And as for the woman’s former husband, his people had come back to him with a rather disappointing discovery: the man had stroke. And not just partial, stroke, either. Full stroke. They couldn’t talk to him, and unless the man could somehow have ordered his former wife’s death without talking or moving any part of his paralyzed body, he definitely wasn’t a suspect.
As for whoever might have wanted to take revenge on his behalf, they first had to come up with a list of possible people.
Tobi himself had been wondering: how long? How long till they uncovered the mystery of this case just like all others? He had taken all the means through which conventional murders got solved: read the crime scene, talk to the witnesses, develop a list of suspects and work through them one by one. All of that he had done, and at the end, what did they have? A murder without any motive at all and a crime scene where there was no actual criminal.
Unless of course you wanted to pin that on the bullet they had pulled out of her head.
They had even pursued that sniper angle as far as checking the area outside Ms Durojaiye’s bedroom to see if they could trace that bullet’s trajectory. But that was more than a bit tricky, because the woman’s house faced the road along the bedroom side, and across that were scores of office buildings and shops where that shot could have been taken from. They couldn’t possibly hope to check all of those and find anything.
It seemed impossible for a bullet to have even traveled that far, anyway. But the evidence clearly said it had, though how or from where, none of them could say.
Kunle, whose discovery had made him overzealous to trace the matter to the end had even suggested asking those in the area whether they had heard any gunshot around the time the woman had died.
But that was until Tobi reminded him that Ms Durojaiye had been killed around three in the morning, and that it would take someone who really loved money to be open for business at a time when every other sane person was in bed. The fact that even the very person who was killed had been drove home the point.
With the progress they had made so far, he knew it was only a matter of time before the Chief lost his cool.
And when Chief Rikau lost his cool, it was like an explosion.
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On the ground floor of the LIPD outside Homicide unit were the cubicles of the junior officers who worked downstairs. The Chief’s office was at the end of the aisle running between those cubicles, so when Tobi came out of the office, he emerged right into the noise and commotion of the printers, clacking of computer keyboards and the hum of dozens of computer systems.
Tobi was nearly out of that aisle when he heard a creak far behind him. He looked back to see Chief Rikau exit his office, white mug in hand, walking in the same direction as Tobi. The detective turned back to face front lest the Chief see his face and think he actually had nothing better to do than stand around all day.
For someone who just went twenty straight minutes yelling in anger, Chief Rikau sure looked like a man who was under a lot of stress. And Tobi could understand that, too. Reporters had been perpetually camped outside the gates everyday of the one week since that woman’s murder, hounding every policeman they laid eyes on. For some reason, it seemed Ms Durojaiye had been quite popular when she was alive. The police could dodge for as long as they tried, but one day the order would arrive for a mandatory interview, and when that happened, they just had to have something positive.
If they didn’t, the short version was that whoever was assigned to handle that interview would be made a scapegoat, whether or not that person was responsible for that lack of positive information.
And that person could very well end up being Chief Abdul Rikau himself.
That was the beauty of the Force. Everyone had his own boss, even the boss himself. No wonder the man looked stressed. Tobi could recognize the mug he held in his hand for the very simple reason that he had one just like it in his office upstairs. That was a coffee mug. The Chief was going to get his boost.
The detective was almost out the front of the aisle when his thoughts were drawn by the sudden ring of the LIPD public phone. He looked to his left at the female telephone operator in the last cubicle.
They had a telephone line at LIPD for emergencies. Any emergency call dialled from anywhere on the entire Island area of Lagos was routed to it. The telephone operator picked it up at once.
“This is Lagos Island Police Department. What is your emergency?” Tobi heard her say just as he came out of the aisle and headed left for the stairs, in the opposite direction as the entrance.