Dakolo posed in front of the mirror to check his dressing and make sure that nothing was out of place. His well fitted black suit made him look smart as usual, he was wearing a white shirt under and a dark blue tie. He took a small comb from his box which he had already arranged and combed his medium height hair forward. He returned the comb and straightened up his jacket, he looked into the mirror once more before picking up his box and phone. His phone rang just in time.
‘Agent Dakolo, are you at the Rivers’ airport already?’ Officer Ken’s voice came through.
‘No officer’ Dakolo smiled, ‘I’m already in Abuja, I’ll be in the headquarters in few minutes time’
‘In Abuja already?’ Officer Ken exclaimed in a surprise tone. ‘Are you at the Abuja airport then?’
‘No, I’m not. Don’t bother about me’ Dakolo smiled. ‘I know my way around, I’ll meet you in the office. Is the IG there already?’
‘No, he isn’t but he’ll be with us in few minutes also’ Officer Ken answered.
‘Okay, until we see then’ Dakolo ended the call and opened the dial pad for a new call. He dialed the cabman, Clement’s number. ‘Where are you now?’ He asked.
‘I just drove in’ Clement answered.
~~Twenty five minutes later ~~
Dakolo and the cab man drove into the large compound of the police headquarters after thorough searching at the gate. Dakolo was seated in front with him and they chatted all through the journey like friends until they got to their destination. The cab man who was surprised when Dakolo asked him to turn into the police headquarters was more surprised on seeing several high ranked police officials stop to greet Dakolo as they drove into the gate. It was his first time of entering the place but his surprise robbed him of the chance to notice the other beautiful sites in the compound. He began to stare at Dakolo’s face suspiciously. Dakolo smiled on seeing his confused look.
‘Sorry, I didn’t tell you I’m a member of the police force’ The cab man glanced at him, the look on his face expressed his demand for more explanation. ‘My younger brother is the contractor really, it was his business card I gave you’ Dakolo explained further. ‘My promise to get jobs for you when you go back to your carpentry work is still on. I’ll ensure that my brother works with you’ The cab man stared at him more awkwardly without saying any word.
He drove as he was being directed by a police officer into the garage. After about two minutes, they finally parked the car.
‘Thanks’ Dakolo said, bringing out his wallet from his jacket’s inner pocket. He began to count. ‘Since you know everywhere around, I’ll be calling you often, hope you’ll be available’
‘I’ll try’ Clement answered less enthusiastically. His focus was more on the cash Dakolo was counting. Dakolo finally counted triple of the fare and handed it over to him.
‘Oh! Thanks’ Clement received the money joyfully. ‘Just call me anytime, I’ll be available to take you anywhere’ he said. Dakolo smiled and got out of the car.
A crowd of highly ranked officers had come to welcome him, the IG was also there. A junior officer took out his box from the back seat.
‘Agent Dakolo’ the IG saluted on seeing him. Dakolo saluted back and received the man’s handshake with his two hands to show curtsy. ‘Welcome’
‘Thank you sir’ Dakolo replied with a smile, also responding to the greetings from other officers. The Inspector General, Rikau Waziri was dressed in dark suit too, he also had a white shirt under but was without a tie. Aged 51, Rikau was of average height and a very dark complexion. He had a bald head, his face had scars on it, a result of several fights he had engaged in when he was younger. The rest of the officers were dressed in their uniforms.
‘Why didn’t you tell us the exact time you were coming? We were making arrangements to come for you at the airport’
‘I had to come earlier to do something sir’ Dakolo said briefly. He took a back glance at the cab man who was just driving off and smiled.
‘It’s okay’ the IG said and they began to proceed into the main building. ‘Hope your journey wasn’t stressful’
‘Not at all sir, it was stress free’
‘Good’ the IG smiled as they climbed up the short stairs into the building. Dakolo looked around, surprised at the number of officers who were present at the office on a Sunday morning. Officer Ken noticed his surprise.
‘They all have to be here because of the security issues we’re having right now’ Ken explained with a smile. Dakolo nodded and smiled. The crowd of officers began to decrease gradually as they walked past the several offices and sections. They finally got to a room with the tag “H 4”. Ken brought out an access card and opened the door. It was a room where top officials held their meetings. The remaining three officers and the IG entered the room with Dakolo. The room which was painted white all through was not too large but conducive enough for a meeting.
There was a rectangular table in the middle and ten chairs were round the table. Light refreshments had been served on the table already. The IG took the seat at the front corner which was the short side of the table while the four others took two seats each at the left and the right. Inspector Ken and Agent Dakolo took the seats closer to the IG. The meeting began.
‘So what’s the way forward now?’ The IG asked after a short recap of the situation.
‘I’m thinking we need the help of some agents’ Dakolo said. Everyone stared at him for more explanation. ‘I mean a secret agent’ Dakolo stated further.
‘Does that mean you think you can’t handle it?’ The IG asked. ‘Cos that’s the reason we brought you here’
‘I’m not saying I can’t handle it, in fact I would have loved to but we need someone who wouldn’t need much struggle to disguise as an assassin ‘ Dakolo explained more but his listeners still did not understand except for Ken who was shaking his head thoughtfully.
‘I think I get his point’ Ken put in, redirecting all stares to himself. ‘Agent Dakolo’s face is already known in the country for nabbing top criminals and assassins, it would require extra work and would need a lot of disguise techniques for him to act as a secret agent, his face is known already’ The IG shook his head slowly and thoughtfully in agreement.
‘So what do you think we should do now? I really wish Dakolo is still a young man we could send as an undercover like we used to do’ he said smiling at Dakolo. Dakolo smiled back.
‘Well, we have some of our officers we could still send’ Dakolo gave a slight hiss which expressed his disagreement,
‘our boys have not been trained enough to handle this kind of cases. They’ll definitely cause more troubles for us. Even myself wouldn’t have been able to carry out this kind of job if it had come when I was still a secret agent. I have more experience now, both on the field and technically’
‘So what do you suggest now?’ The IG asked.
‘Can Ken?’ The IG turned to look at Ken. ‘Or any of these two?’ Ken shook his head slightly in disagreement.
‘Do you think it would work like that?’
‘Why not?’ Dakolo and the IG asked in unison.
‘We’ve been actively involved in this assassination case. I mean the three of us’ he said looking at the other two seated.
‘We’ve been involved in chasing and interrogations, do you think it can still work with us?’ Ken said in a bold voice, dismissing every perception that he was afraid to take the task.
‘You’ve spoken the truth’ Dakolo said after thoughtfully considering his reply. ‘This assassin group members are intelligent and dangerous. I’m sure they’ll just play along even if they recognize anyone sent as the undercover and it would turn out as a disaster for us’
‘So we don’t have enough strong and trained men in the force that can handle this?’ The IG joined, getting irritated that they were making the matter sound so big.
‘Sir, it’s not about being strong here’ Dakolo said calmly. ‘Of course, strength is important but what we really need is an intelligent personnel. Very intelligent one who would match the intelligence of this assassin group. You know I can’t really talk about the manpower of the group but I know they are intelligent. Most of their strategies have been technical; they disrupt all our technical security facilities, keep us in darkness and then carry our their assassination, that’s what they’ve been doing’ There was silence for a while.
‘So you think that the assassin group is not really tough in physical strength?’ The IG broke the silence.
‘Yes but I may be wrong. But one thing I’m sure of is that their technical and developing abilities and intelligence is where they’re stronger’
‘No’ Ken disagreed gently. ‘Except the assassin group that killed Chief Jubril USA different from the one who that carried out the other two but if we are saying they might be the same, which is really likely, it would be wrong to say they are weak physically’ Dakolo turned and stared at Ken, so did everyone else.
‘Yes sir, he’s right’ one of the two other officers finally broke his silence.
‘The group that carried out Chief Jubril’s assassination was definitely not weak physically. Their knowledge of the usage and control of guns is mind blowing, this is evident in the number of security officials and police officers found dead in the events centre’
‘Thank you’ Ken supported. ‘None of their bullets were wasted’ Ken added, looking at the two officers faces for support.
‘Their bullets got into their targets at delicate parts of the body and most of the victims did not receive more than one bullet. This shows that the group is a specially trained one and they’ve mastered the art of the use of guns. I believe only intelligence wouldn’t fight them, they’re complete, we need to be complete more than that to defeat them’ There was another awkward silence.
Dakolo now remembered James telling him about his gun battle with the suspected lady who had blocked them on the road while they were on their way to save Robin Kahn.
‘You’re right’ Dakolo began again in low tones. ‘How could I have even thought that they had no physical strength, considering how they finished off Robin Kahn and his men?’ Dakolo paused and swallowed. ‘I also visited the warehouse where Robin and his men were misled to when I was in Lagos. You need to see the way their apparatuses were set up professionally’
‘You see, those guys are experts’ Ken put in briefly.
‘James also told me of how a single lady of the group also engaged he and the rest of the rescue team on their way to help Robin. She took out almost all the men and even escaped with their own vehicle’
‘So that means we need a stronger and complete team to match them else we would just be going round in circles and keep losing our men’ Ken added.
‘No matter what it is, we have no option than to stop the group’ the IG said in a determined voice. ‘And it would be nice if we capture their boss alive’ ‘
Yesss’ Dakolo stressed the word, as if he had just remembered something. ‘Talking about the boss. It is widely believed that the group is headed by a lady named Aisha Bello who disguises as Samantha Osman but with the latest assassination, the report says a man carried out the job’ Dakolo paused to look at their faces Inspector Ken coughed and joined.
‘As far as I’m concerned, this assassin group we are dealing with is a large one, I believe they should have up to twenty or thirty in the group. It’s surely a large cooperation. So we can’t be sure that Samantha Osman is the boss, she might just be one of their major hitmen. The real boss could be in their headquarters and just be giving the orders from there’ Everyone paused to reason with Ken. Dakolo took in a breath and shook his head.
‘I agree that Samantha Osman might not be the real boss but I don’t think the group is a large one. We should have been able to get one or two of them if the group was so large’
‘Now, we need concrete details’ the IG said in a tone which expressed his dissatisfaction with the way the meeting was going. ‘All what we’ve been talking about since are our opinions about them, no one has concrete details, And Agent Dakolo’ The IG faced Dakolo squarely. ‘You said we need secret agents and undercovers, does that mean that you have suspects in mind already’
‘N…no…’ Dakolo stammered as he tried to answer. ‘There’s no group or real person we suspect yet’
‘Then why do we need an undercover if there’s no suspect?’ The IG slammed.
‘We might locate a suspect group very soon’
‘Then we should be focused first on locating the suspected group, then we can come back to finding a secret agent to do the work’
‘We are working on that already. There’s a NSCC agent who’s tracking them already. I’m also thinking that we could recruit him as a secret agent’ The IG gave a chuckle.
‘How do even you think that would work?’
‘The agent is extra intelligent and we’re also going to provide strong backups for him’
‘Who’s this person?’
‘Same guru we all know. Henry Ekene George
‘Evelyn’ Henry called again when he got no response the first time. He placed his own palm against the door and noticed it was slightly opened. He pushed it gently and poked in his head first before stepping in. Cole was still standing, not knowing if he should run or still continue to plead or if there was no need for the both anymore. Tarasha was standing also, she was mute, the bullet she picked on the floor was still held loosely. It was until she caught Henry’s eyes searching round her body that she covered the bullet in her palm.
‘I’m sorry for intruding’ Henry broke the silence apologetically on seeing Evelyn half unclad, ‘I’ll just wait outside for you’
‘You can wait inside’ Tarasha said with a stern voice. ‘Sit here’ she pointed at the sofa by the wall side and turned to walk into her room. Henry and Cole stared at each other for some seconds. Cole let out a breath and made a strange eye movement at Cole before walking away, following the same direction Tarasha took.
Henry moved forward and took the seat, staring around the house. Tarasha inserted back the bullet into the gun and tapped her nose with it. She was undecided yet as to what to do with Henry, it was either she killed him that moment or fall for the strange feeling that she was having again. The feeling that returned that moment he entered and she saw his eyes again. There was this calmness that drove out from her heart it’s previous occupier, anger. She finally dropped the gun on the bed and turned to the wardrobe. She took out a jacket from the hanger and remove two short knives from it.
**Few minutes later**
The silence between the duo was really awkward as Henry drove them in his car to the church. They drove into the church garage and parked. The Pastor’s message was already on and could be heard from the speakers placed outside for the security and Marshalls. Henry got out of the car first and turned to the other side to open the door for Evelyn. She didn’t come out immediately but was staring at the whole place. She stopped and stared at Henry’s face, he gave her a reassuring look and she stepped out slowly, in her shredded blue Jean trousers and black top.
‘Henry Ekene George’ the IG shook his head thoughtfully. ‘The chap is an intelligent one really, but I don’t think he can do this’
‘I believe he can’ Dakolo insisted. ‘He’s determined to nab this assassin group, it shows in the way he’s been dedicated to stopping their manipulation of the camera system’
‘Well, I think we should have a concrete detail of the assassin gang first before we can continue with the undercover plan’ the IG said, waving his hand to signal that the undercover case was closed for the time being. He placed his arms on the table and rested his chin on his palms. ‘We would have a meeting with the President this coming Friday and we have to be ready to give him detailed plans. So we just have two days to fix the game plan, so we’ll be meeting again tomorrow. Let’s go back now and work, think and make researches and personal investigations, tomorrow we would return to pour out our ideas and fix the plan’ he said in conclusion.
Jefa stretched and turned to his left side on the bed, forgetting the injury he had sustained on his belly that side. He winced in pain and scowled, he sat up in the bed After yawning several times, his eyes was opened enough to see. The pounding headache brought to his remembrance the fight that occurred the last night. It was so violent that nobody in his shop including himself escaped unhurt. He closed his eyes and groaned as he stood up, he walked to the curtain and rolled it up thereby allowing the entrance is sunlight into the room. He scratched his bare back and returned to sit in the bed. His spoilt phone was on the stool in front of him. He picked it from the stool and tried to power it on but his attempt was fruitless. He dropped it back; his promise to call Henry that morning had failed. The business card given to him was also lost in the struggle, which meant that the only way he could see Henry now was to go to his house.
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Henry started the car engine and began to drove out of the church premises. He glanced at Evelyn’s face but she didn’t glance back, she had been mute all through the service,even when they were being attended to as first timers by the church officials. Henry had answered almost every question for her, making her look like a deaf and dumb person. She didn’t even stretch her hand to take the Bible gift they handed to her, Henry collected it for her. Henry was not too surprised by her reaction to the activities in church, knowing that she wasn’t someone who believed in God nor wanted to hear the name mentioned.
‘Did you learn anything new today?’ Henry finally broke the silence after driving out of the church’s gate.
‘I’ve never heard such hogwash in my life’ she replied bluntly. Henry felt bad at her reply but he smiled.
‘Thats no hogwash but reality’ he said. Evelyn remained quiet. ‘Those things you heard were real, though they may sound impossible to the natural ears’ Henry added. Tarasha glanced at him.
‘So you believed a god died for you?’ She asked, smacking her lips together.
‘Yes, I believe’
‘Do we still have st*pid people who could die for someone else?’ She asked mockingly
‘Come on, don’t talk like that’ he scolded her.
‘Hehe’ she made a brief laugh. ‘It’s pathetic that intelligent people could believe such tales by moonlight. When we were kids, we were forced to believe those stories but now everyone should be less stupid. I used to think people get wiser as they progress in age’
‘Evelyn!’ Henry called, she kept quiet. ‘Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is not a tale, it happened for real, on this earth were you live’
‘Yes, haha’ she scoffed. ‘The stubborn Jewish Messiah was killed by his people for disturbing their peace, that’s what we should do to those men we see on those platforms now who wants their followers to live by what somebody else wrote thousands of years ago’ Henry shook his head, struggling in his mind to figure out what to say.
‘For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish fooli…’ He tried to quote a scripture but she interrupted.
‘Foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. First Corinthians one verse eighteen’ she completed the verse for him. Henry was dazed, he stared at her with his mouth agape.
‘Where did you learn that from?’ He asked in amazement. ‘I’m sure you didn’t learn it when you were still a kid.’ She gave no answer. ‘That means you must have left Christianity not too long ago, for you to quote a “not so popular” verse’ Henry added. She still gave no response. If only he knew the amount of Bible, Qur’an and other religious books scriptures she had in her head, he would keep quiet and stop talking about God to her. She thought. Studying religion and religious patterns were also part of what she learnt during her training in the Nefary Clan.
‘Why did you leave God? Did you feel frustrated about a particular situation and you thought he could not help you out?’ Tarasha chuckled. Henry was sounding more like a joker to her now. ‘God loves you and always wants the best for you’ he continued.
‘Oh! Shut up’ she burst out angrily. ‘I guess that’s why he also kills those who do not serve him. And he even sends his servants to murder the ones who still serve him faithfully anytime he’s really blood thirsty’
‘God is not a murderer’
‘But I’ve seen him murder a lot of people and he’s still good at killing today.’
‘No Evelyn, God does not kill. You didn’t see him murder anyone; he didn’t kill your parents’
‘Oh Yes, he didn’t murder them himself. He sent his faithful followers to do it’
‘Those people lied, God did not send them. He loves us so much and wants the best for us’ Henry was talking with so much passion that he almost ran down a pedestrian crossing the narrow untarred road. He quickly recovered and they continued the journey in silence. Now few metres away from Tarasha’s Lodge.
‘Why did you come to look for me?’ Tarasha asked and stared into Henry’s face. The look on her eyes was cruel, immediately the atmosphere changed.
‘Can we stop to talk somewhere or do you think we can talk in your house?’ Henry replied calmly.
‘That’s not the answer to my question’ Tarasha slammed.
‘Yes, I’ll tell you. Let’s just go somewhere and talk’
‘We don’t have anything to discuss about’
‘We have a lot to talk about’ Henry retorted. He parked beside the gate of the house. ‘We have to talk about you’ Tarasha who had been feeling irritated by his discussion of God during the ride was getting more impatient. She began to prepare in her heart slowly to use the knives tied round her legs under the shredded Jean. Her heart began to beat faster, something that had not happened in years even when she had to kill tougher people. But she had to end it all that day, else Henry would be her downfall, what she wanted now was to get some information from him.
‘How did you get to know that my name is also Tara?’ She enquired, expecting a simple answer. She was thinking that he had seen it somewhere around her when they stayed in the NSCC house together.
‘I’ll come to that’ Henry answered. She crossed her legs and rubbed her palm on the left foot, her fingers touched the two knives hidden in an inner pocket under the shredded Jean.
‘Let’s drive into the compound please’ she said to Henry. He agreed and started the engine. Her plan was to lure him inside and force out truths from him since she was anticipating that he may be stubborn.
‘There’s no gateman here and the gate does not open automatically’ Tarasha said to Henry when be began to push the horn for someone to open the gate. Henry got out of car and went to open the gate. Tarasha felt like bringing out her knives, in readiness to inflict pains on him but her mood changed again as he returned to the car and stared at her face for some seconds, there was this fire in his eyes that always seemed to calm her down. He drove the car into the compound and stopped it beside the van.
‘Why did you come to see me?’ Tarasha asked again.
‘Calm down Evelyn, I’ve been searching for you since we parted last week’
‘I know’ Tarasha cut in impatiently. ‘So go straight to the point, why have you been searching for me?’ Henry took off the seat belt with a frown on his face, he didn’t like the way the conversation was going.
‘I was worried about you. I did not know if you were in safe hands’
‘Alright, I guess you can now see that I’m in safe hands’ she said and opened the door. Henry held her arm.
‘I love you Evelyn’ he said, looking straight into her eyes. She took her eyes off immediately, trying to avoid sparking off more emotions. Her heartbeat was increasing. That moment was the best to strike him dead according to the training she had got but she couldn’t just get herself to do it.
‘Thanks for loving me’ she said and tried to step out again. Henry gripped her more firmly.
‘Evelyn, we need to talk about you, us, your future and mine’
‘You don’t know me Henry, you want to plan my future for me?’
‘I know you’
‘You don’t, if you do you’ll leave here right now before I change my mind and do something bad to you’
‘I know what you can do. I saw that bullet in your hand, so I was expecting that you may come out with a gun’ Henry said without fear in his voice. She paused and stared at the floor, thinking of what to do.
‘Get out of here immediately’ she stepped out of the car forcefully and began to walk towards the building. Henry opened the door by his side and placed a leg outside, he stood from his seat and rested his arm on the top of the car.
‘I know you well Tara, I know who you are and what you do’ She paused at the balcony and turned to stare at him.
‘Who is Tara?’ She asked, trying to pretend.
‘You are’ he insisted. It was getting out of hand now and she was getting more infuriated. It seemed he wasn’t going to leave. She bent and took out the knives from her trouser. She turned and began to proceed towards him, she was going to drain out every drop of liquid in his body.
‘Omotara Danjuma’ he called softly making her freeze in shock, the knife in her left hand cut through the skin on her palm. Her eyes widened, she was convinced now that he was sure of his claims. ‘I met your elder brother, Jeffrey’ he added.
Jefa walked back into his two room apartment after visiting the phone repairer’s shop. He took off his sandals and dusted his feet on the foot mat at the door before proceeding to sit down. His living room was not too large and beautifully decorated but it was arranged in a neat manner despite the old furniture used. The TV was also a very old one, it was neat too and free from dust even though Jefa rarely used it. His eyes met with something as it wandered around, the diary and the photo on the centre table. He got up and went to pick it up. He stared at the photo for a while, a brief smile formed on his face. He wiped off the small particles of dust on the photo and dropped it back on the table. He took the diary and returned to his seat. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, he was about doing something that he had never done. Their mum had told them during her lifetime that the diary contains secrets that they were not matured enough to handle. He flipped it open. …
To be continued