Tarasha Episode 68

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Elvis Richards was seated under a neatly fashioned bamboo shed, he had a bottle and a glass of wine in front of him. The excellent lightening in the compound made it so beautiful and bright as it always looked in the day. Elvis glanced towards the gate as it opened and Ken drove in with Dakolo. He walked out of the shed and began to proceed towards the car park where Ken was driving to. He got there before Ken and Dakolo. Ken hurriedly parked the car and killed the engine. Dakolo was the first to step out, he turned at once to meet with the Vice President who was standing by the side.

‘Good evening sir,’ Dakolo greeted with a bow. Ken also joined him and greeted in the same manner. There was no response to the greeting from the Vice President, he just stared at them while he tossed his phone from one hand to the other.

‘Why are you guys keeping me in darkness?’ He finally spoke after several seconds of making them feel uncomfortable with his gaze. ‘Why was E.G Henry arrested without my knowledge?’ He faced Dakolo and directed the question to him.

‘Sir…’ Dakolo began hesitatingly, he paused to clear his throat and put on more boldness. ‘We were actually going to tell you when we see, the plan we had was that we report to you at the end of every week not everyday sir.’ Elvis smiled at Dakolo’s boldness, he took his face off the officer’s face and began to look to the ground, using his sandal to rub the grasses.

‘But arresting someone like Henry is different, he’s supposed to be a part of us, he’s supposed to be part of those trying to find the assassin and not a suspect.’ Elvis looked up with a bitter frown, ‘I was surprised today to find the news of his arrest on the internet, I called you to confirm and you didn’t deny.’

‘We took him in for questioning sir, because we found out that he’s been hiding a lot of details from us.’ Dakolo said.

‘Of course you had to do it, I only have a problem with you not informing me immediately. What has he been hiding?’

‘He has a close association with someone who’s suspected to be part of Samantha Osman’s group, there’s about ninety percent probability that the person is even Samantha Osman herself.’

‘How did you find out about that?’

‘We discovered that he attended Chief Jubril’s party with the lady,’ Dakolo answered shortly, willing to stop at that but the man’s eyes demanded for more explanation. ‘The lady he went with to the party is a suspect. Henry also testified that she was nowhere to be found during the time of the assassination. He has not seen or spoken to her since that day.’

‘Interesting,’ Elvis bit his lips, enjoying the release of information. ‘So, when did Henry leave your custody?’

‘Before evening time,’Dakolo’s response was sharp. His phone interrupted with its ringtone, he took it out and checked the caller’s ID, Mr Sylvester. Out of respect for the Vice President, he silenced the call.

‘And what’s the next step now?’

‘We hope to keep Henry in safety, he can provide us with useful information if he lives.’ Dakolo stated, hoping the man’s question would end at that.

‘If he lives?’ Elvis stared at him for more explanation. He began to trek away from the park slowly, Dakolo and Ken followed. Dakolo’s phone rang again. He checked the caller’s ID and silenced it again. ‘Why are you sounding as if he’s in danger?’ Elvis concluded his question.

‘The assassin group may come for his life, now that he’s involved with the police.’

‘And haven’t you made plans against that already?’

‘I have, I have four officers watching him, three officers at his house and one officer following him around, all without his knowledge.’

‘Isn’t that enough? Four officers should be able to ensure he’s safety.’

‘Yes sir, on a normal day when dealing with a different group, four may be enough but with Samantha Osman’s group, I’m afraid four may not do the job.’

‘So what are you planning to do now?’ Elvis stopped and asked. ‘I’ve asked Mr Sylvester to convince him not to stay in his residence for sometime.’

‘Where would he stay?’Elvis raised a brow.

‘In NSCC house, it’s more safer there. No one can easily break in.’

‘And has Sylvester been able to convince him?’

‘I don’t know, he’s the one that called me some seconds ago.’ Dakolo brought out his phone, hoping that the man would allow him return Mr Sylvester’s call.

‘No problem, you’ll call him later.’ Elvis replied, disappointing Dakolo. Dakolo returned his phone back into his pocket, waiting for what else the man has to say but Elvis didn’t speak immediately. He began to take slow steps again.

‘I want you to keep me updated always, I won’t like to be surprised again like I was today.’

‘There’s no problem sir.’ Dakolo voiced impatiently, itching to leave the man’s presence.

‘Wait!’ The man suddenly turned to them calmly, with a crooked smile. ‘Why are you so much in a hurry?’

‘We don’t want to leave any chance for the assassin group at all, we don’t want to make any mistakes. We want to ensure that Henry is somewhere safe as soon as possible.’

‘But aren’t you taking it a little bit far? You just arrested him today, even the media hasn’t verified his arrest. How do you think they’ll find out? Or are you suspecting there’s a mole working with you?’ Elvis suggested. Ken shrugged in partial agreement.

‘Mole?’ Dakolo and Ken took quick glances at each other.

‘We don’t think there’s a mole sir,’ Dakolo answered. ‘But we think if the information can get to the press which we didn’t give by ourselves, it can also get to these expert assassins. Henry may have even let out the information himself unknowingly.’

‘It’s okay, you can leave.’ Elvis said and walked away immediately. Even before the man finished talking, Dakolo and Ken had turned and began to proceed to their car. ` Elvis entered into the living room to meet the eagerly waiting Don and the Inspector General. Both of them rose up from the sofa immediately they sighted the Vice President.

‘Henry E.G has a close association with a suspect’ Elvis said to Don as he continued walking. ‘I don’t know if that’ll be of help to you.’ He concluded and proceeded up the stairs, leaving Don and the IG. Don picked his car key from the sofa where he was previously seated and walked out of the place after bowing to say goodbye to the IG.

+++ 8.05pm

The gate opened as Henry tapped a button on the remote control in his car, he drove in with speed and stopped in the middle of the compound. He took off his seatbelt before turning off the car engine, he wasn’t ready to park the car in the right place today. He opened the door to the driver’s side but remained inside and relaxed back for about two minutes. He finally got out after taking his phone from the backseat and proceeded to the left side of the fence drunkenly, the reflection of light from the two neighbouring compound brightened his way enough. He tapped two buttons on the wall and the compound security light came on. He returned to the car and locked the doors properly before proceeding to the house.

The house was dark as he entered, he closed the door and began to search the wall with his hands for the bulb switch. He tapped the switch but there was no light, he left the particular switch and moved to the wall at the other side, he tapped the button and there was no light also. Unsuspicious of anything, he believed that something must have gone wrong with the connections in the house or at the main control point. He took out his phone and pressed the power button, he began to find his way with the little light shown as the phone booted. He was able to get to the first sofa on the left and he sank into it tiredly. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, a slight headache began to disturb him.

He opened his eyes suddenly as he heard sounds of some movement. He turned on the flashlight of his phone and pointed it to his front but saw nothing. He wondered what it could be, Rats? Cockroaches? He wondered but none of them could be accommodated in his house due to proper cleaning and fumigation that takes place frequently, at least he had seen the documents of the previous cleanup that had been done before he moved in. The movement must have been heard in his imagination, he concluded.

~~~

8.10pm It was over two hours now and Jefa had not heard anything else from Henry, his heart was greatly troubled as he couldn’t imagine what kind of trouble Omotara was in. He wasn’t stable enough to go to his business place that day, all efforts made to reach Henry back proved abortive. His earlier decision was to stay away from Henry and Omotara but with the panic at hand, he couldn’t go by that decision.

After several minutes of contemplating, he picked up his phone and dialed Henry’s number again. It was still switched off. He couldn’t take it any longer, he got up from his seat and put on his shirt. He proceeded towards the door and wore his palm sandal placed beside the doormat before hurrying out.

~~~

‘Hello Mr Sylvester, sorry I couldn’t answer your calls. I was with the Vice President.’ Dakolo said hurriedly into the phone. ‘Have you been able to reach Henry?’

‘No, he wasn’t answering his calls. His phone is even switched off now.’Sylvester replied.

‘D–n!’ Dakolo muttered. ‘Please keep trying,’ Dakolo said to Sylvester before ending the call.

‘Sir…’ Ken called in a calm voice, wondering why Dakolo was in so much panic, it wasn’t that they were sure that the assassins were coming for Henry that day, so he wondered why Dakolo was acting like he had gotten information that someone was going to kill Henry that night.

‘Yes,’ Dakolo took a brief glance at Ken.

‘I think we should take it more calmly, I believe we have capable people watching him already, they’ll alert us if there’s any problem.’ Dakolo was about to dial another number but he paused to ponder on Ken’s word. Ken had spoken the truth but Dakolo still had the strange feeling to act urgently, he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself if anything happens to Henry. He went on to dial the number and his call was answered in few seconds.

‘Sir,’ a gruff voice sounded.

‘Officer, where are you now?’ Dakolo asked.

‘In front of Henry’s house, he’s gone inside already. I’m watching with the other officers.’

‘He just drove in?’

‘Yes, few minutes ago.’

‘Can you get into his house for me? I want you to talk to him and try make him believe that he is in danger and shouldn’t sleep in that house tonight, it’s not safe for him.’

‘Where should I tell him to go to?’

‘The NSCC house is safer for him or you can tell him to follow you to my place. I’ll just meet you on the way.’

‘Okay sir, I’ll try go inside the house now.’ The call ended. Dakolo heaved a sigh, he glanced at Ken who was looking less worried. He unlocked his phone’s screen again and opened the dial pad, he scrolled down to Henry’s number and dialed it, not really too optimistic about it. He relaxed back and put it on loud speaker. His eyes widened in excitement as the call went through and Henry’s ring back tone began to play. But his excitement was suppressed few seconds later when the call was not answered by Henry. He tried two more times before giving up. As he closed his eyes to relax a bit, his phone rang again.

‘Sir, he’s not responding to the bell.’ Several thoughts ran through Dakolo’s mind at that moment. Maybe Henry was not just answering the bell the same way he wasn’t answering his calls or maybe he wasn’t answering because an enemy was already fighting with him in the house. It was also possible that Henry was planning to do something.

‘Try more, I’ll call you back now.’ Dakolo cut the call as another idea flashed through his mind on how to reach Henry. He clicked on the message icon and began to type in a message.

~~~

Henry felt angry as Dakolo’s call came in the third time, the gate bell was also sounding at the same time. He guessed that the person at the gate was Dakolo so he ignored the both. The bulbs in the living room suddenly came on as he began to unbutton his shirt. He paused in shock, wondering how it could have happened. He concluded that a wire was not properly connected somewhere and continued with what he was doing.

Few minutes later, he felt so much fear like he had never felt as he lifted up his head and saw the back view of a lady seated on the top of the three seater sofa backrest. The lady got up and turned to face him, Omotara it was. He felt the greatest shock on his life as he saw the way she was dressed and what she had in her hands. She wore black top and shredded Jean trousers with black hand gloves on her hands. She was holding on her left hand an intravenous fluid bag filled with a liquid he was sure was poisonous, while she had on her right hand a black schoolbag. Her nose was covered with a nose mask. His eyes were full of shock and utter disappointment.

Tears filled his eyes, not in fear of the death that was coming, but in realization of the fact that Omotara was really the deadly assassin, Samantha Osman. She took out a bottle from the bag and sprayed the contents, Henry slowly passed out as he inhaled the gas. His phone began to ring again and fell off his hand to the floor, it fell with its screen on his toe and stopped ringing. is it complete

‘Henry, what are you doing? You need to answer the gate now, you may be in serious danger.’ Dakolo said into the phone. He got no reply or response.

‘Hello… Hello.’ He took the phone off his ear and placed the call on loud speaker.

‘Hello Henry,’ he called again. Still there was no response. After some seconds, sounds of movements were heard and the call ended. Ken and Dakolo glanced at each other. Could it be that Henry had decided not to speak with the Agent but just to waste his airtime? Dakolo stared at the phone’s screen for a while, contemplating if he should call back immediately, give it sometime or just give up on calling until they got to his residence. Maybe Henry wasn’t even worth the struggle, Dakolo thought. They were trying to save him from possible danger and he was ignoring their calls. But Dakolo still felt a strange kind of fear in his heart for Henry.

‘We still have twenty minutes more to get there,’ Ken said to him, as if reading the thoughts of his heart.

‘I know,’ Dakolo replied. ‘I don’t really know why Henry is acting like a kid,’ He added bitterly.

‘He’s a young man,’ Ken chuckled. ‘He can act like a kid sometimes.’

‘I think I should call the officer at the gate again,’ Dakolo stated.

‘Sir, there’s really no need to get worked up on this issue. Let’s just leave it since we’re almost there already.’ Ken discouraged. Dakolo stared at the phone’s screen for a while before reluctantly dropping it.

~~

Tarasha cut the call and flung the phone away. She squatted and placed the intravenous fluid bag carefully beside the school bag. She then dragged Henry by his belt and carried him to the three seater sofa. She made him lay flat properly. She walked to the dining table and picked a chair from the place. She returned to the school bag and picked it up with the IV bag. She got back to Henry’s side and placed a knee on the ground. She took out a syringe and a small bottle from the black school bag and drew out the contents of the bottle into the syringe. She turned to Henry and straightened his right hand, trying to select a vein. She released the contents of the syringe into his blood cells through the vein. In two minutes, he’ll be awake but very weak, the victim had to be awake for the contents of the drip bag to work properly. She had carefully weighed several options and selected this as the best way of sorting out Henry’s mess. She thought of taking him out with a gun or another weapon, that wouldn’t waste so much time but she thought Henry didn’t deserve to die yet, somethings from him like his fingerprints, thumb signature might still be needed by her in the future, especially now that she was working with the NSCC.

Getting into his house early was what strengthened her choice, she saw machineries and apps in one of his rooms that could only be opened by his voice, she also found out that the upper floor was not also accessible until he placed his fingers on the lock. She then thought of his work in the NSCC, it was possible that he had also configured some programs that same way, killing him would may make those programs inaccessible for life and that may cause some obstruction in her job also.

She looked up and a sudden fear gripped her as her eyes met his eyes. The injection had worked and he was now conscious again but temporarily paralyzed. He had that innocent look that her first love used to have until the day of his death. She wasn’t killing him, but what she was about to do wasn’t too different from killing him. It would render him totally useless to himself, only his body would be alive but his brain and mind would be dead.

The liquid she was about to pass into his body from the intravenous fluid bag would do the damage to his brain and make his paralysis complete. After arranging the drip bag and making the contents flow into his body, she would go back through the back door and repair it before leaving, so as to give no one a clue that someone entered through the door. She coughed as she remembered something, that sofa where he laid. It was the same place they had both sat some weeks back when she told her story to Henry and he listened with great care and attention. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She had to do what she had to do.

She got up and proceeded to the dining area, she drew out a dining chair and took it with her. She placed it beside Henry and hung the drip bag on the chair backrest. She took out a bottle of mentholated spirit, nylon of cotton wool and a roll of plaster from her bag. She straightened the drip line and inserted the needle into the same vein she had just used before, she held the needle firmly to his hand with the aid of the plaster.

His eyes was still opened when she got up and began to pack back her things into the bag. After a minute of packing all other things except the small bottle of liquid from which she drew out the first mixture she injected into Henry’s body, she bent down to pick the small bottle but couldn’t as her eyes met his again. He couldn’t lift a finger, move his lips or even make an expression with his face but she could see utter disappointment written on his face, she got up slowly to her feet like someone who had been caught stealing without picking the bottle.

For the first time in several years, she felt afraid and tears began to form in her eyes. She closed her eyes, tightened her fists and let out a deep breath. She released the valve in the drip bag and the liquid began to run down in drops. Henry wasn’t aware of what was going on, he couldn’t feel the needle in his vein nor could he see Omotara’s face anymore. He could only see her legs moving. He also saw the dining chair placed closed to him but couldn’t lift up his head to see the drip bag placed on it. He could see the drip line but still couldn’t see that it was leading to a vein in his hand.

Tarasha closed the bag and placed it behind her. She stood, unable to move for a moment, she stared at him in pity, but there was nothing she could do. A sudden noise brought her back to her senses, someone was hitting the gate violently, that was when she realized that the person ringing the bell at the gate must have resorted to applying force now since there had been no response. It was time to go. She touched the valve control on the drip bag once again and the liquid began to flow more rapidly.

~~

‘Don’t you think it’ll be dangerous to walk into this place like that?’ An officer asked another one beside him as they watched from a car the other two officers trying to force the gate open.

‘Dangerous? Why?’ The other replied.

‘We don’t know what to expect inside?’

‘C’mon, haven’t we stayed here all day monitoring the house, the only person that entered into the place since has been the owner.’

‘Yes, I know but we don’t know what he has in store for us.’

‘No matter what he has in store for us, only him can’t defeat the four of us.’

‘Hmm… I wouldn’t have bothered if it was an ordinary person o,’ the officer said in a warning tone. ‘We’re talking about someone who is related to the notorious assassin gang here. How are we sure that we are not even being watched at the moment.’ The other officer quickly glanced around in fear, his colleague had been able to transfer his fear into him.

‘Hmm… You have a point but someone has just got to find out, we can’t have a squad here. That’ll be too noticeable to all.’

‘But I don’t think we’re going by it the right way,’ the officer said and opened his door to step out.

‘We were told to monitor Henry and report any suspicious activity not to break into his house.’ He stepped out and began to match towards the road. He paused for a black car to pass before proceeding. The driver of the car took a glance at him and continued driving.

~~~

From afar, Don could see the two non uniformed officers at Henry’s gate. He slowed down the speed of his car and gradually began to think of a way to get inside the house without passing through the officers. His plan was to threaten Henry and force out some information from him which could lead him to Tarasha. He continued towards the house slowly, he saw another man trying to cross the road to the other side. He guessed it was another officer. He drove past the house carefully without raising any suspicion and made a U-turn, planning to check the street behind and examine the feasibility of getting in through the back. He wasn’t expecting that Tarasha would be in Henry’s house, his thought was that Tarasha and her crew weren’t even in Abuja again. Since Lagos was their base, he was expecting them to have returned like they always did, to plan the attack on the next victim.

There was a little bit of confusion on the street as he wanted to turn into the next street. The traffic warder at that point must have gone to sleep as all motorists were moving at their own discretion. It took sometime for him to get a clear view to cross. A motorcycle ran into his car.

++++

‘The Agent’s instruction was that we get into this place,’ the officer in blue stated adamantly. He stepped back and hit the gate lock once again. It gave way and two of the officers stepped inside. The third officer made a signal to the one in the car and glanced around before following them hesitatingly. He hadn’t been able to stop them, instead they had talked him into following them inside.

The two officers ahead took out their guns and proceeded into the house after checking the compound to see if there was anything strange. The leader signaled to the third officer to wait in the compound. The doors were opened so they had no problems entering the house, they passed through a couple of extensions before getting into the living room where Henry was.

‘D–n!’ An officer cursed as he saw Henry. The fluid bag was halfway already. He rushed to Henry and started disconnecting the drip line. The other officer checked around the place. Henry’s eyes was still open wide but he was cold and still.

‘Is he alive?’ The blue shirted officer asked.

‘I don’t know,’ the colleague replied. He then placed his ear on Henry’s chest to listen to the heartbeat. ‘He’s alive!’ He announced. ‘Call an ambulance, then call Agent Dakolo.’ He ordered and began to proceed further into the house. He returned a minute later, the other officer had left Henry’s side. He was proceeding upstairs.

‘This place is locked?’ The officer on the stairs said. ‘It’s locked from outside.’

‘Okay, have you called for an ambulance?’

‘Yes,’ the officer replied, returning down slowly.

‘What of Agent Dakolo?’

‘He’s not answering his calls.’ The blue shirted officer bent down beside Henry and picked up the small bottle that contained the remnant of the liquid which Tarasha injected into his veins to make him conscious.

‘Is it possible he’s a drug addict?’ He asked raising up the bottle for his colleague to see.

‘Very possible, there’s no one around so he might just be placing himself on a dose.’

‘Yeah… At the same time he doesn’t look hurt, no one could have forcefully placed him on a drip.’ He said and wrapped the bottle in his palm. ‘Please call the office again and tell the ambulance to hurry down.’

~~

‘Where the hell is the traffic warder here?’ Dakolo bounced out in anger as he proceeded towards the accident scene. The driver of the car stepped out to help the victim, some pedestrians had also come by to help him.

‘The motorcyclist was impatient,’ some people began to murmur.

‘Let’s carry him into my car,’ Don said. He was furious about what had happened because it had disturbed his journey. He would have escaped if it was a less busy road but he couldn’t try that here, he could get mobbed.

‘Wait!’ Dakolo said to the men as they tried to lift him up. He recognized the face of the victim, it was the same man who joined him in the cab on his first day of arrival into Abuja.

‘Your phone is ringing sir.’ Ken said, approaching from behind. Dakolo turned and took his phone.

‘Ken, you have to go with this man to the hospital, make sure the victim is well treated and the man who hit him comes to the office to take down his statement.

‘Okay sir,’ Ken agreed reluctantly and handed over the car keys to Dakolo. Dakolo took the keys and rushed back to the car, he dialed the number before starting the engine.

‘Officer, have you gotten in?’

‘Yes sir,’ the reply came promptly. ‘He put himself on drugs, I think he took an overdose.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Sir, we met him placed on drip and there was no one else with him.’

‘Have you taken him already?’

‘No, he’s unconscious and we’ve called for an ambulance.’

‘Okay, I’ll get there in the next three minutes.’ Dakolo said and ended the call. He zoomed off immediately.

+++

Tarasha watched from afar as they lifted the accident victim, she got out of the van to have a closer view. some of the people who had stopped to help were already rolling the remnant of the bike away. Tarasha confirmed the victim’s face just before he was dropped into the car, he was still alive but unconscious. She was sure it was that same man she had an encounter with in the Catholic Church premises and during the police investigation.

Tarasha’s eyes had met with Jefa’s as the road got clear. That was the reason for the accident. Jefa could not concentrate on the bike he was riding again and had crashed into Don’s car. She wanted to move closer but stopped as she saw Ken discussing with someone else. She turned and began to walk back to the vehicle. She saw a phone, scattered into parts just beside the tyre at the driver’s side, it was most likely for the accident victim. She stylishly picked up the pieces and entered into the car. Ken handed over a car key to the man he was discussing with and turned to join the car. The man Ken was discussing with turned also and Tarasha saw his face, she recognized him to be Inspector Dakolo, she had seen his face once on TV after the execution of the Rivers State Governor.

She watched as he entered into his car and started the engine, he then engaged himself in a phone conversation. After using a minute altogether, he zoomed off. Tarasha felt like following after him to his destination and probably take him out also. She turned on her car but turned it off again at another glance towards the accident scene. It was more important for now to follow the man who Henry said claimed to be her brother. The car carrying the victim finally started and drove off in the opposite direction. Tarasha followed after.

~~~ 9am

Dakolo and Ken sat quietly, their moods were not quite far from sober as they watched Henry lay lifeless on the hospital bed. His eyes was still wide opened but he wasn’t seeing anything nor was he making any movement. The doctor said he was still unconscious and wasn’t sure if he’ll bounce back to consciousness or pass on from there. It’s been two days now and there seemed to be no improvement in the situation. It was obvious from investigation that Henry was not a drug addict but it was still under question if Henry had placed himself on the drip, nothing around reflected that he was forced to. He was the only one in the house at that time and there were no broken doors or windows to prove that someone broke in. The best conclusion was that Henry had decided to take his life slowly, maybe to avoid further embarrassment from the police.

One confusing thing that still bothered Agent Dakolo’s mind and stopped him from making a conclusion was their inability to locate where Henry had gotten the poisonous drip from. They had visited everywhere that the trailer saw him stop and none of them could be the place the drip was sold at. Another assumption could be that Henry had it in his car before that day. But that’ll mean Henry was already preparing to kill himself, Dakolo didn’t think that was possible.

‘Agent,’ Mr Sylvester called as he walked into the room with a Doctor, the one in charge of treating the two patients that was brought in by the police.

‘Mr Sylvester,’ Dakolo replied, he couldn’t stand the look in Sylvester’s eyes as it made him feel guilty of Henry’s plight.

‘So your investigation has finally landed Mr Henry here,’ Sylvester accused.

‘Excuse me sir,’ Ken tried to come in but Dakolo stopped him by raising up a hand.

‘Mr Sylvester, our job has to be done, regardless of who it involves. Let’s just hope and pray that Henry recovers quickly’ Dakolo said.

‘And I pray he recovers,’ Ken quickly chipped in stubbornly. ‘He’ll have a lot of explanation to make about his relationship with the assassins.’

‘Gentlemen please,’ the sixty year old Doctor pleaded. ‘Here’s not the place for that, he needs no disturbance.’ The Doctor said and turned to examine Henry, he turned back after some few minutes and announced, ‘he’ll regain consciousness very soon, I believe.’

‘Wow! That’s good news!’ Dakolo exclaimed.

‘Yeah, but there might be some complications.’ The Doctor said in a sad tone, adjusting his thick lenses as he spoke.

‘What complications?’ Dakolo and Sylvester asked in unison.

‘I don’t know for now, we’ve extracted samples of the poison from his body and we’re still performing some tests on them, we hope to come out with some useful results soon.’ The Doctor replied without too much of hope in his voice.

~~~

‘Hello, who’s here?’ Tarasha shouted around the store. A woman who was dressed as a cleaner came out from the shop behind.

‘Good afternoon,’ the Lady greeted, giving Tarasha a searching look. ‘How may I help you?’

‘I’m Miss Kimberly, an officer of the Nigerian Health organization.’ Tarasha displayed an ID card for proof, she returned it into her pocket when she was sure that the woman had seen it well. ‘I’m here to check this man’s outlet, we are aware that he sells food and drinks here.’

‘Ermm… Madam,’ the cleaner scratched her hair. ‘Mallam Jefa has not opened the store for some days now.’

‘Mallam Jefa, is that his name? And he’s not opening today also?’ Tarasha enquired.

‘Yes, they always call him Jefa. I don’t really know if he’s opening today, I seriously doubt it.’

‘Okay, does anyone know where he lives?’

‘Yes, there’s someone here that chats well with him.’ She pointed to a big hairdressing salon nearby, ‘let me get him for you.’

‘Thanks,’ Tarasha said with a grin. Her phone rang as she quietly waited for the Lady to return. Cole. She bit her lips slightly before answering.

‘Hello Boss, we’re about to go in’ Cole’s voice came anxiously from the other end.

‘Relax your nerves Cole,’ Tarasha replied calmly. ‘Tell the others too. Relax, discuss your suggestions and plans with conviction and confidence. Make him see that you’re capable of organizing the program. Also make him see reasons why you need to have more meetings, why you need a more suitable environment to discuss and let him agree to your own terms.’

‘Okay, thank you boss.’ Cole said and the call ended.

~~

‘Come in Gentlemen,’ Nasiru Attahiru, the Senate President welcome his guests warmly.

‘Thank you sir,’ Mr Alfred said as he took the hands of the man in his his.

‘You’re welcome,’ Nasiru smiled cheerfully as he took the hands of the younger man and then the lady. ‘Have your seats please,’ he said before settling into his own chair.

‘Thank you sir, it’s nice to meet with you sir.’ Mr Alfred began with a smile. ‘We’ve actually been looking forward to this moment.’

‘It’s my pleasure. My mother have spoken a lot about you and told me how passionate you are to help the less privileged in this country but…’ Nasiru paused and stared. ‘I thought it was supposed to be four of you?’

‘Yes, we are four but the fourth person has gone on a special errand to the business capital of the country, Lagos. She was sent to visit the slums and ghettos and get some pictures and interviews which she can send to the headquarters in Canada. She didn’t go with us to Katsina also.’

‘Oh! I see,’ Nasiru’s face brightened up.

‘Yes, she’ll be joining us once she’s through.’

‘That’s okay, so let’s get to the main points of the meeting.’

‘Yes, thank you sir.’ Mr Alfred adjusted himself and cleared his throat. ‘Our first purpose of coming here has already been achieved, I’m sure you saw the pictures of the program and report of what we did.’ He paused to see Nasiru’s response, Nasiru nodded in affirmation. Mr Alfred touched his lips with his handkerchief before he continued. ‘That was our main purpose for coming but on further study of the country, we noticed that we have people with enough capabilities to keep these programs running extensively and we thought of a way to foster better participation of these people. Now, we’ve discovered that when calls like these are made, what most of them do is to send donations without making their presence well felt.’ He paused again to see if he was making the desired impact on the man, he was. ‘We’ve decided to make this happen by organizing conferences which we’ll disguise to the public as a meeting for the elites, we’ll use this meeting to inspire the attendees and give them reasons why they should be passionately involved.’

‘Hmm… I get your point but our people here are stubborn. I’m still thinking of someone who can really get them to listen quite attentively in a conference. And it might not also be easy to assemble them together.’

‘Sir, what if we invite someone like Mcklin Daves and Ray Gates?’ Mr Alfred asked.

‘What?’ Nasiru’s eyes widened in surprise. ‘You can invite such people?’

‘Yes sir,’ Alfred said with a chuckle. ‘They are all partners with our organization and they’ll be glad to inspire others to join them in such a good course.’

‘Ermm…’ Nasiru’s excitement reduced suddenly. He frowned slightly.

‘Any question sir?’ Mr Alfred asked, noticing the frown.

‘No but I’m just thinking of how possible it’ll be for us to convince them that they are really coming. And how am I supposed to be sure that you’re not just saying this to get me involved?’

‘Sir… We actually need your help to bring them down here, we are not just saying this to get you involved. In fact, you must be involved to make it work. We need the government’s support to bring those men down here. They have to be sure that there is a proper mobilization of the citizens and only the government of a country can assure them that, not the body that is in charge of organizing the conference. Once you’ve approved for us to go ahead with the planning, we’ll report to our Head office and they’ll make contact with the proposed guests. If they agree on coming, then a video showing their agreement would be sent to us. And they’ll also be involved in the video promos for the conference.’

Nasiru remained quiet for a while, pondering on all he heard. To him, the proposal sounded good and it’ll be welcomed by the government of the country as far as their organization making the proposal can keep to their own terms. After almost two minutes silence, Nasiru took in a deep breath and began to talk.

‘Your proposal sounds good and excellent, I’m not surprised though. My mum already told me about your passion for the less privileged in Africa and I trust her judgement to be accurate always.’ He took a brief pause. ‘But I still need to know more about your organization. You know this proposal does not involve only the Ata’s Foundation but the Country as a whole.’

‘That’s no problem sir, we’ll give you any information you need about us, as much as you enquire.’ Alfred said with a smile.

‘Thank you,’ Nasiru smiled back. He rested his back on the swivel and rolled back a little. ‘So where are you lodging in this town.’

‘Elymax Hotels sir.’

‘Elymax?’

‘Yes’ ‘It’s nice but I’ll prefer you guys leave there and come over to my mansion.’

‘Oh!’ Mr Alfred and his colleagues expressed their surprise at his offer. ‘Yes, I’ll like you to come today.’

‘Thank you sir, we’ll…’ Mr Alfred was saying when the younger man cut in.

‘Thank you sir, we are so honoured by your invitation to your place but we won’t be able to do that on our own.’ He said in a polite way. ‘It’s possible to come pay you visits but if we want to stay there, we have to let the office decide for us, since we are on their assignment.’

‘Ok, I understand. No problem, I hope you relay my message to them and I’ll be expecting you by tomorrow.’

~~~ 3pm

Dakolo and Ken hurried up the stairs, proceeding to the Doctor’s office. They had been called to come urgently as there was a new development. Dakolo’s phone rang as they got to the first landing. He slid it open and answered the call.

‘Mr Sylvester.’

‘Where are you sir? I’m at the hospital and we’re waiting for you.’

‘We’re on our way to the Doctor’s office,’ Dakolo answered.

‘Please hurry up.’ The call ended and the journey up the stairs continued. In three minutes time, they got to the Doctor’s office. Dakolo took the empty seat available beside Sylvester while Ken had to remain standing.

‘Welcome officers,’ the Doctor greeted, he cleared his throat and adjusted his eyeglasses. ‘The patient is conscious now.’ He announced.

‘Wow!’ The faces of the three men brightened up at the news. They all felt relieved, all for different reasons. Dakolo for the fact that Henry who he had taken like a brother was still alive, Sylvester because Henry was still alive and the guilt he felt as a result of him being the one who invited him to join the NSCC which resulted in his troubles could now leave. Ken on his own was happy that a major suspect and eyewitness in Samantha Osman’s case was alive.

‘But…’ The Doctor said in a flattened tone that caught their attention. ‘His brain no more functions properly and he’s partially paralyzed.’ The door suddenly flung open and a nurse barged in looking troubled.

‘Sir, the accident victim on ward 12B is nowhere to be found.’ …

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