As expected, journalists from different media houses had flooded the whole Rael University environs. The police had a hard time doing away with them. Pictures of the scene of the gun exchange scene between the police and the Hoodlums had gone viral on the internet shared on blogs and on different social media platforms.
It had been reported that the dreaded Samantha Osman had attacked an abandoned warehouse which was being used by another gang and slew several members of the gang and the policemen who tried to stop her escape. The press had been able to squeeze out the information from sources who preferred to remain anonymous, mostly workers of the government hospital where the sedated gang members were been attended to.
**1 hour, 30 minutes ago**
‘She was there, she…’ The officers barged into the ward disrupting the conversation between the doctor and the sedated men who had been revived.
The two men were seated on low metal chairs with adjustable backrests, their shirts were off and a syringe connected to a drip line was fastened to their hand passing intravenous fluid in through their veins to totally wipe off the effect of the tranquilizer from their system. Their other hands were also fastened to the armrest of their seat with a metal chain locked with a key.
The large hospital ward had about six officers in it already, the two hospital beds had been moved away to the walls to allow for more space.
‘Inspector Mac,’ the Inspector displayed his ID card to the culprits as the Doctor gave way for them. He signaled for the Doctor and junior officers guarding them to leave the place.
‘Tell us what happened there?’ he asked when the others were out of sight.
‘We were attacked by Samantha Osman,’ one of them replied – the one who Tarasha met in the quarters behind the main warehouse and forced out the address of the place Cole was taken to from.
‘So you know her very well,’ Inspector Mac said, glancing at the face of his colleague who stood beside him.
‘No, I don’t, she introduced herself,’ he replied.
‘So what did she come to do?’
‘She took away the people we kidnapped…’
‘So you were also part of those involved in the kidnap,’ Inspector Mac interrupted.
‘I knew about it and I was asked to watch over them with some others.’
‘So you were watching over them where we found you?’
‘And then what happened?’
‘Samantha Osman attacked us suddenly and took out all of them…’
‘How many of them?’
‘Four, two different married couples.’
‘Only four? Inspector Mac asked. The guy nodded in affirmation. ‘Was there any young person there?’
‘Oh!’ he sounded like he remembered something. ‘The couples were actually aged but there was a young girl there before, she was taken out before Samantha came.’
‘You don’t know who the young girl was?’
‘She wasn’t part of my own job, but I know she was brought from Rael University.’
‘After taking the couples, what else did Samantha Osman do?’
‘She asked me to deliver a message to my boss.’
‘Who is your boss?’
‘Tell me about Don.’
‘Don is my boss.’
‘Are you alright? I said tell me about him.’
‘I don’t know anything else…’ a blow from Inspector Mac landed on his mouth.
Inspector Mac looked away from him to the other one seated. ‘Who is Don?’ he asked again, directing the question to the both of them.
‘He just told you the truth, we don’t know much about him. We work for him and he pays us,’ the other guy replied in fear, shaking as he anticipated his own blow from the Inspector.
‘Were you also there when Samantha Osman came in?’
‘I was but I don’t know all these he’s saying,’ he said, glancing at his colleague who was still pressing his lips softly to reduce the pain the blow caused.
‘He was taken out before me,’ the first said in confirmation of the other’s last word.
‘So where can we find your boss?’
‘He was in that place after Samantha came, I think she returned and fought with him. I don’t know if he’s still alive.’
‘So Samantha killed your boss?’
‘I’m not sure about that yet.’
Inspector Mac paused to think for a while. He glanced at the faces of the other officer in the room for him to come to his rescue as he already ran out of questions to ask.
He turned back slowly to them as a new question came to his mind. His phone began to ring. ‘Where do you think your boss or Samantha could be?’
‘I don’t know about Don but I know Samantha wanted to free somebody else from us at our other base. 14/16, Ejiro Street behind Rael University Main Campus.’
‘Come again,’ Inspector Mac said, signalling for the co-officer to take down the address. ‘Good,’ he said after the officer signaled that the address had been written. ‘We have to go there right away, call the office to order for more men.’ he said to the officer.
He turned back towards the exit and took out his phone which was ringing for the second time, he checked the screen for the caller’s ID. Inspector Dakolo.
‘When are you coming boss?’ Don said into his phone, his voice sounded weak and shaky. His eyes were red as a result of lack of sleep, he couldn’t enjoy his sleep on the old sofa where he laid in the new hideout. The building was an old one, owned by one of Stainless’ friend who was an assassin and armed robber. He had inherited it from his late parents and used it as a hideout while he had other big houses in town.
Stainless was seated at the dining area of the living room, sleeping with his head rested on the dining table while Stone was on a two seater sofa where he folded his body to manage the space. Some of the other boys slept on the floor and several other places around while three boys stayed in the same room Cole was, with fetters on his hands and legs.
‘I’m on my way,’ Rex replied him. ‘In a public transport car to Lagos, we’ll discuss more when I get there. You and your guys should get enough sleep for now. I don’t think I’ll be needing anyone to pick me anymore, I’ve been able to study the routes. But brace up for the work ahead,’ Rex replied in a calm tone.
‘Okay boss, we’ll do as you say.’
Don said and the call ended. His eyes met with Stainless’ as he was about to lay his head on the armrest. Both looked away almost immediately and pretended not to have seen each other.
‘Where is this place?’ Tarasha asked Aisha as they walked through the road crowded with pedestrians, most of them trying to get transport to their places of work while the others hurrying on foot to their shops and stalls.
‘This is Oshodi,’ Aisha replied, carrying a travelling bag in her hand. Tarasha also had the backpack she carried all-night strapped to her back once more.
‘Do you know how we can get back to the previous lodge we have in Lagos?’ Tarasha asked her.
‘Yes, I know. We need to cross to the other side and get a bus.’
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Stephanie sipped slowly the warm tea from the tea cup, staring blankly at the wall in front of her. She was lost in thoughts and had totally forgotten the nurse by her side waiting for her to finish eating so that she would administer the drugs. Thoughts of Tarasha or ‘Natashay’ as she knew she would not leave her mind.
She kept wondering who ‘Natashay’ was and why she came to save them. From the brief session she had with the police earlier, they had given her the idea that ‘Natashay’ was a bad person. But to her, she didn’t appear bad of course except for the way she brutally killed Ojo and some of Ojo’s men whom she gunned down. But even if she was bad, she was bad for a good reason, Stephanie thought to herself. There seemed to be something unique about ‘Natashay’ and Stephanie found herself longing to meet her again. She hoped she’ll appear again and then be free from all police accusation.
‘Let me keep this for you,’ someone said, bringing her out of the realm of her thoughts. The nurse was trying to take the empty cup from her while she still held it firmly to her lips like the liquid mixture still remained. She finally released the cup and adjusted her seating position on the bed. The wound on her neck had been covered more firmly with bandage and the pain had reduced greatly.
‘Here,’ the nurse spoke, handing her selected pills and a cup of water to take the drugs.
Stephanie frowned. She hated the sight and smell of drugs. She reluctantly stretched out her palm to receive the drugs and then the cup of water.
‘Steph, your friends are here to see you.’ she heard a male’s voice as she dropped the pills in her mouth and swallowed with the help of the water. She looked towards the direction of the voice after taking an extra sip of water. It was the Doctor who was walking towards the bed from the door.
‘Here, you have more.’ the nurse beside her said, calling her attention to more drugs she was to use.
‘Oh!’ Stephanie exclaimed distastefully as her eyes met with the medicine in the nurse’s hand. She took them reluctantly again and swallowed them with another cup of water.
‘Where are my friends and which of them are you talking about?’ she asked after handing over the cup back to the nurse. The nurse cleared the breakfast tray on the patient’s drawer and proceeded out of the ward.
‘Two members of the SWAD group, they came after the police contacted them. They also said the one who was involved in your kidnap has been arrested by the officers.’ the doctor replied her with a smile.
‘Oh!’ a smile appeared on her face but it quickly turned to a bitter frown as she tasted a bitter undissolved pill she hadn’t swallowed completely. It took sometime for her to speak out again. ‘Where are they? Why can’t they come in?’ she asked.
‘The police ordered that no one be allowed to see you until they’re here,’ the doctor answered with another kind smile. He seemed to take special interest in her as his eyes focused on her face without blinking or moving away.
‘But there are policemen around, I saw one or two standing outside the door when the nurse went out,’ Stephanie retorted.
‘Those ones were just put there to keep an eye on you,’ the doctor replied after glancing back at the door. ‘You can’t even see them now, you need to rest very well…’ the doctor began.
‘Excuse me Doc, you’ve been saying that since and I’ve been resting for sometime now. I feel quite better now and I think I can see them,’ Stephanie argued.
The Doctor smiled and folded in his lips. She was right but he had been ordered by the officers to help her conserve her strength for their interrogation and questioning alone.
‘Doctor, what of my mother? Did anyone mention that she has called?’ Stephanie asked with a serious look on her face.
‘Yes, I was told that there was a call from London…’
‘No, not that.’ she interrupted. ‘I mean my mother.’
A confused look appeared on the doctor’s face, ‘Are your parents not in London?’ he asked.
‘Yes, but…’ her voice faded in. She relaxed back and closed her eyes as she took in a deep breath.
‘But what?’ the doctor asked in a kind and calm manner with his voice revealing his deep concern.
Stephanie sat motionless with her eyes fixed on the doctor’s face but with her mouth refusing to open. She wasn’t about to start telling him about another mother which was not the one in London whom everybody knew about.
The door to the ward flung open at the right time and the doctor turned back to look. Another doctor was approaching him with two nurses behind him.
‘We need to change the young lady’s ward now, we have the press at our gate already and they want to confirm if she’s truly in here.’ the new doctor – a short middle aged man – said with a serious look on his face.
The young doctor’s face widened in surprise, ‘How on earth did they find out she was here?’
‘They have their way of finding out things, we just have to change her ward to somewhere secret. I’ve also asked that those couples be moved somewhere else. We must follow the police instructions and not give out any word on the matter until they do.’
After a thorough search of the building at Ejiro Street without discovering anything, the officers had to turn back. The sedated guys who had woken up were moved to the police station and Inspector Sandra had also opened her eyes from the forced sleep but unable to remember anything about her being used as a hostage. The last she remembered was herself in the warehouse searching the place with her co-officers.
The car Tarasha had left at the warehouse area had also been discovered and traced to the hotel where she came from but no valid information was gotten from the discovery.
Inspector Mac led a team to the library where the culprits were said to have permeated before escaping. The usual activities of the library had to be stopped even though the workers at the place were all present. The place was sealed by the Police for proper investigation. Apart from the entrance into the compound which was proved by the displacement of some flower vases and destruction of the gate light, the only other proof gotten was the mock-bomb placed at the entrance of the main facility.
Rex was seated gently at the backseat of the sienna with two other passengers, that was the only space he had gotten at the the time of his arrival to the motor garage in Abuja. Now they were several hours into the journey and he had not spoken any word to anyone aside from the call he made some hours ago. All that was going through his mind were strategies on how to lure Tarasha into a death trap.’
His phone began to vibrate and ring at the same time attracted attention to him once more in the bus. His ringtone was a repetition of an immoral and dirty word voiced by an American rapper as an intro to his album. People found it awkward that someone could use it as a ringtone and be comfortable with it in public.
Rex took out his phone and answered the call, not bothered about the attention he got from other passengers.
‘Rex, what in the world are you doing?’ Chief Rikau’s voice sounded angrily.
‘What do you mean Chief?’
‘Don, what he did overnight, didn’t you send him?’
‘It wasn’t his fault, Tarasha attacked him there at the time I called you.’
‘What time did you call me?’
‘Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten Chief, do you sleep as bad as that?’
‘Rex, you don’t expect me to remember all you said at midnight. I only remembered that you wanted to travel at that time.’
‘Yes, I wanted to…’ Rex stopped and looked around briefly. ‘I’m not in the right place to talk, I’ll call you later.’ he said and ended the call.
Chief Rikau dialed another number immediately his call with Rex ended. He was pacing the floor behind the three seater sofa in his living room, one of his personal officers stood firm beside the entrance.
His mind had been disturbed since he got news of the attack, his worry was that Don or any of the men who knew the Vice President’s and his association with them could confess if caught. He needed to find a way to avoid that or stop the information from spreading if it had been mentioned at all.
His call was answered and the receiver saluted in a loud voice, ‘Hello, Inspector General sir.’
‘C.P, what’s happening now?’
‘We’ve not gotten any lead yet,’ the Lagos state commissioner of Police replied. ‘The officer she used as her hostage was drugged and couldn’t provide us any information.’
‘And what else have you discovered?’
‘Everything looked like a clash between two gangs just as reported by the news media, Samantha Osman’s gang and Nanl gang. Samantha Osman rescued the parents of Aisha Bello, the kidnapped Stephanie George of SWAD and other captives from the place.’
There was a brief moment of silence from the Inspector General’s end. ‘So where are those she rescued from the place now?’
‘They’re at a private hospital in town and we have our men guarding the place,’ the CP replied.
‘Try keep that secret for now, I’ll get back to you very soon.’ the Inspector General wanted to conclude with that but the commissioner had more to say.
‘Sir… It’s no longer a secret, the Press found out and I’ll have to address them very soon. In fact, after this call.’
‘Oh shi*t! How did they find out?’ The IG asked, without expecting a reply. ‘You know what? We have to be wise. Do not release full details to them. That Samantha Osman rescued the captives should be hidden.’
‘But sir… Should I just avoid talking to them at all?’
‘No, talk to them.’ the Inspector General said. There was another brief pause. ‘How many officers have knowledge of this?’
‘Only the senior officers who interrogated the suspects.’
‘Ensure that they keep it secret and then credit the police for the rescue, Samantha Osman should not take the credit. Do you understand?’
‘Yes sir…’ the CP’s voice sounded weak.
‘And also make them know that we are on top of the situation and would deliver Samantha Osman to the hands of the law soon.’
‘Any progress yet?’ Stone asked Don who sat on a bench on the verandah with a laptop on the seat. Stone stepped out from the entrance where he was and Stainless followed behind him.
‘I just found the device and I’m requesting for the location already,’ Don replied him. ‘Installing the server is what took so much time, locating them would not take much.’
‘How long will that take?’
‘Just few seconds and we’ll…’ Don stopped and stared intently at the screen. ‘I know where they are,’ he said looking up at Stone and Stainless’ face.
To be continued