Like a mix between Hadley Chase and Archer with an excess of melanin, Malick to give you:
The previous military offensive by the Joint Task Force popularly known as JTF had succeeded in driving the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect away from their NorthEast strongholdsinto neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroun. The rest of the insurgents had scattered down south. After several months of relative peace, violence broke out once again. The dreaded sect seemed to
have metamorphosed into a deadlier terror organisation. They also secured a new foothold, this time in northern Cross River.
Victor Isidor was trying to adjust to life in Calabar having fled the war torn town of Ogoja. The terror attacks had rendered the town unprofitable for business and unsafe for life and property. Frequent clashes by the military and the terror organisation made violence a daily occurence.
Residents departed Ogoja in droves and Victor, a Sales Manager for NewLine Electronics barely made the last van of China phones out of town.
Growing increasingly irritated by his inactivity, Victor was finding it hard to be entertained by the western fantasies weaved in Vampire Diaries. Such blatant lies rubbed him the wrong way. Jack Bauer and 24 didn’t impress him either. They should come to Nigeria and witness real drama, he thought with disdain.
When he felt a slight tremor, the familiar rumble of iron gates, he wondered if it was his uncle Sunny. His uncle was an accountant at Unicem. Unmarried at 42, he rarely came home during work hours.
The tolling doorbell informed Victor that it was not Sunny Isidor. His uncle usually called out or whistled whenever he came home. He had a visitor. Jehovah’s Witnesses? He quickly perished the thought, those ones operated on foot.
“Mr. Oden” was the deep response.
“Oh welcome sir, please come in!”
“How are you Victor?”
“I’m fine Sir”
With skin the colour of overripe avocado pear and the presence of a mango tree, Mr. Linus Oden CEO of NewLine Electronics stepped in and the room seemed to shrink in size. If Idi Amin had a twin brother, Mr. Linus Oden could easily be mistaken for him.
Mr. Oden told Victor about a secret safe in his office, He wanted Victor to travel to Ogoja and retrieve a couple of envelopes from the safe for him. Promising to pay Victor’s salary arears once he returned with the envelopes, Mr. Oden stared at Victor as if he was daring him to refuse. Never one to back down from a challenge, Victor agreed to make the perilous journey.
Mr. Oden presented him a leather belt with a rather large G-Unit buckle, 20 thousand naira and a slip of paper with a phone number and the safe combination written on it.
“Save the number, memorize the combination and destroy the paper…”
“Do not call me on the phone till you return…”
“If you have any problems, call that number and tell Frank. Safe journey”
Victor prided himself as the eminence grise of Newline Electronics. His uncle’s invectives against the trip failed to dissuade him. Despite being owed 3 month’s wages, Victor left for Ogoja.
Captain Frank Opigo was a tough looking character, but he must have owed Mr Oden a lot of favours. Movement into and around the town of Ogoja was tightly controlled, but the Army Captain commandeered a Tata truck and directed 4 of his men to accompany Victor to the Office/Showroom at Lavoro Street.
Only a handful of people could be seen on the formerly busy street. Debris littered the streets, some buildings were without windows in the aftermath of the armed conflict. It was clear that the few people left were in the process of evacuating.
With the quartet of soldiers stationed outside, Victor let himself into the Office/Showroom with his set of keys. He quickly located the safe in Mr Oden’s office. Behind the half-empty steel cabinet, behind the wall paper, buried cleverly into the wall, the dull metallic glint of the safe stared at Victor. The callibrated dial of the safe seemed to thump its nose defiantly at him, he ignored it.
He experienced no problems with the combination. The muted clicks as he turned the dial to its correct positions increased his excitement till the safe opened gently. Two envelopes, one contained a certificate of Occupancy for a property in Calabar South, the other contained a Reader’s Digest Magazine of July 1976. Victor retrieved 4 passport photographs from the magazine just like Mr.
Oden had instructed and stashed them in a secret recess on the G-Unit belt buckle. Angry and agitated voices from outside made him straighten up and stand still.
“ON YOUR KNEES RIGHT NOW”
“PUT YOUR HANDS UP RIGHT NOW”
Victor’s heart started racing at a frenetic pace.
“Is Victor there?”
“My name is Sylvia, I just wanted to know if Victor is around”
Sylvia? Victor could not recall any Sylvia, however there was something vaguely familiar about the female voice. He stepped outside.
Light skinned and beautiful, Sylvia had the figure of pain, her presence was disconcerting to the soldiers. Victor could recall her purchasing a Tecno N6. He’d talked her into buying the cheap Android phone like he had done to so many customers. That was several months ago, if she had come to complain about the product, she was out of luck.
“I know her” he told the soldiers
“Is she your girlfriend?” One of them joked obviously relieved at the
absence of any danger.
“Yeah, she’s my girlfriend, let’s get out of here shall we?”
They gawked as all 5’9 of her got up and grabbed onto Victor’s arm. Then they crowded into the Tata truck and reported back to Captain Frank. The Army Captain rifled through the magazine and checked the C of O meticulously, then he directed Victor to leave town via Abakaliki road. There’s been a car bomb explosion along Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja road, it was unwise to travel that route at the moment.
The Journey via Abakaliki road was a circuitous route which meant Victor was unlikely to make it back to Calabar before nightfall. Sylvia’s conversation and seductive skills were not even stretched as she somehow inveigled her way into Victor’s plans. She narrated how Al-Suni had raided their part of town a few days previously, How her father had travelled out of town and how she was mortally scared. However, it wasn’t her touching story that tested Victor’s decision making skills, it was the size and gradient of her breasts and the softness of her skin that captivated Victor all the way to Umuahia where they spent the night. A night of passion and sexual satisfaction.
The staff of Rosberg Hotel could not tell Victor the whereabouts of Sylvia in the morning. Like the prognosticators of sunlight, she had disappeared like the mist. Gone was the C of O and the Reader’s Digest. Try as he could, Victor failed to understand her interest in Mr. Oden’s documents, but he fully understood the gravity of his folly.
Alarmed, he flirted with the idea of calling Mr Oden, but what would he tell him. His business with Captain Frank had also been concluded, but he called him anyway in case she was making her way back to Ogoja. Victor Isidor was relieved to discover that the passport photographs hidden in his belt were still intact. Out of curiosity Victor decided to examine the passport photographs more closely. Although she looked familiar, he could not identify the image of the female on the photographs. However, he noticed that one of the photographs bore a red masking tape on its back. He peeled it off and saw attached to it an 8GB memory card.
The hotel manager could only provide a laptop, it was not enough, so Victor went into town and bought an MTN 3G modem.
Like Kurds distributed across Iran, Iraq and Turkey, the Kanuri are found in Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Nigeria. Their struggle was not just to establish an Islamic ‘Kanuristan’ in sub-Saharan Africa by diplomatic means, it was to terrorize and pressure the present government and people of Nigeria to capitulate. Their long drawn ‘jihad’ has attracted sympathizers worldwide and they were confident that they were close to victory.
Under a folder tagged ‘Hidden Treasures’, Victor isidor was shocked to read correspondences between the first lady of Benue State and Senator Garuba. The contents chilled him to the bones. Discussions and details about the transfer of funds, arms deals and establishment of training camps, kidnap and elimination targets and also the recruitment of mercenaries and hit-men. There was also correspondences between the first lady and an unknown Soldier, details of Army positions, movements and tactics were leaked on those correspondences. Victor wondered whether it was really the first lady or a proxy involved in the correspondences.
He had no idea that the late Abacha was Kanuri or that the first lady of Benue State was his cousin, but the information available to him at the moment explained the source of the first lady’s stupendous wealth and influence.
A video of the first lady having sexual relations with an unidentified man was too much for Victor to take. Something was not right. The hidden camera had captured every detail of the liaison, he wondered if it was staged. At 16:42, according to the timer, the face of the first lady’s sex partner came directly into focus. Despite the full beard, there was something familiar about the features of
Madam’s lover. Like a leopard raising its head to regard the distant hyenas, the lover looked briefly at the camera before taking another dig at his quarry.
There was enough evidence on the memory card to destroy the first lady of Benue State.
Victor wondered how Mr Oden had come into possession of these files. He knew that the man was not beyond blackmail but this was a highly dangerous territory. Victor made up his mind to leave Calabar immediately he had delivred the passports to Mr Oden.
After making sure he was not followed, Victor made his way to establish his rendezvous with Mr. Oden. At Channel View Hotel, two things caught Victor’s eyes immediately he walked into Mr Oden’s Hotel room. A half concealed handgun with the butt poking out from under one the pillows, the next was a Reader’s Digest Magazine similar to the one that had disappeared with Sylvia. Mr. Oden seemed to be only interested in the passport photographs. Once he had received them, he gave Victor a long stare as if to read his
mind, but said nothing.
“But this is only a month’s wages sir!”
“Yes it is and you should leave now for your own good” Mr Oden menaced.
Victor did not hang around after that. As he left, he wondered if the butt of the gun had been deliberately left in view to threaten him.
Victor Isidor arrived Port Harcourt at about 11.00pm and had barely switched on his phone when it started ringing. It was Uncle Sunny. He told Victor that he had just received information that several gun men have stormed Channel View Hotel and murdered Mr Oden and his girlfriend. The female who later identified as Sylvia Bali. Rumour has it that she was the daughter of a former Aide to one the first ladies of the Middle belt.
“…Some say she came with the gunmen but other eyewitnesses claim that she was already in the hotel premises when the assailants struck…”
“Whatever you do, don’t come back here, you can even go to Ghana till things calm down”
“Don’t worry uncle, I’ll be fine, I know exactly what to do”
Although Mr Oden was not a model of morality, Victor always felt a strong attachment to him, he felt he understood his eccentricities quite well and was deeply hurt by his demise.
If they got to Mr. Linus Oden so quickly, they were probably on his trail already. Vicor also wondered whether Captain Frank and his unit had been infiltrated or compromised by ‘bogey’ soldiers?
Victor soon uploaded the sextape on sharebeast.com. It did not seem wise then, but he was glad now that he had made a copy. Then he registered a twitter account and posted the link. Tagging all the major news houses he could google, Victor gradually twit-pic’ed the hidden treasures.
Victor had left Chinda’s flat before day break. Fugitives must learn to be nocturnal he thought as he hurried towards ABC Transport Company, he had to be on the first bus out of town. The headlights of a car blinded him briefly as he neared the bus station. His thoughts were suddenly stymied as the vehicle that pulled beside him. He never believed in ghosts until he saw Sylvia seated on the passenger seat. Behind the steering wheel of a Tata truck, a look of amusement over his rugged features, a familar voice greeted him softly.
“Hello, Victor” Captain Frank whispered.
I dunno..I just dunno, all these writers with their big words. “Prognosticator”?? What is that? One thing I’m sure of, y’all going to be noticing Tata trucks now. Hehe..
But Malick can write sha..
We continue this on Tuesday with the final trio of writers: @Haemlet_, @naijamd and @Sagaysagay
Peace to mankind.