17 Awosika : Episode 8
Hi, welcome back.
Apologies for the delay.
If you’re here for the first time, I’ll suggest you read the previous episodes.
President Stephane Njossou is a tall huge framed man, dark in complexion.
He has an appearance of that of an Old General, very firm stare and piercing eyes. He had served in the military for over 25 years.
His friendship with Gen. Osuji started when their different government’s sent them abroad for training in Sand grouse in the United Kingdom.
They were both military students with promising futures, decades later the friendship they shared had turned sour; they are now enemies at war.
President Njossou arrived Muritala Mohammed International Airport with only 5 security details unlike him, he walked through the arrival terminal of the airport, as he walked along he looked through the terminal for the people Gen. Osuji sent to pick him up for one, and to also see how he can beat Nigeria’s design with the new international airport been built in Douala.
The V.P’s aides recognized him immediately they saw him coming out of the arrival terminal.
A middle-aged light man approached President Njossou, as he moved towards the president, his security detail stopped him a few steps away from the President, the middle aged man stopped and introduced himself as Colonel Aliu and proceeded the message sent by the Vice President, General Osuji. The President and his entourage followed Colonel Aliu to the transportation provided by the V.P.
Earlier, the V.P placed a call to President Njossou after he got confirmation from the kidnappers that they wanted the prisoner released in 3 hours, all the V.P wanted to do was update President Njossou about the situation of things, but he insisted on being around when the exchange would happen. V.P tried his best to dissuade him from coming to Nigeria but all his pleading fell on deaf ears, he told him that he was already on his way to Nigeria, that the V.P should arrange for transport to bring them together.
The V.P had booked the Presidential Suite at the Protea Hotel, Ikoyi Westwood, they were in the hotel waiting for the arrival of the Cameroonian President, he was awaiting the presence of 2 visitors, the President and Isiaka Ogbomo.
At the Ikoyi Prisons, Kelechi was thinking hard about the awkward phone call he had with the Vice President, he wasn’t sure if he could go through with it or not, he could be a rich man or he could go to prison.
Kelechi’s mind kept rambling here and there, he was sitting in his office abandoning his own chair on the other side of the table, sitting in the visitor’s chair, crossed his legs over each other, lost in thought, staring blindly at the open window.
He knew how much he would lose and how much he was to gain in whatever decision he took. The V.P had promised to pay him a whooping N50 million to break out Isiaka Ogbomo, a federal prisoner.
The story of Isiaka Ogbomo is what people tell around of how he was a traitor or a hero , his rebellion against the government, plotting of a coup, thinking hard about what his fellow colleagues at his office would think of him when they found out that it was him, not the radical sect, Boko Haram executed the explosion at the prison, as the media was planned to proclaim.
Kelechi made up his mind to go ahead with the plan, he placed a call back to the V.P’s private line to inform him that he had agreed, the V.P asked him to send his account number, he asked his accountants to credit N25 million into Kelechi’s account immediately, and also arranged for someone to drop explosives for Kelechi.
Kelechi called his own little trusted cabinet at the prisons and informed them of the offer from the Vice President, Kelechi’s allies are very trustworthy, he went on to show them the alert he had on his phone for the half of the proposed payoff, they were all astounded, Kelechi promised them N20 million out of the N50 million, they all agreed and the plan was in place.
The plan was to blow up some part of the prison with the explosives supplied by the V.P, make sure Isiaka wasn’t around the area, put some prisoners around where the explosion will occur but make sure no one loses their lives, so they can rush the victims to the hospital and then sneak Isiaka into another ambulance heading to the hospital. If anyone asked about Isiaka, they would tell them, he was killed by the explosion. He didn’t make it to the end of the surgery, citing several cuts, internal bleeding as injuries to his body, he was buried immediately according to Muslim rights, since he was a Muslim.
The V.P has given them the information on where to bring Isiaka, receive their balance and return back to their office and plan for their retirement.
It sounded like a full proof plan to them.
Kelechi’s plan worked well, he was in the same ambulance with Isiaka, as soon as the ambulance left the Prison premises, Kelechi told the driver, also one of his accomplices to drive to Ademola street off Awolowo road. The ambulance stopped in a quiet region of the street and Kelechi and Isiaka went into a tinted 2004 Toyota Camry, Isiaka had a change of clothes here and the car reversed and sped off towards Protea Hotel on Awolowo road.
It took long for the President Njossou to arrive the suite where the V.P was waiting, pacing back and forth and putting the last detail into his plans to make sure nothing goes wrong.
President Njossou entered the tastefully furnished suite of the V.P, the two retired Generals had a prolonged hand shake something that should have ended in a few seconds, their aides could sense tension in that room.
President Njossou broke the silence and said
“General, I’m sorry about the loss of your son”
V.P replied with a straight face “I’m sure they were acting under your instructions”
President Njossou replied “Raymond, I don’t have anything to do with Chibuzor’s death, SJ was acting purely on his own” this was the first time anyone was calling him by his first name in years.
V.P replied “But you instructed him to kidnap my son and humiliate my family in front of the world”
President Njossou replied sternly raising his voice higher than usual “Don’t put this on me, Raymond, your government locked my son up for over 12 years, a government you were heading”
V.P replied “Your son was out of line”
President Njossou replied “So, you left him out to dry”
V.P replied “if it wasn’t me, your son would have been hanged, or killed by a firing squad”
President Njossou replied “So, i should thank you for putting him in prison for over 12 years”
V.P screamed out “I never sold him out that he wasn’t Nigerian that he was Cameroonian”
President Njossou replied “Your soldiers were killing innocent Cameroonians at the Bakassi, raping our citizens, it was a crime against Humanity, the World Court ordered you out of there, but you bought your way out of a prosecution at the U.N”
V.P lashed back “Those were our soldiers acting out on their own, not the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you’re in no place to judge Nigeria, how many years have you been in Power? ”
President Njossou lashed out “What happens in my country isn’t any business of yours, they were wearing your Military Regalia, with your flag on the shoulder of the uniform, my son was only trying to minimize the casualties, it’s bad enough that he had to watch his own people being murdered by your soldiers”
V.P calmed his voice and replied “I understand your point but he should have been silent or moved away”
President Njossou lashed back “That’s the thing about you Nigerians, very selfish, not interested in how it affects the rest of the world but you, you Nigerians are the plague of Africa, lavish lifestyle, you always feel you’re the smartest, imposing your will on people around you.”
V.P replied with increased voice tempo “I took your son like my own; he lived with my family for more than 20 years and now, am the bad person? ”
President Njossou lashed back “The point is you left him when he really needed you, all you could have done was tell your soldiers to leave me at Bakassi, I would have picked him up instead you brought him back to your Sodom & Gomorrah and tell all sorts of lies about him, You even publicly called him a terrorist, lets tell the whole world what really happened at that Special Operations mission, ehn? You disowned him, nobody could trace him to you, you wiped your own slate clean of ever knowing him or connecting him to you.”
V.P replied “You dint have to hire mercenaries to kidnap my son, did you have to do that?”
President Njossou cut in “What has all those years of peaceful talks brought me?”
V.P replied “Well, he is on his way now, let’s hope we can cleanly close this off”
President Njossou replied “Now that you’ve felt the same thing I have been feeling for over 12 years, you’re moved to release my son?”
There was a knock on the door of the Suite, the two General stopped their argument as the V.P’s security aide went to open the door, kelechi came in with Isiaka.
Isiaka saw his father and the V.P, Isiaka looked around the room, he could smell the tension in the room between the 2 Generals who were once friends but now it’s more like a cold war between them.
He moved towards his father, President Njossou and said “I knew you would come for me, father”
The both of them locked in a tight embrace; Isiaka has grown a huge beard more like a Islamic cleric.
The father/son moment was cut short when the V.P’s phone rang and it was Zee, the V.P picked the call.
V.P answered “Hello”
Zee replied “Hello Mr. Vice President, heard your wife almost beat you to death, yesterday?”
V.P replied “Is that why you’re calling?”
Zee replied sarcastically “Finally, the V.P has grown some balls, meet me at the food court of the Palms in 1 hour, greet President Njossou for me, hope to see him there, tell him he doesn’t have to pay for the extra work am doing.”
The line went dead.
V.P passed the message to the rest of the room, called Morris & Bernard to update them about the venue.
Bernard told the VP that the Army special ops team have arrived, currently been briefed about the situation.
The V.P then asked, “Bernard, how do you advise we proceed”
Bernard replied “We need to put as little people on this as possible, since he said he’s aware of President Njossou’s arrival to Nigeria, I would say only the two of you and Isiaka Ogbomo should go, we will infiltrate the rest of the surrounding.”
V.P replied “Okay, what about the Army Special Forces?”
Bernard replied “I have something special for them.”
President Njossou spoke up “I should return to Yaoundé now, since I have my son back and leave you to deal with your fellow maniac SJ ”
The V.P moved closer to President Njossou, looked him straight in the eye and whispered, “I will make sure, you don’t get out of this country if anything happens to my son”
President Njossou replied whispering in the V.P’s ear “Are you threatening me?”
V.P moved back and replied “If you see it as that, then it is a threat. You have your son back, help me get mine back”
President Njossou replied “Why should I? After all what you put my own son through”
V.P replied “Remember when we were boys at Sand grouse, before Politics, we used to watch out for each other, please do this last thing for me, help me get my son out of the hands of those lunatics you employed”
President Njossou agreed and they all settled down as the V.P asked his Aide to arrange for transport to the Palms.
S.O.D was having the busiest days of all, new Special Forces operatives just came in from Abuja, Lanre Smith just finished briefing them about the Kidnap situation, Malik has yet to regain full recovery.
Bernard was brainstorming with Nkem about how to proceed at the Palms, how to infiltrate the place, plant secret cameras, surround the place and all other intelligence works.
Lanre proceeded to Kemi’s holding cell, she was asleep, he gently tapped her, she woke up and sat, Lanre wasn’t the best person at breaking news.
He kept looking down anytime their eye contact lasted for more than 3 seconds. He finally got the courage; he started by saying “I know the last couple of days have been very strange for you and I commend your courage during the cross fires and the interrogation”
Kemi asked “Have you found the boy”
Lanre settled down to sit by her side and continued “We haven’t found the boy but as it is now, there is exchange taking place somewhere on the island but that’s now why am here”
Kemi asked “Is everything okay” as Lanre couldn’t keep a look at her face.
Lanre continued “I am sorry to inform you that your mother is dead, she was strangled to death in her room.”
Kemi broke down into tears, slowingly falling off the comfy bed onto the ground; she was weeping profusely blaming her mother’s death on her talking to the S.S.S.
She blamed Lanre for the death of her mother, saying “You should have sent the police to her place immediately I told you.”
Lanre replied “We did, our people got there about 10 minutes after you told us, she was already dead then, we think he has someone else in your bank who saw us while we questioning you in your manager’s office.
Kemi was still weeping like a baby; Lanre stood up and told her he was going out now that she will be released when he gets back.
Lanre, Bernard, 2 S.O.D agents and Team /Zuma left the S.O.D building at Oregun, heading for the Palms in Lekki, a few handful agents were left in the building with the injured Malik in the house.
The One hour period had only 5 minutes to elapse, S.O.D agents were planted in several places, they didn’t have time to do a full personnel infiltration, but they had agents dressed like Mr. Bigg’s staff, Swatch store attendants, Charcoal’s attendants, some agents were playing date in the food court.
President Njossou, V.P and Isiaka Ogbomo walked from the back entrance, from the exit behind Soul Lounge, walked through the Fusion shop turning left, going down the hall way, turning just before the stairs to the Cinema and a tall, frail looking man made hand gesture towards them, the 3 of them walked up to him.
They settled down into table, each one pulled their own green chair and sat down, this is the first time the VP was in the Palms, he would love to have a careful look at the whole place but today isn’t the day for all that.
S.J’s looks familiar, Isiaka was saying to himself but he couldn’t place it.
S.J broke the silence “So, it’s nice to have you all here, the Vice President of Nigeria, President of Cameroun, the rebellious anti-government crusader” laughing to himself
He continued laughing hysterically “I am really proud of myself here, when was the last time the 3 of you were out like this without pressmen all over you, you should thank me for the freedom i just gave you.”
President Njossou replied “I have my son back now, S.J, Let the Vice President’s son go”
S.J answered sarcastically “You think it’s that easy uhn? I have lost men, I have lost resources and this is how it ends?”
President Njossou replied “I paid you well and I am telling you, this is the end of this operation”
S.J replied angrily “No, it’s not, I will be the one to tell you when it’s over” pointing at the two generals.
Lanre was peeping stylishly from the Smoothies shop just be the right of the food court, they were disguised as store attendants, they were muttering incoherently into the miniature receivers on their wrist
Isiaka called out to S.J “K.O???” S.J’s other nickname was K.O, he was such a good boxer that he was nicknamed K.O-Knock Out, he could take on anyone at the Barracks, he was particularly known for his left upper cut, deadly hitter.
S.J replied “Isiaka, that took you a while, I was wondering how long it would take you to recognize me.
Isiaka said to President Njossou “the V.P knows this man; he was one of the lead operatives on that operation at the Bakassi”
S.J continued “Now that we all remember each other, let’s cut the crap and move unto better things like why am doing all this”
V.P asked “S.J, what do you want?”
S.J relaxed into the chair and explained “You see, in Africa, things are very different, as a soldier, we see life differently, it’s basically kill or be killed, the kind of abilities my training has given me is tremendous.
I can kill the 3 of you at this table by just pulling out my gun, putting one bullet each in your head.
That is good just not as much fun as snapping Isiaka’s neck while grabbing the pencil from the schoolgirl doing her assignment at the back of the Vice President and stab him in the heart, driving the pencil into his heart, while grabbing the knife from the chic cutting her chicken directly behind President Njossou and slitting his throat with it.
If I do that, I would have helped solve some of West African’s problem.
President Njossou, you’ve been in power for over 20 years, stealing your people’s wealth and storing in offshore accounts, I know you’re most likely to die in power and then give it to your son, making a country your family’s property.
For General Osuji, you’ve always inflated defence contracts, syphoning billions of taxpayer’s money into your personal purse, Oil bunkering is your expertise, you steal this oil and sell it to other African countries.
If I kill Isiaka, I will be doing the country a big favour because the whole country thinks you’re a terrorist that incites unrest against the government meanwhile no one except the Vice President knows the true story.
So, you can all see that, if I do so, I’m doing every single West African a huge favour but I won’t.
This place is too surrounded, I can smell your agents all around, covering as shop owners, customers everywhere, didn’t you tell them I did a lot of Intel training?
Vice President continued “So, where is my son?”
S.J replied “He’s around; he’s in the car park outside, safely tucked into the boot of a car. I suggest that you tell your idiots to start looking; he might not have that much time on his hand plus his hands are tied and not a lot of air in that car. I will suggest you use your cell phone because my partner has taken some of our boys to S.O.D Oregun office; they’re probably pumping RPGs’ into your building.
So, the intel you have on me and my cohorts are gone, plus am helping purify Nigeria, one corrupt General at a time”
V.P picked up his phone and called Bernard who was at the Pizza place, told him about the car park, several agents moved out of their hiding and went into the car park.
Isiaka started laughing when he noticed the stylish exit from the shops around the food court.
The agents started moving from car to car to see if Chidi would reply to the hitting of the trunk of the car by some sound or movement.
S.J stood up and walked away, the V.P couldn’t go after him, and he had already warned them that there was a bomb in the car Chidi was if they followed him, the V.P would lose his last surviving son.
S.O.D agents were hitting a lot of trunks to see if Chidi was in one but no reply, Lanre wasn’t hitting any car he was only looking and thinking, he was at the park close to the gate, he was looking at the cars then a car at the extreme end of the line where the gate was caught his fancy, it was 2010 Honda Accord, he went the car and tapped on it, he dint hear any sound from it, he tapped it twice again, the car’s alarm started ringing off.
At this point, the car lot was turning into something else because different car alarms were going off, it was getting loud and drawing attention
As he was about to walk away, he heard a sound from the car, he tapped the boot, he heard another tap from the car, he called for the rest of his team, they came and broke open the boot and found Chidi tied naked, they brought him out, the V.P came out after he was called that he’s son has been found.
They moved them back to the second parking lot at the back of the mall where some S.O.D vans were.
Meanwhile, teamZuma were jogging behind S.J’s car as he left the Palms, he parked somewhere in the Oniru Estate and came out of the car, the team stopped and approached him in slow paces been careful about his pose, his hands.
S.J said “I told your people that I will blow their son away and you still tail me?” looking sarcastic
No one responded to his question, he wanted to go into his pocket to get the remote controller detonator but one team Zuma operative shot his hand.
A clinical shot, the bullet from the 9mm handgun destroyed the middle finger of his right hand.
S.J was laughing despite the agonizing pain of a bleeding hand, telling them “you will get the same kind of treatment from Nigeria someday; I was once celebrated like you.”
He continued “I know your orders are to take me but I’m sorry I can’t allow you take me”, He moved to grab his gun, but the team pumped hot bullets into his body, as he fell into the ground, S.J’s body was lifeless.
TeamZuma carried his body back to the Palms to meet the rest of the team.
It has become an unusual day at the Palms, from security people walking around to someone who looked like the Vice President at the Palms, B.K was saying to himself as he was exiting the Palms with different Shoprite nylons of the shopping he came to do, the thought of why a lot of car alarms were going off was beyond him, maybe another Shina Rambo is in town, he made his way out to find out for himself.
If the V.P ever needed a body double, that guy would play it, WOW…he was saying to himself.
As B.K was coming out of the Palms, he saw a group of Soldiers who looked like an elite unit, carrying a dead body, but wait a minute, the guy in front of the people carrying the body looks like their leader, and looks like SEYE, his elder brother!!!!!!!
BK couldn’t believe his eyes, so he moved to where they were, he looked closely and saw it was Seye, he saw that Seye was talking to another man explaining what happened, people were coming to this man, he could hear them call the man Bernard, he was receiving phone calls, yelling out instructions on cleaning up, but his posture from the back was very very familiar.
He went to the place where Bernard and Seye were, he couldn’t believe his eyes, this was Seye and Nnamdi, it was Nnamdi that they were calling Bernard….
Another guy was walking up to them, the Bernard guy called him Lanre, he was walking to Nnamdi.
The thing is BK never forgets a face, so he tried his best to remember the face and BAM! he remembered, He met him at Martins’ office.
Wole!! Wole!!! Martins’ colleague at the law firm, BK was wondering what the heck was wrong with today.
First of all, his own brother was part of what looked like a military elite team and then Nnamdi was also like a senior secret agent of some sort and the craziest of all was Wole, the lily livered colleague of Martins, Wole was also a special agent of some sort.. Too weird a day today has been
This day was getting too weird for B.K.
He approached them and they ignored him like they didn’t know him, like he was out of his mind, he knew he was right, his eyes weren’t deceiving him.
As for Seye, wasn’t he supposed to be abroad, working, how come he was here behaving like a Special Agent or something.
After they ignored him, he went back to his car, since it looked like they were packing up.
He trailed their car back to their bombed command center
The HQ was down to ground, Nkem and several others were dead but Kemi and Malik were still alive because the holding room and hospital were underground.
As the RPGs were launched into the huge warehouse, Nkem and the other agents weren’t in the underground bunkers, they were killed instantly, the impact of the RPGs were felt in the underground but not so much as the warehouse itself.
Zee and some of the area boys came in, to dance over their victory over S.O.D, Malik went to get a gun from the armoury in the underground, a few rooms down where he was, he took a shotgun, loaded it and put some bullets in his pocket, took 2 9mm guns loaded with bullets tucked them into his jeans and told Kemi to stay where she was, she was looking weak and feeble due to the news of her mother’s death but this particular one was scaring her shitless.
Malik took out shot gun, walked up the stairs slowly, he saw the touts screaming all over the place, the neighbours were scared out of their minds, the whole neighbourhood was empty, the roads had been deserted, nobody would believe that Kudirat Abiola way would be this dry by 6pm.
Malik did a count and found out there were just 3, as he climbed up the staircase, he saw one pillar, hid behind shot at one of the touts; the bullet lifted the tout off the ground and smashed his head against another pillar.
The 2 left started shooting frantically at where the shot came from, but Malik had already moved to another pillar, the tout and Zee were walking towards the pillar, the tout was shooting sporadically again until he ran out of bullet, Zee was already hiding behind pillar, as the bullets of the tout ran out, Malik peeped out and hit the second tout in the belly, killing him instantly.
Zee was more experienced, so he still hiding, they were shooting at each other, diving for cover, Zee was moving closer, shooting, Malik was running out of bullets, the pillar Malik was standing behind was weak, the sperkles of the concrete pillar Malik was standing behind fell into his eyes, blinding him.
The concrete was making him bleed, Malik started shooting sporadically as well, but not at anything, trying to scare Zee away but he ran out of bullet.
Zee walked up to Malik as his bullets ran out and as he was about to shoot him, someone shot him from the back, it was Bernard’s shot that killed Zee.
They just arrived and Zee was deaf to his surrounding, Lanre went to bring Kemi out of the holding back up.
Kemi saw Bernard and called out Nnamdi, also seeing BK’s brother Seye was also here, she saw a dead body on the floor who she identified as Uzor, which was the body of Zee.
BK parked behind the S.O.D cars and also entered the compound to see another surprise, what was Kemi doing here and why is she looking so sad, dejected and lean, there is a second dead body which happens to be the body of Uzor, Kemi’s friend, the one she brought home some days ago.
The events of today has been of nothing short of bizarre for BK and Kemi but no one will know the truth of the whole situation, an official press statement will be drafted for what happened at the Palms, the statement will say an action film was been shot and the cameras were hidden.
Kemi was allowed to go home, BK couldn’t believe his eyes, as he was about to leave, Seye and Nnamdi called him, and told him the truth and more importantly, he mustn’t tell anyone.
BK sat on a fallen pillar, thinking hard about everything and wondering why he has to keep such a secret as big as this.
He was busy looking around and thinking how weird the day was until he saw the body of Kemi, who he just recognized as Susan…
I want to thank everyone who has been reading this story week in week out and those who have waited for it to end before they start reading it.
Thanks you once again, I hope you enjoyed reading it.