Am In Black Episode 28

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It was after-hours at LIPD, and except for the Chief, it was completely empty. He had personally helped Efe put Tobi’s wheelchair into the space for the seat beside the driver’s, which had been removed specially to accomodate it. His wife had been coming to drive him home from work, until he was stable enough to drive himself. Apart from that, everyone else had gone, and the Chief was alone.

But not completely alone.

He was having a meeting with the president and the Inspector General of Police, all of them tied in together via audio/video transmission. He was on the main floor of the building, and he sat at the head of the conference table in homicide unit, directly facing the huge tv they had at the other end of the room, with its screen split lengthwise into two, displaying the other members of the meeting; the president himself on the left, and the IG on the right.

A camera was also pointing at him. A small digital camera sat at the end of the table just in front of the tv, with both its lens and view screen turned to face him, so he could see himself if he took his attention away from the larger screen beyond.

It was a big thing to have a face-to-face meeting with the president  himself, which Abdul Rikau knew very well, and so he had not only dressed to impress, but he had also told Cole, the IT consultant that worked under Tobi, to set up the video conference with the best HD camera he could find, not just a phone or a laptop as he had first suggested.

“Look, Abdul, I know that during the investigation of the case of the Eel six months ago, LIPD tried its best. This is one very high profile case, featuring a felon who incapacitated Detective Tobi Akano, who, as I understand, is the best you people have there, and by my standard maybe even the best in your state.”

It was the IG speaking. Rikau nodded his agreement, and he continued.

“He has already taken down two people, one being our country’s Minister of Defense. Mr President, Rikau, I don’t know about the both of you, but as the Inspector General of Police of this nation, I think that regardless of how much time has passed since the incident, there is too much at stake to let the case grow cold.”

The President cleared his throat, and Rikau stiffened, an automatic reaction which was an adaptation of the best salute he could give without standing in respect to his ultimate boss, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The president sat in a tall, white leather executive chair with a huge coat of arms emblazoned on the white wall behind him.

“Chief, just as the Inspector General said, this criminal has taken the life of a man I appointed a minister personally. I cannot not hide my disappointment that you have not been able to make any headway at all in six whole months, if I must be honest.” 

The blame automatically fell on him as the head of LIPD, whether or not he was directly responsible. Rikau swallowed the rebuke and kept his mouth shut while the commander-in-chief was speaking.

“But I can still understand that it was because the person in charge of your investigation on the case was indisposed.” Rikau thought that was an interesting word. “Indisposed”. “I do not know Detective Tobi Akano personally, but I have been made to understand that he is one of the best there is. And yet this criminal was able to come close to killing him as well. 

“Gentlemen, I am a person that believes in results, no matter what it takes, and I think it is a sorry thing for an investigation of this magnitude to be dependent on someone who cannot even undertake it at the present. We need someone better than the best, someone who can hopefully outperform your detective. That is the reason I have decided to bring in Clyde dé Crozon to handle this case.”

That last statement left the other two shocked. At least Abdul Rikau knew he was shocked. Clyde dé Crozon, of all people! He was a private investigator, the world’s best by a long shot, the kind of person whose name was mentioned in global crises, usually employed by first-world countries like China or the US, countries or sometimes even people with cases serious enough to stick out paying his fees.

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Chief Rikau pondered. If the President had decided to bring in Clyde dé Crozon, it meant that the case had gotten to a whole new level on the global scene, a level which he felt ashamed it had gotten to without being managed well enough in his own country. Somehow, he felt it was his duty to protest.

“But Mr President, sir, don’t you think bringing him in would be pushing the whole thing a little bit too far?”

The president frowned. “Chief, I can see you don’t take this issue as serious as I do. If you did, you would understand my reasons for having decided to bring in someone of that calibre. My decision is final.

Rikau was desperate. He wanted another shot, another chance to prove his worth. He could find someone else, someone other than Tobi who could do even better. All he just needed was one more chance for LIPD to show its metal. He looked to the face of his boss, the IG, for any sign of defiance. He found none. He decided to try another means.

“Okay, but what about his flight, where he will stay, his feeding? Won’t all those practical decisions we need to make still take another few months? What if he has another case he is still handling elsewhere?”

“Do you think I convened this meeting to ask your permission, Chief? This announcement is only a courtesy. Everything has been duly taken care of. Clyde dé Crozon’s fees have been paid, and he is on his way to Nigeria as we speak. Is that enough to make you stop your insubordination, Chief?”

“Rikau, that is enough,” the IG stepped in. “If Mr President has decided to bring him in to take over, I am in support, which means you are in support as well. Is that clear, Chief?”

That was it. Rikau was beaten.

“Yes sir,” he answered.

The President looked hard at him for a few seconds more.

“This meeting is over,” he said finally and stood up. Rikau and the Inspector General stood as well and saluted him until he left the camera’s field of view. Rikau stayed his salute until the IG’s screen went blank, followed immediately by the President’s, leaving Rikau to the silence of the LIPD.