The SARS department of the police refused Emeka and Tayo bail on the grounds that their freedom is dangerous to the public. Furthermore Inspector Farouk had argued that both men may jump bail if given the chance. It’s been seven days of interrogation, but both men didn’t get broken. They had been advised by their lawyer not to say anything to the police so as not to be further indicted.
“All you have to keep hammering on is that you are innocent,” Barrister Yejide said to them.
Barrister Patrick Yejide is Emeka’s friend and legal adviser. He is a S.A.N. He has a remarkable record of winning such controversial cases, and has many protégés living up to that reputation too. However, he has a loud reputation; if he must be in court the money must be good, else he will send one of his lawyers to represent him. He knows Emeka can afford his bill, but their friendship is more important to him, and so he didn’t find it difficult agreeing to represent him in court.
“You have been charged to court for conspiracy and murder; a two-count charge. The first sitting will be on Monday. You need to be prepared. I will do my best to defend you, but first I will see to it that the Judge grant you bail. I have spoken to Farouk and he has given me permission to spend some additional minutes with you. I will ask you some of the questions the prosecutor is likely to put to you. I need you to give me a very straight forward and simple answer.”
Both men nodded to affirm their understanding of his request. They were looking pale and rumpled; they had only eaten three times in seven days, and had been denied the privilege of seeing their families. The condition of the cell in which they were detained was particular terrible; there were feaces all around and weeds had started growing in it. It smelled of urine and decayed shit, and had caused them to fall sick.
“Before you continue sir, can I ask a question?” Tayo managed to ask as he let out a deep cough.
“Yes, go on” Barrister Yejide replied him.
“How am I involved in all these? I didn’t shoot George. I didn’t conspire with him” – he pointed at Emeka – “I was only there visiting. Why won’t they let me go?” He burst into tears as he spoke.
Patrick who seem rather unfazed by Tayo’s level of ignorance decided to comfort him by adding a smile,
“That is a very intelligent question Tayo. Now, if you will answer these questions, maybe you can answer that question yourself,” Patrick added.
“Okay sir” Tayo sobbed on.
“Mr. Awotayo Coker, do you know the deceased, Mr. George Eliiot?”
“Yes sir, I mean no sir… I mean I met him earlier that day, I didn’t know him before then,” Tayo replied nervously and with amplified tears. Patrick became infuriated by his cowardice and yelled at him,
“Do you want to spend the rest of your life in prison? Why can’t you just answer the question and stop crying like a doll. Let me make this clear to you, when you answer yes and then no, you will be complicating things and incriminating yourself. A simple yes or no accompanied by a straight forward explanation will do. And for your own good, only explain when the prosecutor demands one. Is that clear?”
“Okay sir,” Tayo replied as he squeezed his eyelids to get out his last drop of tears. Emeka just sat down their calmly, wearing a smile as he caressed the handcuff that connected him to his son-in-law.
Patrick continued, “Tayo, if you are still wondering why you are in this mess, you arrived at Emeka’s house with George; you took him to the venue of his death. Now to you Emeka, did you steal George’s wife and children?”
“Are you the biological father of the girls?”
“If you didn’t steal them and you are not their biological father, how come they lived within your care from birth till they got married to your co-suspect?”
“I thought they were mine,” Emeka retorted.
“Thought they were yours? As at the time of their birth, were you aware of your sexual infertility?”
Emeka slammed his hands on the table, causing Tayo pain in the process has he pulled the cuffs, “I wasn’t sure of what to think. I needed a child badly and I thought God allowed my fertility for just once.”
Patrick queried Emeka spontaneously, “Ahn-ahn, Emeka, you should know better. When you are in court, don’t bring God into this else the prosecutor will peg you to a corner on the grounds of blasphemy. Now, let’s forge ahead. Is there a doctor’s report to prove your infertility?”
“If that is that is the case, you should deny the awareness of your infertility,” Patrick ordered.
Patrick was set to ask Tayo new set of questions when an officer walked in to remind him that he had 5 minutes left,
“What is your name officer?” he questioned him,
“Corporal Victor sir,”
“Corporal, I asked for your name. I didn’t ask for your rank. Anyway, tell Farouk I need more time with them. Tell him I said I will see him when I am done here.”
“But…” the corporal countered,
“But, but what? Have you no respect for the law, don’t you know who I am?”
Having threatened Victor psychologically, he walked away without uttering a word, but made several hisses. Patrick turned to face his clients and continued.
Seven days had passed; it was the day for the christening of Osahon’s son, but the father of baby wasn’t on seat. A pastor was invited to conduct a short service; his presence increased attendance to a total number of 5 people which included Osato, Osahon, Mark, and Brian. After a brief session of prayer, the pastor announced the child’s names as written down by his mother.
“This boy shall be called, “Chukwuemeka George Idemili. I anoint you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
They all chorused “Amen.”
The moment the pastor exited the house, Osato confronted her mother,
“Why did you name him after George? You know daddy won’t like that.”
“We both agreed to give him the name in memory of the poor man; your father’s memory. If Emeka was here right now, he would do the same.” – Osahon paused and let out air through her mouth –
“Osato, always remember, George is your biological Father, and he died fighting for you.”
“But mum…” Osato tried to query Osahon,
“No buts, we have to go the hospital to be with Osaso, and Barrister Yejide has also arranged for us to finally see your father and Tayo today. We should get going already.”
Barrister Yejide’s phone beeped and he checked to see who it was that had sent him a text message.
“Oh! Your wives are outside. I was able to convince Farouk to let them see you. I also instructed them to bring you some cloths to change with, a good meal, and some anti-biotic. I will meet with Farouk while they are with you to find out more about this case from their own investigation. We have a working relationship.”
He stood up at the sight of the ladies. The three ladies burst into tears. Mrs. Coker had linked up with them at the hospital. She was so desperate about seeing her son.
“I am going to leave you now. You only have 10 minutes, make every conversation snappy,” Barrister Yejide echoed as he walked away.
“My child and grandchildren; how are they doing?” Emeka asked, holding the hands of Osato and Osahon as he spoke.
Farouk and Patrick strolled to a quiet part of the Police Headquarters as they dialogued. When they had arrived at a very serene area and with the assurance that no one was paying attention to them, they stopped and continued their conversation.
“Pat, I am only going to tell you this once, and that is because of the relationship we have. I don’t know who the person is. I only got a tip, and I decided to look into it,” said Farouk.
“FRK, that isn’t good enough. This case has been closed for over 9 months now; it was an issue of self defense. All I want to know is how you got to know about it, you said someone called you up with the information. Who did? I can’t just fold my hands and watch my friend go to jail for an offence he didn’t commit. Who is the rat here?”
“You these lawyers, you make policemen look foolish. You just said it was in self defense, yet you are insisting that he didn’t do it. Anyway, I will tell you what I know. Three weeks ago a lady called to tell me that his brother was killed by Emeka and Tayo. I checked with the D.P.O of Ipaja police station where the case was originally opened and I decided to look into it, the case was closed on the grounds of self defense and no evidence. I do not know who the lady is, but she kept pushing me to investigate. I didn’t take her serious until her evidence found its way to my desk.”
“What evidence?” Patrick asked surprisingly,
“A gun; I handed it over to the forensics to lift the fingerprints on it and it matched with the one we got from Emeka when he got here. Apparently, there was another fingerprint, but Emeka’s own was on the trigger. If you can find the strange lady, maybe you can help your client.” Farouk concluded and briskly walked away from Patrick.
After few minutes of the sour family reunion. Tayo finally found his voice,
“How is Osaso?”
The ladies burst into tears without an answer. Tayo became inquisitive and pressed for an answer, “How is she? How is my wife?”
Mrs. Coker hugged him over the table that separated them and still in tears she answered, “Osaso died this morning.”
Written by Olufemi Fragile; drop your comment or tweet your responses @fragiletimbzz.
Next episode same time next week