“Hey boy! Go get me blade abeg” the Lieutenant said.
“Arh sir, I dey sorry sir, I no go talk to my papa like that again.” Izu said pleading as he was being dragged into the barracks.
“No abok1, you go do am!. You go do all your talking today”
“I no sabi talk sir, I swear with my father life!” He shouted disturbing the peace of the barracks.
Kpoai! The slap landed on his face and he went down. Falling off the 5 soldiers that held him.
“Chai ! Mammy Izu o!. Which kind slap be this, abeggi sir” he was dazed and stars started appearing round his head.
“You no go shut up?” The man said. “Boyz! If e make any noise again!. Give am peace!”
If Izu knew what `Peace’ meant, he wouldn’t have said anything.
“Sir, no be Peace I spend the money for sir, na Joy. No, na Johnbull sir”
Swipe! Kpoia! Gboola! All sent him off the floor; boot parking, slap, elbow!.
“Waiyo! Waiyo!. Pappy Izu o, mammy no gree beg abok1 for me o!. Please sir, I do sir, I sorry sir!”
“This is the blade sir”
“Wey the twine wey dey your pocket?”
“E dey with Babangida Sir” the officer replied going to remove the twine from his pocket.
“Bind that fool with it” he commanded once the blue twine was visible.
“Abeg soldier, abeggi shun sir, I no go talk to my papa and mama like that again” he pleaded and struggled but he was unable to overpower the 5 soldiers while the remaining 5 stood forming a circle round them.
They bond his hands backwards jointed with his legs.
“Na one police sir, na him thief the money abeggi” he lifted his heads – sweats already forming on his face.
“Now, shave all that hair commot for him head”
“guy, if you struggle, na your head e go cut o!” A typical abok1 war veteran warned
“I don die o, please sir, abeg! I no wan barb gorimapka” he was in tears. Izu who had always been hard for, to shed tears even when he was flogged – was crying profusely.
After his hair had been shaved, the Lieutenant spoke up “now, polish that him head with sand-paper”
“I don die o” and went unconscious. His eyes slightly close, pretending he was truly dead.
“Wetin do am, him don faint?” two soldiers said laughing.
“Make una pour acid for him head, him go wake!” the lieutenant said and walked away.
“I wake o! I don wake sir!. Na play I dey play before, I never die! Abeggi sir, I no wan die”
“Make una do anything wey una like to am and release am in the next 20minutes” he commanded “him go don learn by then” and walked out of the scene.
“Wait!. Commot the rope. Now, frog jump”
But Izu couldn’t move, it was as though he had turned lame.
“Sir, I swear to God, if I move, I go faint eh!.”
“God go punish your papa, danburuba!” One hausa soldier cursed and landed him a cover slap on his face.
“I for no do sir, but I do, I come die. Ye! Please sir, Theresa don land me for gbege o, I sorry o! Ye! Abeggi abeggi abeggi!” he blurted.
Snot already dropping down his nose, his sweat had increased and his clothes were completely soaked.
“Frog-jump, common” they kicked him without pity. 10 godogodo (soldiers).
He held his two ears and rose up. Frog jumping
“Eeeee uhm! Please o!” he bent and rose up and bend again but couldn’t rise up “I no go do am again o”
From nowhere kopoko started landing on him.
“Yes sir! Yes sir! Ye!!, my ear o abeggi sir”
“Jump, jump, common” fiam fium! The kopoko swiped.
The thud that sounded on his face, he would have sworn was of iron rod but he went unconscious and couldn’t recognise the palm that sanded him the slap.
He met himself on the military hospital bed. He had peed on his trousers. A boy of 19years. His clothes were smelling of sweat and body odour. The moment the doctor opened the door, he shouted “my chi save me from this madman o”
The doctor couldn’t stop laughing. Well, no one ever got punished by ‘Men of war’ and remained the same. The doctor shook his head and left the ward.
It was about 10:45pm. Few cars and buses still plied the road. The streetlights in their troth, shone on the road to reveal the beauty of the Awolowo lanscape. It was always a busy road once it was dawn till the late hours of 8:30 possibly, – when all the restaurant, clubs and eateries might have closed. Except may be there were some event taking place at the Bacchus Club or the Water front mall close to the EFCC office.
The white lines used to demarcate the road as a `Road sign’ came very bright as vehicles passed.
Many of the banks and offices were locked as the securities flanked their various post, some sitting on benches and on white chairs to keep vigil.
A bus appeared from the Keffi street that connected to the Awolowo road shining its full-light ahead. The bus was sprayed white with small tapes of black and green cutting across the sides.
On the bus were seven passengers. There was a passenger sitting next to the driver; three sitted at the front row; David at the middle row and two other passengers were seated at the last row. They were on black vest, with tribal marks etched in their faces that made one know they were typical ilesha indigenes.
They looked identical in the dim of the bus and one could mistaken them for a twin if not that, one was more light in complexion than the other. Bleaching cream had done some good work on his body while the other was completely dark, same with the colour of a mamba snake.
“Be like say na zombie be the guy” one of them whispered into the other’s ear. And he nodded in return.
The way they all looked on the bus, apart from David, one would have easily identify something was not right with these people on the bus. They were dressed the way one could picture the evil plans on their minds.
Davids stature was too huge for a boy of 20years old. He was heavily built, 6ft7 when he stood. His mouth was a bit bent in the horror-like face he carried about. Both legs of his were covered with dust as you could see from the old people’s palm he wore on his feet.
The way he dressed too was funny, depicting one of those dekpes (Eguns) who was just coming to Lagos the first time.
He wore an old school Arsenal arm-less jersey on a black jean.
Beside him was the ghana-must-go sack he had brought his clothes in. His arm resting on it, perhaps it was the bag that attracted the passengers on the bus to him.
He had stood for long at the Obalende Bus-stop since 9:30pm the bus that brought him from Ojota had dropped him there – waiting for a bus going towards the Onikan bridge. And once this bus had appeared without another choice in sight; he had to enter, not considering the suspecting look of the passengers on the bus.
As he sat amongst them, he looked different. May be because he was just coming from Cotonou, somewhat a village to him made him look different from the people of the city. Perhaps, people that stayed in the city of Lagos were often this way, so he thought.
He had been asked by his parents who stayed on the Island of Takwa-Bay, to come and stay with them. He had been born though in Lagos but his upbringing was done in his mother’s hometown till he was grown enough to be left in someone’s care. Afterwards had attended school there, not even having a clue where his mother and father lived except when they paid him a visit in the village.
He had just finished his Junior Secondary School and they had decided, it was time he came to live with them; going to school and at the same time, helping them with their menial profession of fishing andd coveying passengers with boats/canoe to their nearby dock of departure.
“Na only God know how the school wey them go put me go be. I just hope say e go be like the one for Tokpa” he thought drawing his sack closer.
“Money for front” one out of the three that sat on the front row said, putting his right hand into the wire gauze demarcation separating them from the driver’s compartment.
The next thing he saw being handed to the presumed conductor since he said “money for front” was a pistol.
His face changed from the stress and almost sleepy face immediately the streetlight rays aided the grey pistol to flash into his eyes.
“Omo! I don enter one chance o” he soliloquized inaudibly and caressed his fingers may be he was putting on his ring;- jazz ring.
To Be Continued….