‘I was standing behind the gate then,’ one of the men answered.
The fence and the gate of the place were made of twisted steel rods placed diagonally across each other and evenly spaced, giving enough space for people outside to see the vehicles inside and for those inside to also see outside. Very few cars were also arranged for display outside the fence.
‘How many of them were in the car?’ Agent Tim asked.
‘I saw three people, two at the front and one behind.’
‘How many of them came in to get the car?’
‘Just one and he didn’t spend up to two minutes,’ the man replied.
‘He didn’t spend up to two minutes to purchase a car?’ Agent Tim asked in a surprised tone.
‘Sir,’ the second man came in. ‘Those guys visited this place earlier this morning in that same car, the only difference was that it wasn’t crushed at the bonnet at that time. They all came in then to check our vehicles, I think that was when they selected the car they wanted. So when they returned, it was only to pay for and take the selected car.’
‘Oh! That makes more sense,’ Agent Tim said, nodding thoughtfully. He turned to the first man, ‘And was there nothing suspicious about them when they were leaving?’
The first man thought for a while, his mind flashed back to the moment. He could recall how one of them drove the car outside and parked it beside the damaged car they brought and how the second one at the front seat helped the man at the back seat to get into the new car. ‘Sir, I noticed something when they were going, it seemed the third man in the backseat was a bit weak, the second guy had to support him into the new car.’
‘And you guys didn’t find it suspicious?’ Agent Tim barked.
‘Well…’ the first man tried to find an excuse. ‘There was really nothing to suspect them for.’
‘We need to track the one who paid for the car,’ Agent Tim said and turned immediately. He glanced back briefly again, ‘Please take me to the person who sold the car.’
‘So you bought two cars and dumped one on the road,’ Tarasha said with the phone held close to her ear, using the fingers of her other hand on the laptop in front of her.
She was in the hotel room with Stephanie and was sitting on the sofa with her laptop placed in front of her on a short table. Stephanie was sitting in the bed at the far end, with her back resting against the headboard.
‘Yes boss,’Cole replied from the other end.
‘Okay, make your plans and move the man to Lagos as soon as you can, we would also be returning tomorrow.’
She dropped the call and focused on the laptop in front of her. The tracking software was on and a location had been detected, a small green circle was on the exact point on the map.
Tarasha opened the notepad application on her phone and typed in the address of the location found.
NNEWI, ANAMBRA STATE
Martin Ekwueme Jnr was seated in the one seated sofa with his legs crossed and his eyes stared sternly at Dave’s face. He had a glass cup of wine in his hand which was suspended in the air with the elbow placed on the raised knee of his crossed leg.
Dave remained seated comfortably in his seat. He was slightly disguised to look older. He had a new moustache and a gold tinted hair by the left, his face also appeared slightly lighter than it was supposed to be.
He had his phone in his hand which he was busy with. He had just finished reading an action and romance thriller on the PobsOnline website when he decided to switch to the news section of the website. He scanned through the new page and only glanced briefly at the news headlines until he got to a particular one which was related to his purpose in Anambra.
‘Doctor Francis Onuoha claims to have seen Dr Martin Ekwueme in Ogun State,’ the headline read. He quickly clicked on the link and the full page loaded in four seconds.
‘Retired Gynaecologist and former colleague of Dr Martin Ekwueme has reported to the police that he had an encounter with the missing doctor some few days ago in his residence at Opic Estate in Ogun State.
According to Dr Francis statement at the police office, Dr Ekwueme was said to have visited his residence unannounced with a young lady he referred to as his daughter. Dr Ekwueme was said to have been surprised when he saw Dr Francis and they both exchanged pleasantries and shared in the joy of pleasant memories. Having taken few minutes to catch up on old times, Dr Ekwueme stated that the reason he was there with “his daughter” was to make researches on a particular project she had embarked on from school.
Dr Francis stated that they asked questions about the construction process of the house and were particularly interested in knowing the agent who sold the house to him(Dr Francis). Dr Francis however could not provide all the information they required of him but claimed to have searched for the house documents and showed them one which documents the agency of the house and the purchase details.
The two doctors exchanged numbers before the visitors left but since that day, the number given to Dr Francis by Dr Ekwueme had been unreachable. All efforts made by the police to track the number and find its owner and location have proved futile as there seems to be no records of the number in the Network provider’s data base.
The Agency have been contacted and asked if any contact was made by anyone with them asking about the agent who sold the house but they denied anything of such. They claimed that two years after the death of the agent Lewis George, they had concluded all transactions which had to do with him and his name.’
Dave squinted at his phone’s screen for few more minutes after reading the article. Different thoughts flooded his mind. He double-tapped the phone’s screen to turn it on and he checked through the last paragraph again.
‘Lewis George,’ he muttered to himself. The name sounded familiar.
He didn’t need to think for so long before he recalled where he had seen the name before. It was the same as Stephanie’s father’s name and he also remembered that the man worked as a housing agent.
He grinded his teeth together for a moment as a totally different set of thoughts struck his mind. Could it be possible that Dr Ekwueme was working willingly with Samantha Osman? And did it also mean that Stephanie had contacted Samantha Osman immediately after they had the argument and had given her all the details about the crime the Vice President committed against her father?
He felt bitter in his heart against Stephanie for a moment. If she had been so quick to contact Samantha Osman, then it meant that she must have also told the assassin about him and revealed his true identity to her.
The sofa he was seated in became uncomfortable, his legs began to vibrate as he boiled in anger but his eyes met with Martin jnr and he quickly tried to compose himself. He remained in silence, angry at Stephanie and angry at himself more for being so stupid to reveal his true identity to her. He never believed that she would sell him out so easily. He was blinded by his feelings towards her.
Martin Junior raised his head up as he saw a figure walk into the living room from the main entrance. ‘Mum,’ he called and stood up immediately. He placed the cup of wine on the stool beside his sofa.
‘Martin,’ Miss Adaeze called back as she proceeded towards him, her eyes were fixed on the stranger who was seated in the living room with her son.
‘Good afternoon ma,’ Dave got up to greet with a bow immediately.
‘Good afternoon,’ Miss Adaeze greeted back and stopped beside her son.
‘Mum, this is the guy I told you about on phone. He’s a special investigator who was brought here by the officer in charge of Dad’s case, and he claims to have a lot of information that may help us find my Dad.’
‘Okay,’ Miss Adaeze said and stared at Dave with a doubtful look. ‘Let’s hear what he has to say,’ she said and settled in the sofa beside her son. The son also sat before Dave sat.
‘Actually ma, I really do not plan to say anything, I actually have more questions to ask than things to say.’
‘Questions? I hope you’re not about to ask the same questions police officers have asked us severally,’ Miss Adaeze said.
‘No ma, I have a totally different set of questions.’ Dave replied confidently. He truly had a totally different set of questions. Better put, his initial questions were changed to a totally different set immediately after he read the news article concerning the doctor being seen at Ogun State.
‘Okay, let’s hear your questions. We have the rights to answer or to keep quiet.’
‘Yea, sure man. You can always tell me if you are not comfortable with any question.’ Dave said reassuringly. He turned on the screen of his phone and began with his questions, ‘Firstly, have you heard that Dr Francis claimed to have seen Dr Ekwueme few days ago?’
‘Yes, the police contacted early this morning to ask some questions.’ Martin answered.
‘Oh! Please, may I know the questions they asked?’ Dave said in a pleading tone.
‘What they really wanted to know was the lady Dr Francis claimed to see him with, but with the descriptions we were given, we don’t think we have such girl in our family.’
‘But you really do believe that Dr Francis saw them?’
‘Yes, we believe.’ Martin said with a sigh. He actually did not believe the story but his mother had spoken to him and gave him reasons why Dr Francis could not lie.
‘Do you know Dr Francis so well and trust him that much?’ Dave asked.
Martin glanced at his mum. The woman adjusted her seating position, ‘Yes, Dr Francis is an honest and intelligent person, he couldn’t have made the claims if it didn’t happen.’
‘And who do you think that girl could be?’ Dave asked, directing the question to Martin.
‘I don’t know,’ Martin replied, shrugging up his shoulders. ‘None of us have the slightest idea.’
‘I think you should know,’ Dave said, looking keenly at Martin’s face.
Martin frowned at him. It sounded more like an accusation than an ordinary statement. ‘What do you mean by that?’ he asked.
‘I mean you have seen the girl before,’ Dave replied.
Martin raised his brows, ‘ What are you talking about?’
‘On the day of the kidnap, you visited your Dad at the hospital, didn’t you?’
‘Yes, I did.’ Martin replied, wondering where he was driving at.
‘There was a girl you addressed that day,’ Dave continued. Martin frowned harder. ‘She was insisting on seeing your Dad and didn’t want to see any other doctor.’
Martin released his facial muscles slowly as he remembered until his frown totally disappeared.
‘I can see you remember now,’ Dave smiled faintly. ‘That girl! Haven’t you thought that she could be the one who was seen going out with your father from his house that day and she could also be the same person that was seen with your Dad by Dr Francis?’
Martin opened his mouth. He had totally forgotten the incident and didn’t think that the stubborn girl he addressed at the hospital that day could be involved in his father’s disappearance.
‘Are you saying that she came to kidnap my father?’
‘I’ve not said that yet,’ Dave replied.
‘Then what are you saying?’
‘I’m not sure yet. I’ve been on that girl’s trail for a while, she’s a hardened criminal and if she really is the same person, your father’s may be in serious danger.’
There was tension in the living room now. Dave could see the panic on their faces, and that was what he wanted, to get them to a state where they would be willing to fully cooperate with him.
‘But you don’t need to panic,’ he said. ‘If you provide me with all necessary details that I need, your father would get out of danger unhurt.’
Martin heaved a sigh of relief. He stretched his hand to draw his mother closer to him in a side embrace.
Dave stared at their faces, he had them where he wanted now, but he knew deep inside his mind that the chances of getting out Dr Ekwueme without him being hurt were very slim.
To be continued