Mr. Olundare Jacobs felt a pang of guilt as he stepped out of the blackmaria.
As a kid who was brought up in the barracks, he used to see many criminals being transported in that van to the prison and he would always say
“why would someone waste his life in criminal activities when he knows fully well that one day, he would be transported in this dark, poor ventilated van whose only route is from court to prison, prison to court? Surely, i would never step my feet in those vans”.
How would he have known that 25years later, he would be the one inside the van? Well, as a child he didn’t know that someday he was going to point a gun at his wife.
The thought of his wife made tears to drop from his eyes. Their relationship was the type only obtainable in movies and romance stories. He remembered vividly how she married him despite pressure from her family to marry the promising soldier officer Paul Adeyemi.
He was just an ordinary civil servant back then in the Lagos state ministry of information and communication.
He had met the beautiful miss Grace Briggs when she was posted to the ministry as a youth corper.
He never used to believe in love at first sight but grace changed his perception, not only about love but life in its entirety.
Mr. Jacobs doesn’t even know the part of her body he loves the most. Was it her radiant hair which is as black as Taye Taiwo’s face or her lips which was wonderfully placed on her face just below her pointed but beautiful nose.
He doesn’t even know If it was her shiny eyes that could give the stars a run for their money or her fair skin which sparkles in sunlight. In Jacobs own words
“grace, even monalisa would be jealous of you”.
Back then, he would always use his meagre salary to take her out for lunch until immediately after she completed her youth service when they decided to tie the nuptial knots.
It only took the effect of the scorching sun to bring him out from his journey through the land of emotional el dorado.
He had just stepped out of the van. He was standing taller and well built than the two policemen who where escorting him. He was very dark, infact his mates in university used to call him blacky which is one of the reasons he married someone who would complement him.
His hairs were unkept, what do you expect from someone who was just coming out of a police cell?
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Even though he has not been proven guilty of any crime, he has been sleeping in the police cell for over a month. The law stipulates that no citizen should spend more than 24hours in police custody except sentenced by a law court but it seems the law and the police force are enemies. Its ironic since the police are supposed to protect the law.
He looked at his environment, it was like every other typical trial court in nigeria. He took a deep breathe but just as he was about to enter the court, he sighted paul Adeyemi. He just shook his head and walked into the court room
“Court rise!!!” The bailiff shouted and everybody stood up. Justice clement okoro walked into the court room. He was an old man who was probably close to retirement. If you place his age anywhere around 70years, you just might be right because he actually looks younger anytime he smiles and older when he frowns.
Today was one of his bad days as he was not smiling. His facial expression could be read in a thousand different ways but mr. Jacobs read it as,
“Am tired of this job, always sentencing people to death”. Truly, Justice Okoro had sentenced countless people to death so when jacobs saw him, he knew his freedom was just wishful thinking.
The case was announced by the court administrator who also announced the presence of all the witnesses.
“The case before this court is a murder case filed by the nigeria police force against Mr. Olundare jacobs” he carefully read.
“Mr olundare jacobs, what is your plea? Are you guilty or not?” the judge asked.
“Not guilty” Jacobs answered non-chalantly.
I just hope he is right, i cant afford to slam a ‘life imprisonment’ sentence. Justice Okoro kept his thoughts to himself. He called on the prosecutor for his opening statement.
A fairly old man stood up. Looking at his face, you’ll think he is a septagenerian but he’s just in his early fifties. If you say he was old due to his family problems, you probably would be right because his only daughter chose to marry someone whom he had no iota of trust for.
Despite his disapproval, she still went ahead to marry him. Your guess is as good as mine, his name is Barrister Jim Briggs, father of Mrs grace jacobs whose death, they stand in court today to find the culprit.
“mmm mmmm.. .Barrister Briggs cleared his throat.
“Fellow citizens of this nation, we are here today the 21st of october 2013 to prove that Mr. Olundare Jacobs standing here is responsible for the death of his wife, Mrs. Grace Jacobs”.
He hates calling his daughter Grace Jacobs, he rather prefers to call her Grace Briggs but for the sake of the court, he called her the name. He allowed the information he just dropped to sink into the ears of his audience before he continued.
“On the 15th of august 2013 at about 10:30pm, Mr. Olundare Jacobs allegedly shot and killed his wife. Such people should not be allowed to walk in the soceity as they are bad eggs that can currupt the good ones. I hereby pray this court to serve justice in this case. This is my case”. He bowed and left for his seat.
Justice okoro smiled and called on the defendant. He had known Barrister Briggs to be a man that doesn’t beat around the bush. He always makes his points brief but very strong.
The defendant was a young lawyer probably in his early thirties. His name is Barrister Clement Obong. He was a light complexioned young man with a well trimmed moustache. He fell in the category of people that were created on God’s bad day. He was a very ‘brief creature’. That was the term his clique in the University used to refer to his shortness.
Olundare jacobs who happens to be the accused was also a member of that clique. He got up and looked at Barrister Briggs, he then gave a deadly smile. He had history with Barrister Briggs.
Immediately after being called to bar, the young lawyer Clement Obong had gone into Barrister Briggs Firm to work as a lawyer in the firm but he was turned down. He can still remember Barrister Briggs exact words to him.
“young man, this is not a chamber for jokers with wig on the head, this is a chamber for real lawyers”.
Barrister clement obong has a point to prove. To show that he is not a joker with wigs on the head but a real lawyer. He arranged his wig and stepped forward.
“My lord, barrister clement started. This case as convincing as it might look is a mere case of slander against my client.
1. The case holds no water as contrary to their claims that my client shot and killed his wife, there is no autopsy report to back that claim. Infact the body of the victim is nowhere to be found.
2. My client, Mr Olundare Jacobs, after thorough scrutiny by members of his community was chosen along with few men in his community to save lives. He is a member of the vigilante group in his community so i see no reason why he should take the life of his wife.
Homicide is a very strong accusation and i dont expect the testimony of one man to hold weight. I hereby pray this court to strike out this case in the name of justice” he concluded his statement.
“once a joker, always a joker” Barrister Briggs muttered under his breathe. He doesn’t have time to show his swagg, he just had to make sure his daughter’s killer was sent behind bars else he would have showed Barrister clement that the SAN at the end of his name isn’t just a mere fuss.
“can we have the first witness please” justice okoro spoke to Barrister Briggs.
“The first witness is Paul Adeyemi. If you are here please come forward” Barrister briggs called him forward.
A youngman in the same age bracket as jacobs stood up. He was also very dark. It seems as if his occupation made him stand under the scorching sun everyday. He was tall and well built.
15th August 2013
Lagos State ministry of information and communication organized a dinner night. Mrs. Grace Jacobs being a fluent speaker of english was chosen to be the anchor of the programme.
As early as 3:00pm that day, she was already dressed up and was about to go to the event when her husband, Olundare Jacobs came in. Jacobs has been unlucky as a retrenchment programme of the state government had caught up with him. Since then, he had failed to find himself a job so he was always at home, coupled with the fact that he had become a vigilante.
“Miss universe. Jacobs complemented his wife and she just smiled. Where are you going dressed like this?”
“Darling, you remember that dinner night i told you about? She paused, waiting for an answer. Jacobs nodded his head to signify that he remembered.
The dinner night is slated for today”. She concluded.
“Thought you just called it a dinner night, what kind of dinner night starts by 3:00pm” he asked, looking at his wrist watch.
“You know this is my first time of anchoring this kind of event, the chairman of the central planning committee requested that i should be there by 3:00pm so he can fill me in on how to proceed with the event. I’m even late” she narrated
“so i guess i will just be the only one in this house. Just make sure you dont move your lips in those your sexy manner, those men can be funny atimes”
“i promise, i wont even smile” she said and laughed away.
10:20PM THAT SAME DAY
Grace walked into the house tired. The dinner night was a huge success and everybody attributed the success to her. She even switched off her phone when the congratulatory calls where getting too much.
She trew her bag on the couch and was about going into the bedroom when the voice of her husband startled her.
“Where are you coming from?” he asked.
She switched on the light to behold her husband holding a gun. She was shocked but then, she remembered that armed robbers had been giving them sleepless nights in the street so she thought her husband being a vigilante had chased armed robbers that day.
“what are you talking about? I told you i was attending a dinner night”
“Dinner night!! So which of the directors did you sleep with or was it the commisioner himself?” Jacobs accused.
“I dont have time for this, am very tired” grace said and was about going into the bedroom when her husband spoke.
“Dont even take another step”. She turned back and saw her husband pointing a gun at her. She was shocked. Her husband had never la!d a finger on her not to talk of pointing a gun at her. Yes he had lost his Job but that doesn’t mean he has lost his mind
“I was in that establishment before you. I know how it is done. Those big men choose people to spend the night with. I gave you the benefit of doubt but you failed me”
What are you talking about, i never slept with anyone” Grace shouted.
“Put the gun down” a voice spoke. They both turned their heads and saw Paul Adeyemi, pointing a gun at Jacobs.
“We can settle this without…. Kpaa” Grace was trying to complete her statement but she was shot. She fell down to the ground.
To be continued