“The Minister of Defense is dead, Tobi,” Chief Rikau said, groaning out the words. He took his hand off his eyes and looked at Tobi. His eyes seemed tired. “I just got off the phone with one of his aides. They said he just slumped in his office. They’re suspecting he was poisoned, and they’re going to look into it.”
Tobi sighed in disbelief, looking at the wall behind the Chief as if it could somehow explain what was going on to him. The minister was dead? The minister of defense? How was it even possible?
True, he had hoped the call was just nonsense, somebody who had followed Ms Durojaiye’s death in the news and didn’t know anything better to do with his time, but he was still happy that maybe even if the call hadn’t been a prank and an attempt had been made on the minister’s life, he had more than enough security to keep him safe. And then the ministry would take over the case and pursue drastic measures so they could make more headway than he had been able to make.
For the three days since that call had come in, he had been happy that the issue was finally out of his hands and he didn’t have to worry about what a sniper was anymore. He could finally go back to just solving normal homicide cases.
And now that the attempt had been made on the minister’s life, he was dead? Yes, the way Ms Durojaiye had been killed was spectacular, but killing a woman in her bed was one thing.
How had this the Eel, whoever he was, managed to kill the head of a federal ministry?
“Which means this call was genuine,” Chief Rikau finally said. Say God, Tobi thought. “Look, Tobi, they want to know how exactly we knew that somebody would try to kill the minister. Since you were the one that talked with the person that called, and you are the one in charge of the investigation with the criminal concerned, I want you to be the one to go to the ministry. And they want you there now.”
Tobi nodded and sighed again. He leaned back in his chair. The Chief looked at him.
“Tobi, I want to know the truth. Can you handle this case if it comes back to us?”
For the past week and half he had been running around trying to make heads or tails of one murder because it had been committed in a way he hadn’t seen before. Now that same murderer called the department, not just through phone but in person, left a taunt and not just promised to kill the minister, something that had seemed like a death wish at the time, but had actually killedhim.
How on earth was he supposed to start looking for someone like that?
If at all the case came back here, it was his responsibility to handle it. He was head of LIPD Homicide, after all. But this was the time to swallow his pride and be honest.
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“No, sir. We don’t have the resources to go after this criminal.”
The Chief nodded. “Then make sure you let them understand that we cannot undertake it. Mind you, that doesn’t mean you should disgrace us there, o.”
Tobi nodded, stood up and gave a smart salute.
“At ease.” He eased himself and walked out of the office. He sent an officer upstairs to get Kunle, then walked to Homicide to tell Cole he was leaving and to leave instructions for some things he wanted the guy to do for him before he got back.
Kunle met him outside Homicide when he came out.
“They told me you were calling me, sir,” he said the moment he saw Tobi.
“The defense minister is dead,” Tobi said simply. Kunle looked horrified. “We’re going to the federal ministry of defense, right now.” He walked past immediately, heading for the door.
“Sir,” Kunle said, stopping him short. Tobi turned back in annoyance.
“Yes, Kunle, what is it?”
“You said “we”. Do you mean, you and. . . ” The guy didn’t complete his sentence, as if he was too mumu to understand, and that annoyed Tobi even more.
“Why do you think I told them to call you, Kunle?” He turned and walked out of the building. He didn’t have time for all this.
In the car park, he entered his car, and Kunle hurried to his. As a junior detective, going along with the divisional head to a federal ministry was a very big privilege, and Kunle really looked as if he couldn’t believe that privilege belonged to him. Tobi would have to make sure that disgrace the Chief didn’t want did not come from his junior detective.
Tobi pulled his car out of the car park and through the gates. As he did, through his windscreen he saw the bumper of Kunle’s squad car, white tail lights on as he reversed in front of Tobi. They pulled their cars out of the department, then into Abagbon Close. No media people were outside the gate. That was because the Chief had tried to keep the news about the call they had received within the department.