Thorns In My Boot - S01 E33

2 weeks ago

Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 33

January 2003. I was short listed amongst

the candidates that applied for the direct

short service commission into the Nigerian

Army, having graduated with a second class

upper degree in Business administration

and management.

My wife had given birth to my second child

whom we Christened ‘Luke’ after Oga Inside

for bringing Amaka into my life, we named

him Kayode after Baba Dayo because he was

the Father I know, having stood faithfully by

me and mama through thick and thin, we

named him Chukwuemeka because

everything was the Lord’s doing.

Menopause caught up with mama as she

had two successive miscarriages after her

third born. The Doctors had to warn her to

stop trying to keep a pregnancy that would

not stay, so she gave up and focused on the

three with her.

I went to the Nigerian defense academy and

spent another six months on training and re

orientation into the Officer cadre of the

Army. My performance was outstanding and

I won the Chief of Army staff Sword of

honour as the overall best Cadet on the P.O.P

day.

I was posted to the Finance Corp

headquarters in Lagos from where I was

subsequently sent to the Army Pension

Office Yaba. My arrival to the pension Office

was greeted with resentment, the news had

gone round that I was the Soldier who

dismissed and jailed two serving Officers

and two retired and three serving Soldiers

and three retired and also demoted a

Colonel in Enugu, I was given a cold

shoulder in all the Offices in the department,

I was treated like a leper, I was in the wrong

place, everyone was avoiding me. The most

painful thing was that no one mentioned

the fact that I was imprisoned for over six

years and denied re absorption for over five

years by these men, and during all these

years, these people were eating my money.

After spending six months in Lagos, I was

confirmed as a full lieutenant and given the

responsibility of the A.O pension office. It

was at this new role that I knew that the

Army was not meant for me any longer; the

level of decay and corruption at the pension

Office was alarming! My seat was a very hot

one because it was my responsibility to

send the monthly gazette of Pensioners to

Finance HQ, my C.O, a Brigadier general

called me to his Office and told me to simply

sign and send the Gazette based on the

status quo.

But on my own I took time to verify the

records of all the Pensioners on the Army

payroll. I had not even done that of two

states when I discovered a whole lot of

irregularities. First of all, thirty percent of the

Pensioners from Edo and Delta states were

no longer alive and their families had

stopped receiving their monies, but the

Pension Office still send their names to HQ

for payment.

Secondly Many Soldiers that have left the

Army by way of absconding or early

retirement without pension are being paid

pension by Army HQ.

Thirdly many Soldiers that have died in

Active service either at a peace keeping

mission or at home are being paid pension

meanwhile their families are still waiting to

hear from the Army.

My Job was to certify that all was well and

instruct the Army HQ to release such funds

daily! It was like sitting on a keg of Gun

Powder!

No wonder many Soldiers in Finance would

give their right arms to be posted to the

Pension Office, I was told that many Officers

that have sat on my seat are billionaires with

investment all over the Country. Even a

private Soldier in Pension Office goes home

monthly with loot of a million naira, most of

them have fleet of cars and houses in town

to the envy of Soldiers in other units.

When I thought over all of these, I knew this

money was blood money and I did not want

it! This was exactly what was done to me

that led to the incarceration of nine Soldiers.

I summoned courage and went to my C.O to

explain my findings to him and the reason

why I would not sign the status quo and

send to HQ. What he told me baffled me. He

asked if I had come to dismiss and jail him

and his team too. I begged him to post me

to another section or out of the department

entirely but he said he does not have the

authority to redeploy me to anywhere

because I was an Officer like him. He said

that only Finance HQ can redeploy me but

warned me against going there with my

findings; he said I would be shooting myself

on the foot if I tried it.

Eventually I agreed to sign and send the

status quo to HQ but I do not want any

share of the monthly loot. My Commander

refused! He said my monthly share is three

million naira raw cash and I must collect it

as that would guarantee that I would not

sabotage them. I had no choice but to drive

home with two “Ghana must go” bags

containing three million naira cash at the

end of my first month as a full Lieutenant.

I could not sleep all through the night as I

kept vigil looking at the money stacked

away in my toilet. I had never been so close

to such enormous volume of raw Cash, even

when I was compensated with my eleven

years Salaries and benefits worth Seven

million naira as a Soldier and twelve million

naira as settlement for five years

inconveniencies suffered, the whole sum of

nineteen million naira was paid into my

bank account, I did not see it as raw Cash.

Even when I gave Baba Dayo the sum of Five

million naira to help demolish the Village

mud house and build me a Duplex, I wrote

him a Cheque and not raw cash. The smell of

raw Cash filled my room that night that I had

to move it to the Toilet. I was scared.

The next morning I drove from work to the

Bank to open a new account for the loot,

then I went back to work as if nothing had

happened, but my Boss was uneasy with

me, he called me later to his Office and told

me that I was being watched at HQ Finance

because I was unstable and thus a potential

danger to certain big red necks that benefits

from the monthly booty too. He warned that

I should keep my lips sealed else I might

meet a mysterious end in Lagos, either

diabolical or physically. He said anyone who

wants to take away food from his mouth

should rather die!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I was granted my annual leave of thirty

working days in August 2004, I travelled to

the east to be with my family in Enugu, my

Girl was five and my Boy was two years old,

I spent a week with them in Enugu before

we all moved to Abakaliki to spend few days

with my Parents. It was at this point that

Baba Dayo told me that he went home with

his Path finder and the whole Village

marveled at his transformation. He had told

them that I was now a senior Army Officer

and had sent him to the Village to build my

House for me, he said he built the whole

house within seven months and locked up

the gates after furnishing all the rooms and

Kitchen, he said the money was very

sufficient due to cheap labour and cost of

materials in the west that he had to build a

three rooms Boys quarter behind the

duplex, he dug a bore hole and erected four

giant G.P tanks, two tanks supplied water

into the house and two tanks are channeled

to outside taps for the community.

He had used that opportunity to see mama’s

kinsmen and when they heard his success

story and the fact that mama was doing well

with three other Children, they sent her

younger brother to Abakaliki on one of Baba

Dayo’s visits while building my house to

ascertain mama’s real condition at Abakaliki;

he went back to the Village with new

clothes and shoes and goodies for other

family members as evidence that all Baba

Dayo had said in the Village was true, he told

them that Mama owned and drives her own

Car too, they had no choice but to call a

family meeting and decide to welcome

mama back into their fold.

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Thorns In My Boot - S01 E32

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Thorns In My Boot - S01 E34

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