Everyone in this room were junior detectives, intelligent officers from different stations across Lagos and, sometimes, beyond who had been sent to him for training to become detectives. Detective Akano was like a teacher to them. Their title was “junior detective”. They would bear “detective” when he said they were ready.
Of all the investigative divisions in the LIPD, Homicide had the most manpower, but in a particularly funny and ironic twist, apart from the one person who headed the department, all the rest were technically not qualified enough.
“Okay, let’s see about the victim,” Tobi said, still standing. “Her name is Felicia Durojaiye, abi? They said she has one son, so she should be Mrs.”
“Ms,” Cole corrected. “She’s divorced.”
That brought her former husband into play. Divorcees held grudges against their partners. That was why they got divorced in the first place. Was there a grudge that warranted this woman’s death? They would definitely have to look into it, see what he had to say for himself.
“What about her age?”
“She owns a boutique here in V.I,” Cole said, squinting at the screen. All around the table, junior detectives were taking notes.
“You people will have to see about talking to the people working for her today,” he said to the junior detectives present. “What about her son, Festus?” Tobi asked. “The first officers on scene said the aboki told them he left for USA just yesterday, the day before his mother died. Doesn’t that sound suspicious?”
“As if maybe he didn’t want to be there when whoever that killed his mother came,” Ngozi, another of his junior detectives who was not just the only omo Ibo but also the only woman on the squad suggested, and all of them at the table nodded.
“Are you saying he hired somebody to kill his ownmother?” Kunle asked, looking around at everybody’s faces to see whether anybody else agreed with what he no doubt thought was just a ridiculously incredulous suggestion of his colleague’s.
“I’m serious,” Ngozi said, also looking for support from her colleagues. Then she looked at Tobi for backup. “Cole just said that the woman has divorced her husband, and she has only one son, only one child. And she’s rich. What if the son wanted his money and inheritance and didn’t want to wait for his mother to die in old age? I’ve seen it in some fi— ” Ngozi paused and bit her lower lip, then continued. “Running away like that makes him a suspect.”
Tobi nodded slowly, arms folded. At least they were getting closer to getting that list for the Chief.
He knew Ngozi had wanted to say “I’ve seen it in some films before”, but had checked herself just in time. Everyone did. Opposite her, Kunle looked pointedly at him with a little smirk, as if he was waiting for him to discredit what she had suggested because she had seen it in a movie somewhere.
“Kunle, Ngozi has a point. Have you seen where a son raped his mother before?” Kunle wrinkled his nose in disgust. “Stay with me for another one year, and you will see something worse than that. He isn’t just innocent because he is the woman’s son. In fact, that just makes him the next suspect after his father— Is the divorced husband even his father, abi did his mother have him for another man? I want the answer before the end of today.
“But he is a suspect. Add to that the fact that he disappeared to a place where police can’t reach him just the day before his mother’s murder, and he has become our primary suspect. And who knows, maybe he didn’t even really travel out. Maybe he’s still here in Lagos. Imagine there was a way for us to— ”
“Ahead of you, sir,” Cole said, reading off the screen of his computer. “There was a flight to the United States yesterday. Air Peace. The only other US-bound flight was a stopover on the way to Jamaica. There’s a Festus Durojaiye on the passenger list of the Air Peace flight. Online booking, economy class.”
Tobi looked at his IT guy, completely stunned. “How did you— ”
Cole shrugged in response, swiveling his chair from left to right. “You people are not the only ones that have been working since early morning,” he replied.
Tobi recovered himself. He wasn’t supposed to be surprised, since he knew how good Cole was, but. . . Olorun oba o. He knew just how many weeks procuring that kind of information could take when worked themselves hard enough.
“Okay, our people are sealing the house once their investigation is finished and can only open it for her next of kin, so once he comes back, he will contact us to reopen it. I want him brought here for questioning once he makes contact. I don’t even want anybody to call him and let him know that he is a suspect. I want to see him face-to-face.”