she came to your room the morning of your wedding to seduce you; then you eventually had sex with her against your wish, after which you told her to go, and she left after apologizing for the act. Right?”
“Yes, that was what happened. I didn’t know what came over me, I was inside her before I realized it, then I stopped, told her to go, and that was it”
“So, if that was what happened, how come there is a video recording of both of you having steamy sex in the passenger seat of a blue Toyota Sienna car at the car park, 10 minutes to the time you left for church? Hun, how come?”
Dayo’s eyes widen at Odion words, his mouth opens and closes again, but no words … he is in shock and disbelief. “A video of Bola and I? Who made it? Is someone intentionally trying to frame him for Bola’s death? Did Bola commit suicide and tried to frame him for it before the act? Was that her exit plan all along?” he asks himself as he stares at Dayo, still no words…
“Oh well, I see you have nothing to say to that. Bad news is you are being charged with first degree murder because they are sure Bola’s death is premeditated. They believe you killed your wife’s sister because she possibly threatened to expose you on your wedding day”
“Ahhhhh! My God! That was not what happened. I swear to you Odion, that was not it” Dayo says with tears streaming down his cheeks
“Hearing starts in three weeks; I suggest you start telling me nothing but the whole truth”
Odion says calmly.
Police radio language
Mike – Male, Minute (in this case)
Whiskey – Woman
E.T.A – Estimated time of arrival
Papa – Problem