Through the drive to the Anti-Robbery Squad Cell, any attempt I made at pleading my case was always met with a thunderous slap which always left me cringing in pain. I felt my face heavy and taking my cuffed hands up, i realized my face was so swollen, little wonder why i wasn’t seeing clearly anymore. For some reason, the pain down inside my as* has vanished. When we got to the station, I was dragged down the Hilux van and pushed inside. Behind the counter, I was asked to undress till I had only my undies with me. I had barely undressed, when the officer kicked my buttocks again. The pain of the ordeal with the man that night came calling once more.
“Chineke oooo” I screamed as I held tightly on to my ass.
“Why you dey hold ya nyash?” The officer queried
“Nothing sir” I responded as I groaned in deep pains.
“E be like say you be homo sha… but when you enter that cell, they go show you pepper” He mocked as he slapped the back of my head again before being dragged like a condemned criminal to the cell.
I couldn’t utter any word as all these happened because I know what will follow any word that escapes from my mouth. The smell that came out from the various cells could kill an asthmatic patient within seconds.
“Which cell him dey go?” The junior officer asked the man at the counter with a loud voice to enable him hear his words perfectly. The other officer at the counter came running with a paper as he took down my details and the crime I committed.
“Drug and Gun?” The guy yelled when I told him the allegations levied against me
“This guy go enter cell 3” The guy suggested “Na very serious case be this”
“Haa!! You wan kill am?” The other officer pleaded. From the look of the officer pleading my case, I knew that the cell 3 wasn’t a place a first timer could enter and come out the same.
“Oya carry am go cell 4” The guy finally succumbed to the pleading of the other officer that held me. As we edged closer to the cell, he whispered to me “God don save you today.” I didn’t need an interpreter to show that the cell 3 was something else to behold. We had barely passed the place he pointed to me as cell 3 and I heard a loud sound like that of a gun and the groaning of a human followed very fast.
“You hear that sound?” He asked me
“Yes Sir” I replied with a gentle voice
“Na person leg they commot so with gun, if you know wetin good for you, just talk true if they ask you any question ooo” He pleaded in a mean manner “Because they no go pity you at all”
He had barely finished those words before I went into soft tears. He looked at me and laughed hysterically
“They never start, you done dey cry. I know say you go die for here sha.”
As soon as he mentioned death, the tears started dropping down more than before. We approached the cell and I was pushing inside the cell, I was ordered to show my cuffed hands through the iron protector where I was un-cuffed.
Turning around weakly, I saw about fifteen other guys in different positions clad only on their boxers. I stood for a moment before making my way to a little space beside a very huge guy. Though it seemed that space was avoided but I cared less as it can only get worse.
“Bring your head here” One of the smallest guys in the cell said to me
“Why?” I spoke in English. The laughter that accompanied my statement made me wonder if I cracked a joke of some sort. After the laughter subsided, the little man walked up to me and gave me a life changing slap to the already existing one given to me by the force men.
“Go kneel down for there” He commanded as others watched in anticipation. I didn’t talk further before I gently stood up while still holding on to my face as I made way for the location he pointed at me.
“Jezzz” I yelled while holding on to my nose. That was the place that served as the toilet of the cell. It was already filled and stinking so badly. I wished I could just pass out, but passing out was nowhere to be found.
I tried to hold my breath hard but I couldn’t and finally adjusted to the stink that emanated from that place.
“Wetin carry you come here?” The biggest man asked
“I no do anything ooo, they come say I carry drug and gun for my house” I explained
“So how e tey appear for your house?” He questioned
“Senior man, I no sabi ooo” I pleaded in Pidgin English.
He immediately ordered me to stand up and slap the little man that slapped me earlier on. I stood up in a flash and gave him a life changing thunderous slap that changed the stars of his destinies.
“Wetin I do na” He cried with a loud voice
“Him get level pass you for carrying drug and gun” The big man they called governor replied him harshly.
“You fit carry gun?” The governor asked him with anger “Na woman you go rape make them carry you come dump here”
The little man went ahead to assume my position of kneeling while I got my first promotion in the cell.
I had spent two weeks already in the cell without having a visitor or charged to court. If they had allowed me make a phone call, maybe I would have been bailed.
For two weeks, I watched people leave the cell and also watched new comers enter. I had already gotten so close to being a governor after the former governor got bailed. The new guys were the ones in charge of packing the poo in the cell. I made sure I collected any money that a new guy brought into the cell. I apportioned positions depending on the gravity of your offence. I was already enjoying life as a local champion inside the cell that I stopped worrying when I was going to leave and was taking the day as it came. Sometimes i stayed days without food while other times, some pious religious group comes around to share food.
It was in the middle of the afternoon as I slept on the back of two new recruits inside the cell; I heard someone shouting my name from sleep which made me jump. “Thief, person dey find you.” The officer said waiting for me at the protector.
“Abeg waka fast, no waste my time. ” he barked as I walked lazily towards him. Unlocking the protector, he held it open for me to walk through before closing it behind me.
“Bring you hands” he ordered which I obeyed as he slapped the cuffs around my wrists before pushing me on. As he pushed me, I kept wondering who came to see me.
My thoughts were cleared as He pushed me into the visitors room to behold madam Grace and Oga paul sitting calmly probably waiting for me. I stood surprised for some minutes before walking towards them. They had an expressionless countenance with their eyes focuses on me while I took the only empty sit left.
For some minutes, we stared at each other before I cleared my throat.
“What did I do to deserve this? ” I asked calmly and confidently. “Planting hard drugs in my apartment and blowing the whistle on me, was it worth it.”
The confidence with which I delivered the words must have surprised them as they looked on amazed.
“It’s not everybody that you dare and go scot free.” Oga paul said breaking the silence which hung in the air.
“Shut up, I wasn’t talking to you.” I said through my teeth throwing Oga paul a glance before returning my gaze to Madam Grace who had remained silent since I walked in.
“I see, you have ……. ” Oga paul started Before I looked squarely at him forcing the words back into his mouth.
“Can he leave us alone?” I asked madam Grace without averting her gaze. She sighed lightly as if she has been holding back her breath before looking at Paul. He must have understood the look as he stood up and left without a word.
“I thought you would have come back to your senses by now.” She said holding my gaze. “We have the power to make all these go away in a blink of an eye but you are still proving to be stubborn. ”
“What did I do wrong? ” I repeated. “Not agreeing to partake in crime is now an offence?”
“You can’t run away from it, you are in already and the only way you are getting out is death.” She said without a change of countenance which sent fears down my spine.
“Madam please,” I started before she cut through my words.
“This is just the beginning and may likely be your end. You have two days to make up your mind. If you still want in, tell the officer who brought you here to call me, but, if by the end of next tomorrow I don’t hear from him, I will take it to mean that you are ready to go the hard way.” She concluded and left before I could utter another word.
To Be Continued*****
***”Just tell me what you want from me… I promise to do it” I pleaded****
With a smile on her face she said ” I want you to …”
“Jeezz” I shouted at the top of my voice”****
Stay cool for next Episode!!