‘Hey Steph! Where have you been?’
Steph smiled on hearing the scream of her course mate. She was finally retuning to school, four weeks after resumption. That was against her usual manner. She always resumed at least, a week after resumption and joined the executives of the SWAD to preach the gospel of the group especially to the fresh students. This time around, she was the leader and was supposed to lead the team in recruiting more members but she wasn’t available. They believed in carrying out the recruitment so early before the students get themselves exposed to other things and probably even involved in vices.
‘You heard I was kidnapped right?’ she replied the friend.
‘Yes, but I never heard that you’ve been found.’ the girl at the other end replied.
‘You are the first person I’m calling,’ Stephanie said.
‘I see, where exactly are you calling from and what happened to you?’
‘Don’t worry, I would explain everything to you when we see. I would present myself to the police tomorrow and explain what happened to me. For now, I want you to start organizing the team. We have to begin our normal activities for the semester, or have you guys met at all since we resumed?’
‘Yes, we met twice already but we really had no strong direction since you were not around and we knew the circumstances surrounding your disappearance. I’ve just been able to convince the rest of the team that we have to continue our activities without you.’
‘Please, you really have to start. I would resume back to school as soon as possible.’
‘Wow! Steph, I’m so glad to hear from you tonight. I’m happy you’re alive and coming back to school soon.’
‘I’m also glad to hear from you again.’
‘But Steph, won’t you tell me where you are?’
‘Not now Sinach, and please do not tell anyone yet that I called, please don’t.’ Stephanie pleaded, even though she knew it was impossible for her friend to remain quiet about the call. She was already hearing background voices of females, asking if it was really Stephanie George on the line.
‘So when are you coming to school?’
‘After I settle everything with the police.’
‘Please come back soon, I can’t wait to see you.’
‘Alright babe, see you soon.’
She took in a deep breath after putting down the phone. She wished she could just tell Sinach that she wasn’t far away from school and it would take less than twenty minutes to drive to her location, but that was against the instructions Cole had given her, and it wasn’t even safe for her to do.
Two men at the backseat of the vehicle and only the driver at the front. The older of the men had his laptop resting partially on his knees and his lap, he was sitting in a relaxed position. The other man who was younger was sitting up, checking an item on the laptop screen.
‘I do think I should take the lead in this, that guy doesn’t know we’ve been tracking him and it’ll spoil everything if he sees you at the front.’ the younger man said.
‘Yeah, I’ve thought about that before and I was thinking of you being at the forefront but then I remembered that the third party could see you and that may cause greater problems, especially for you.’
‘Yes, she could identify you immediately.’
‘Is there any way she would have found out about this?’ the younger man asked.
‘It’s possible she has already, I’ve been following the patterns closely while you were away and I can boldly tell you that she has her strange ways of always getting inside information.’
‘So, that means two of us aren’t the right ones to lead this?’
‘I guess so.’
‘But there’s a simple solution,’ the younger man said. The older one turned his gaze to him, ‘We can be at the front if we use a proper disguise and also thread carefully. We already have a strong weapon against them.’
‘I get you,’ the older man replied thoughtfully. He looked away for some seconds, thinking about his partner’s last statement. ‘What strong weapon are you talking about?’
‘The element of surprise,’ the younger one replied. ‘None of them would be aware that we’d be there and they won’t plan for us.’
The older man stared at his partner’s face for a while, a light smile appeared on his face. ‘You must be a real big criminal,’ he said jestingly. ‘You always sound like a very experienced detective who knows the patterns of criminals.’
The younger man smiled back. He was about to reply when the moving vehicle entered into a pothole and unbalanced them for a while. By the time the vehicle returned to the plain road, his phone was already ringing. He took out his phone and stared at the screen briefly, it took three seconds for the truecaller app to identify the name of the unknown caller. He smiled to himself on seeing the name, he had sent his phone number to the person by email and had waited so long to get this call.
The vehicles were moving already, a Camry sport series in front and a jeep behind. Both vehicles tried to drive as much as possible as if they had no relation with each other and took different short alternative routes, so that they would not be seen as connected together if anyone was watching.
The Vice President in his disguised costume was sitting with Rex at the backseat of the Camry sport series. Ayo, his PA was also disguised and was sitting in front with a driver. The jeep behind was occupied by some security officers who were loyal to the Vice President and at one time or the other carried out or were involved in illegal activities for the man. Four of them in the vehicle, none dressed in uniform but all armed to the teeth, extra weapons were hidden in a safe place in the car. The immigrations officer was also in the vehicle with them.
Elvis Richards had his eyes closed and head tilted backward but he wasn’t asleep. He was meditating on what his new life would look like and how it would feel living like an ordinary person after several years of being in leadership positions and in the government.
Rex on the other hand was busy with the device in his hand. He had gotten a message from Nicholas telling him that Samantha Osman’s team had learnt from a source that the Vice President was on his way to Lagos and they had plans to attack him even though he claimed she had not disclosed the plans. He had also gotten a voice recording but had not been able to deduce what the voice recording meant.
Rex had known it was possible for Samantha Osman to get an idea of their planned trip but he didn’t know how she was going to get it. On meeting Agent James that morning, he had advised Agent James that full information about the plan should not be given out yet to the people working with them. He now had in his mind the next step to take. The escorting security officials in the jeep would have to be led by Stainless while he, the Vice President, the immigrations officer and the Vice President’s PA would only have knowledge of the next step.
He pondered for a while and changed his mind about involving Ayo in the plan, he had only counted Ayo because the young man was trusted by the Vice President and the Vice President at several times had contacted him(Rex) through Ayo. But now, he knew he had to take Ayo out of the plans since Samantha Osman was getting information from a source which could be part of the team.
The Vice President’s phone rang and distracted him from his thoughts. He took it out and checked the caller, it was Agent Tim. He answered the call.
‘Hello Tim,’ he said into the phone.
‘Good evening sir,’ Agent Tim greeted. ‘Please where are you right now?’
‘Where am I? Where else am I supposed to be by this time of the night? I’m in my home of course.’
‘I’m sorry for not asking my question directly, but I just got a memo from the Acting Inspector General and we’ve been asked to confirm if you are still in your residence.’
‘What kind of thing is that? You people want to come into my house this night? That’s total disrespect and invasion of privacy,’ the Vice President sounded somewhat angry.
‘No, we can’t come into your residence this night but I just got a memo from the AIGP and I’ve been asked to follow a team of officers to join the secret officials that have been monitoring your movement. It’s as if the Inspector General got an information that you are planning to escape this night.’
‘But that’s preposterous, what kind of accusation is that? I think I’d have to sue the force for defamation of character once all this is over.’
‘I just said I should give you this information from the memo I got sir, I have to go now.’
‘Thank you Tim, have a goodnight rest.’
The Vice President ended the call and exhaled deeply. He glanced at Rex who was already looking at him.
‘You’re tensed man, you need to be stay calm.’
‘How can I be calm when nothing seems to be working. Someone has already hinted the Acting Inspector General of my plans to leave the house in Abuja,’ Elvis Richards replied, his eyes widely shone as he took his breaths heavily.
‘You need to relax and forget what happens elsewhere, I’ve got it in control.’ Rex replied.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes,’ Rex replied with a reassuring stern look. ‘You got out of your house unnoticed already, they would have to wait till morning before they can confirm that you’ve left the house.’
‘Are you sure no one really noticed when I left?’
Rex replied with a nod and looked away. He was sure none of the security officials secretly watching could have noticed the man was out of the house already. They left the house with a good plan. They had found a man of close size to the Vice President and disguised him in the same form and clothes worn by the Vice President. They drove into the Vice President’s house around four o’clock with the man at the backseat of the Camry sports car and the glasses open so that the secret stalkers would see him clearly. They drove out of the house by 5:30pm with the Vice President now disguised as the man and in the same clothes and sitting in the same position in the car. With that, they were sure that the DSS men would think the same man who was in the car driven in was the same one that came out with the same car.
‘Find a good space and pull over,’ Rex ordered the driver after some minutes.
The driver took a glance back at Rex and then glanced at the disguised Vice President to confirm if he should obey Rex’s order.
‘Pull over,’ the Vice President supported and then turned to Rex. ‘What do you want to do?’
‘Something we need to do,’ Rex replied him.
Elvis Richards trusted him and kept mute until the driver pulled over. Every one of them turned to Rex to see what he wanted to do.
Rex wound down the glass by his side and looked around briefly to see how safe the place was. He then turned and looked at Ayo, ‘Call the people in the Jeep to pull over behind us.’
Ayo looked at Chief Elvis who nodded in consent immediately. He took out his phone and made the call, he described the position where they parked and gave the instruction. They waited five minutes for the Jeep to get there.
Rex took a look back at Jeep for a moment, then he turned back to Ayo. ‘Get up and join them in that vehicle, tell the Immigrations officer to come here and the Jeep would continue to maintain the same distance from this car like it has.’
Ayo raised his brows and took a quick glance at Elvis Richards. The Chief nodded in consent still. Ayo took in a deep breath and stepped out of the vehicle hesitatingly. A minute later, the immigrations officer joined them.
Immediately after they continued the journey, Rex requested for the phone of the driver, he took out the sim cards in it and broke them before returning. He also changed the IMEI and some other details.
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Dakolo was sleeping off already when he got a call. He quickly picked the phone and looked at the caller, it was the IGP.
‘Good evening sir,’ he said into the phone in a surprised tone, wondering why the man was calling him at such a time of the day.
‘Good evening Officer Dakolo, we just got a mail from Samantha Osman some minutes ago and she claims the Vice President is planning to leave Abuja tonight. I already increased the number of officers monitoring him but I also want you to do some investigations by asking Agent James questions.’
‘Oh! I would start that right away,’ Dakolo replied. He sat up and picked the laptop which was by his side and placed it on his laps.
‘Finally we get his attention,’ Carl announced in a loud voice which made Eric looked towards his direction.
‘Is he calling?’ Eric turned to him and asked.
‘No, he sent a text message,’ Carl replied.
‘Hello guys,’ someone distracted them. They both looked towards the entrance as Victoria entered in unannounced.
‘Victoria, you’re late!’ Eric exclaimed.
‘Yes, I know. I had to wait and gather enough information,’ she replied as she walked elegantly to meet Carl. ‘I think I have an idea of where Samantha Osman will be tomorrow morning,’ she added as she picked a piece of carrot on Carl’s table and broke part into her mouth.
‘Where is that?’ Eric turned to her, she had been able to get his attention.
‘Attacking the Vice President at his location,’ she replied as she turned towards Eric while she leaned her bum against Carl’s table.
They both stared at her and demanded for more explanation.
‘She sent an email to the IGP and SSS Chairman today, she claims Chief Elvis Richards would escape his residence for Lagos tonight.’ Victoria replied.
Eric reasoned her words for a moment and then turned back to his laptop. ‘That’s vague, you haven’t mentioned where she would be yet.’
‘I’m sure she would try to attack the Vice President in Lagos.’
Eric glanced at her briefly and sighed uninterestingly. ‘If she sent a message to the SSS, isn’t it logical that she wants them to stop him? That means she wouldn’t be doing any attack.’
Victoria was blank for a moment. ‘She stated clearly in her message that the Vice President was going to be in Lagos tomorrow.’
‘I thought there were SSS men watching for the man not to escape?’ Carl put in.
‘Yes, the man is under close watch.’
‘Well, if you say her message made it certain that the Vice President would be in Lagos tomorrow, then we can make arrangements to follow them or choose to follow this new lead we have.’
‘We’re in Lagos already,’ the driver announced to Rex who was the only one awake with him in the car. The others had slept off totally. Rex had also spent some time to sleep but not deeply, he stirred awake at almost every change of speed by the vehicle.
‘I can see it on my map,’ Rex replied. He was already viewing the map before the driver spoke.
‘So, what direction are we taking?’ the driver asked.
‘Drive to Ojota, we’d change the vehicle there and you’d take us to the next point.’ Rex replied him.
‘Where’s the next point?’ the driver asked him.
‘You’d know only when we get into the other car,’ Rex answered.
‘They’re now in Ojota,’ Henry announced. The team of four were all sitting in a Chevrolet. Cole at the driver’s seat and Henry with him at the front while Nicholas was sitting with Tarasha at the backseat. The back doors of the vehicles were still opened as they were yet to move. Another vehicle was in the compound with theirs, ready to move, a Lexus Jeep. Tomi was the driver of the car and she had Mr Matthew sitting beside her.
Tarasha had explained everyone’s role to them individually but she had also emphasized that they keep their communication devices on at all times as there could be a change in instructions or plan.
Nicholas was uncomfortable in his seat. He knew Rex would be expecting more messages from him but he had not had the chance to be alone since four o’clock that morning and that was the time Tarasha had begun to give detailed instructions. To make matters worse, he was now sitting with Tarasha, there was no way he could send any message to Rex. He thought about his mother and child. Rex had really done extensive research on them and knew their daily routine and activities, he knew where to find and kill them at any point in time.
Another thought suddenly popped up in his mind as he glanced at Tarasha’s face. What if Tarasha succeeded in killing Rex? He asked himself. That would mean freedom for him. He made up his mind to work with Tarasha towards getting Rex killed that day.
‘Have they stopped moving?’ Tarasha asked Henry.
‘Yeah, they’re in a compound.’ Henry replied her.
‘Let’s move now,’ Tarasha ordered and closed the door at her side. Nicholas also closed his.
Cole turned on the car engine and soon they drove out through the gate.
‘Any new calls yet?’ Tarasha asked Henry while she tried to fetch the NSCC live stream on her own device.
‘None,’ Henry replied.
‘Rex has hacked the NSCC system, I can’t fetch any stream right now. We’re depending on your tracking.’
‘You have to restore the system back soon, remember we’re tracking the location of just one person and he could part ways at any time.’
‘Where are we going now?’ the Vice President asked Rex as he stepped into the backseat of the new vehicle. Rex entered after him and closed the door. The immigration’s officer and the driver were already seated in front.
‘Mr Paul, call your friend and ensure our train tickets are reserved.’ Rex said to the immigration’s officer.
‘You’re choosing train?’ Mr Paul stared at him in surprise.
‘Make the call quickly,’ Rex reiterated.
‘Why Train Rex?’ Elvis Richards asked.
‘Samantha Osman already told everyone you’re not in Abuja, Train transportation will be the least expected medium for you to use.’
The Vice President shrugged and remained quiet.
‘Hey! Good morning, hope you made the reservations I told you last night?’ Mr Paul’s voice sounded out loud. He was making the call Rex instructed him to make. ‘Yeah, I know it leaves by 8:30AM, the passengers would be there by then. Thank you.’
He ended the phone call and turned to Rex.
‘Good,’ Rex let out a light smile. ‘Can I have your phone?’
The man hesitated for some seconds but ended up giving Rex the phone.
Rex removed the battery and took out the sim card. He broke it just like he did to the driver earlier.
Mr Paul stared at him in surprise.
‘Sorry, you may retrieve your sim later.’ Rex said as he returned the phone. ‘Make sure it remains off,’ he added and looked away from the man’s face, his face not showing any sign of remorse. ‘Let’s move.’
‘Move? To where?’ the man asked, his anger sounding in his voice. ‘The train leaves by 8:30AM, how can we go there now?’
‘We’re not going there now,’ Rex replied him calmly. ‘Have you forgotten why you joined us? We still have to get to your office here and take the documents before going there.’
‘And we’d change this car two more times at two different locations,’ Rex added before he could make another excuse.
‘Damn, I just lost them!’ Henry exclaimed loudly.
‘You lost them,’ Tarasha asked. ‘Have they left the location?’
‘No, I don’t know if they’re about to leave. The man just took his sim out of his phone.’
‘Haven’t you extracted the details of the phone before?’
‘The phone is also off,’ Henry replied.
Tarasha let out a sigh. She refreshed the process she was running on the NSCC system. ‘This system would be up in five minutes,’ she announced. It was their alternative for tracking their targets.
To be continued