Eh? This boy, is that your question? Do you come here for an excursion or you want to know how a Kafir-Haram terrorist dies in police cell? A man that says whoever doesn’t practice his religion is evil, and deserves to die? He and his terrorist group plant a bomb here and cause so many illegal troubles for us in the last six months. Now you’re asking for him. That’s how you bloody civilians ask questions about what doesn’t concern you. A mere high school boy like you, behaving like a journalist. I don’t entertain illegal questions even from journalists. The other time one of them comes here to ask questions, I order her to frog-jump out there in the sun. What’s your name? See how he whips me with his eyes. Is that how rude you are to people who are older than you are? If you are not careful I will instruct my officers to discipline you in our Guard-Room and I warrantee you that no court judge will dare summon me. I know your type, when you become a journalist you’ll write illegal fiction about the police. But police are friends of civilians, I’m telling you. We’re your friends.
Anyway, I welcome all of you, boys and girls, to the police force headquarters in Division C. My name is Keke. I get my promotion to the rank of sergeant not long ago so you can congratulate me, if you like. It’s not a small achievement to become a sergeant, I am telling you. And I have been wise, that’s why I am promoted at all. But that’s another story and I don’t think you want to know about it. Eh? This girl, you say you want me to become Inspector-General of Police some day? Ah, IG of Police! It’s not so easy to become IG, I hope you know. But you’re the first person to wish me well today, so I defecate. I mean, I appreciate. What’s your name? Tina. Fine girl. Your school is the first to enjoy this privilege of coming to our headquarters so I congratulate you, too.
By the way, I like the sky blue shirts and the rah-rah skirts that you girls wear, as well as those brown shorts for the boys. Tina, I can see you wear your blue beret at such an angle; you must be a girl with style. And I am jealous of the deep blue cardigans that all of you wear over your shirts. They are so smart on you I wish the police will buy something that’s of such high quality, not this black mourning uniforms and the inferior black sweaters we are forced to wear. I see that girls are twelve out of the twenty of you that come. I always think my three daughters are curious, more eager to learn new tricks; I mean, new things, than my ten sons; now you girls have proved me right. Ah, you girls want to clap? Go ahead and clap, you deserve it.
Now that we’re alone in this Conference Room, let me tender my unpreserved apology to all of you for the thorough body search our officers conduct on you outside our gate. We’ve become wiser since Kafir-Haram terrorists start to strap bombs to their bodies and die with their victims. There’s a heap of refuse beside the gatehouse where our officers check incoming vehicles. I know you see it as you walk into our premises. I’ll organize a sanitation exercise tomorrow, and every officer must participate. I won’t announce it before the time, or else those officers will grumble like bees that lose their honeycomb in a bush fire. And don’t let the peanut and egg shells that you see on the floor as you walk through our Front Office bother you. We’ve been busy these days worrying about Kafir-Haram terrorists, that’s why. Eh? Tina, you say what’s the offence of the men in handcuffs who sit behind the counter in our Front Office? Wandering, and I order our officers to detain them because they don’t have money to pay for their bails. By the way, our officers don’t always exchange punches over the sharing of appreciation; those in the Front Office drink more millet-brewed bunktu than is good for them while they are out on patrol, that’s all. I warrantee you that I’ll have them disciplined, even though the officer in charge of Force discipline is confined to our Guard-Room for two days. Nothing serious; it’s just that he drinks too much bunktu and urinates in the flower pot outside the door of the office of our Oga, the Divisional Police Officer.
And I hope you don’t bother yourself with my English, because I can see some of you wringing your nostrils as though someone messes the air. You know those of us who are orphans, and grow up in the streets. have our English. You say you are from which school? Army Command High School. Ah, soldiers’ school! Sorry, the letter you send to inform us that you’ll come is lost in transit. That’s what I tell Oga. Between you and I, Robo eats the letter. Eh? Tina, you say who’s Robo? He’s the most notorious rat we have in all the ten offices in this building. The rat embarrasses us too much, I’m telling you. As we stand in this Conference Room, he can stroll in and eat your toes if you’re careless with them. And he may be in the Front Office now, parading himself to people that bring complaints as though he’s our landlord. It’s Oga’s fault that Robo eats your letter. I place it on my desk under the old newspaper with which Iya Alakara, the elderly woman who fries her wares near McDamie Business Center two kilometers away from here, wraps bean balls and fried fish for me. Oga summons me and before I return, Robo has disappeared with your letter and my food. Can you hear that? You can’t hear craw-craw up their in the ceiling? Tina, don’t look up! Robo’s excreta may fall into your eyes from those holes in the ceiling and what will you tell your School Commandant – that I make you go blind at Division C headquarters? Sorry, I don’t want soldiers’ trouble. Soldiers are bad. Eh? This boy, you say soldiers are good? I know you won’t agree with me; journalists are like that. But you can’t compare police with soldiers. They are trained to kill. Police don’t kill, it’s just that Kafir-Haram terrorists give us a bad name.
Let me tell you, Soldiers hear, Go, but they don’t hear, Come. Forecsample, there is a time I stand in the centre of town at the T-Junction near McDamie Business Center where one of my officers controls traffic and I monitor what is going on. I hear this siren blowing wao-wao! and I know it’s the convoy of Chief of Army staff. So I tell my officer to stop traffic from the other roads, and let Chief of Army staff pass. Every other person goes off the road with their cars for the convoy but there is this girl who doesn’t leave the road and park her jeep. I don’t know who she thinks she is. One of the soldiers in the convoy shouts, Gerrout of the way, bloody civilian! The girl doesn’t move, so the soldier comes down. He punches the window of the jeep, Pum! breaking the glass. He opens the door and drags the girl out. He removes the sunshade on her face, slaps her Twack, and the girl crumples in the middle of the road. The Chief of Army Staff opens the door of his car and says, That’s okay boys, it’s okay. But the soldiers don’t pay him attention. Instead, they bend down beside the car and shout, One, two, three, go! That’s how I see the yansh of the car up, its roof on the sidewalk. Again, Chief of Army Staff says, That’s okay boys, let’s go. Instead, the soldiers carry the girl like an injured footballer. Do you know where they put her? On the yansh of her car that’s as brown as the shorts of your school uniform.
There’s this other time our officers drop me at Madam Rari Cool Spot where I relax with a keg of brewed bunktu. Then they set up a road check-point near an army cantonment. I learn that a Major from the cantonment calls Corporal Dudu, my Second-in-Command: Corporal, I believe there’s an order from IG of Police that forbids setting up of check-points, the Major says. I don’t know what happens after that, but the Major and his soldiers beat my officers. It’s possible Corporal Dudu opens his mouth too wide, and I’ve been warning him about his insubordination because anytime I say, Corporal Dudu, go and throw away these shells of peanuts and eggs that I eat, he grumbles like a masquerade that communes with spirits. I hope you all know that masquerades are spirits from the land of the dead. You don’t know? See me later for details, with wads of appreciation in your hands. That’s the rule since IG says we shouldn’t set up check-points on roads.
What do you say is the reason you come for this excursion? Eh? Tina, you say you want to know the police better, and get to know what we do? That’s easy. We carry bags for wives of very important persons, and I mean those with deep pockets. Don’t mind me, it’s a joke, although I know you see some of our officers on TV as they carry bags for the women they guard. What we do, really, is that we carry guns and shoot Kafir-Haram terrorists that don’t want us to sit behind our desks and enjoy ourselves. This boy, the question you ask about how the Kafir-Haram terrorist dies in our cell, what happens is that…em…em. I shouldn’t even bother talking about such a criminal, otherwise I will divulge secrets not meant for civilian combustion. Eh? Consumption. Thank you, Tina, for the correction.
I don’t want you to pay any attention to these torn cushion chairs, and those chairs around the conference table with nails sticking out of them like this shark tooth in the chain around my neck. We will repair them soon. Can you imagine that Oga says I should tuck the shark tooth under the shirt of my uniform? I don’t mind him because it’s my luck charm. Anytime I wear it bullets return to their sender. Why should anyone tell me how to dress when I carry out my duty as I should. Everyone depends on me in this headquarters, I’m telling you. If am not here for just one day this place will not run. It’s because they transfer officers from far places who don’t know anything about this town. They can’t even recognize a thief if they see one. But I have been here for long so I know every important personality in this town. Just report that you lose your cockerel, and I will send for Sumadi. He is sixty seven years old and an ex-convict. Once he reports here and I order him to return the missing cockerel, he will ask me to give him something as a replacement, which is understandable. But he will return the cockerel and that ends the investigation. And in case you loose your teeth while you are asleep, I know it’s Bambam. He sells body parts and once I instruct him, he will return whatever part of your body has gone missing. Even if you come with a complaint that something is missing from your crotch, the teenager will return it. And if you want to buy a body part which is the kind of request he actually prefers, all you have to do is give him money and in less than an hour he will return with a breast or a tongue, fresh and the exact size, shape and age bracket you specify. I have not seen his type in all the twenty years I have spent in the police force. I have locked him up several times, but now I am tired of arresting him.
This boy, don’t sit on that chair! You will sink, and I won’t carry a heavyweight like you. What is it you eat that all of you are four times my size? You can’t be more than sixteen years old. None of you is, although each of you can carry this cushion chair with one hand and fling it. I’m sure you don’t eat more than bread and butter. But I am stronger that any of you. Look at my belly, even as it pushes out my shirt like that of a pregnant woman the only thing you will find inside it is amala paste made with yam flour, and eaten with slimy ewedu soup and stew that has in it cow tongue, cow lung, cow liver, cow intestines and cow legs. Don’t think because I am fifty-two years old, five feet tall, six inches shorter than what the police recruitment rule says, you can mess with me. I am the best gidibo street wrestler and I can carry ten bags of cement on my shoulder at a time. All of you are laughing. Okay, who has ever carried bags of cements at the seaport and filled a truck among you? You see what I mean? But that’s all the qualification I have at the time I apply to join the police force. On the day of recruitment, I find appreciation for the officer in charge and he speaks for me at every other level until I get my appointment letter. As for the chairs I say this boy should not sit on, we will repair them. The money for repair is in this year’s budget for Divisional C, but Oga borrows it. He will refund it, but it may take twelve years which is a short time by police standard and that is if Oga is not transferred from here before then.
Eh? This girl, you say who can work in the police force? What’s your name? Abigail. Now that you see me you have the answer. Let me tell you, Abigail, there’s no rule as to who can work in the police. If you know how to say, Yes, sir, to Oga you are covered. If you can say, Yes, sir, all correct, sir, it’s even better. Whatever IG says is correct. Anything Oga orders you to do is correct. Let me warn you: You must not joke with Oga. At this headquarters, he is our king. I mean he is a god. Okay, take me forecsample. When I apprehend armed robbers on the road with ten cartons of new currency notes that they steal from a bank’s vault the other time, Oga takes six cartons. I drive the six cartons to his house and place them under his bed. When IG asks that we brief him about the armed robbery case, Oga turns to me and says, Keke, when you apprehend the suspects, you seize four cartons filled with currency notes from them, is that not so?’ I stand at attention to say, Yes, sir, all correct, sir. Oga recommends me for the rank of sergeant one month after, five years after I have been due for promotion, plus a plastic bag that contains part of what is in the cartons under his bed. Let me tell you, I don’t argue with Oga over his sharing formula for any appreciation that we collect. Look at my inform. New, isn’t it? Oga gives me new uniform twice a year unlike those officers in the Front Office in tattered uniforms that have to pay for theirs. Police work is easy, although I advise my thirteen children to look elsewhere for jobs if they don’t want to die poor.
Maybe you want to know how many police officers are in Division C. That’s difficult for me to say because it’s a classified piece of information. Oga sends the list of officers to IG for payment of salary, so he’s the only person that knows. But the list has more names on it every month, including names of dead officers. Anytime IG comes for inspection, Oga reads out a list of fifty officers that I have never seen but whom he says guard the State Governor’s Lodge, and another sixty officers that escort Governor’s friends and in-laws wherever they go. Look here, I don’t know why Oga likes you so much that he allows you to come and inspect our headquarters. I know he hates prying eyes. Ah, did I say that – prying eyes? Hoo-hoo! I will soon become Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. But I am the best officer that can take you around our headquarters and give you the kind of information you need. And I suspect Oga thinks any other officer will divulge secrets about the Kafir-Haram terrorist; I am sure it’s the reason he gives me this assignment to take you around.
Let me warn you: Don’t say because you belong to the Press Club of your school you can write about everything you see here. Don’t mention it that my second wife comes here to sell cloths and handbags. And if you broadcast that she tears the uniform of a female officer who buys handbags and has not paid for twelve months, you are on your own. Eh? Abigail, you say who’s the woman that grips Corporal Dudu by his shirt outside our Front Office as you arrive? That’s my second wife. And don’t write that Chief Diapa Jigan, JP, comes into Oga’s office with a black briefcase. It’s not your business to know what’s in the briefcase, and you don’t need to worry about who gives what to whom in a police station. If it is the exhibits in a murder case that Chief Jigan brings for Oga, do you know? It’s not everything you see here you should take as you see it. Mind you, one of the miscreants that I lock up in our cell can put appreciation in my pocket, and then give me money to buy a packet of cigarette for him, it doesn’t mean anything. As for Chief Jigan, I can confirm to you that he’s a well-known importer. I go with twenty-six of our officers thrice a month to escort his consignment in a convoy of thirty trucks from the seaport to his warehouse in a most secluded part of town. If you ask me what he imports. I don’t know.
Another thing is that it will amount to lack of gratitude for this favour from Oga if you let it be known that our ceiling has open lips, or that four of our five patrol vehicles sit on stones in our premises. You shouldn’t mention it that Oga’s wife goes about town to sell her cloths and handbags in the only functional patrol vehicle in the whole of Division C. And don’t write that she attends owambe open air parties with her friends every weekend in the same vehicle. Oga will deny it, and I will order our officers to arrest your parents for various traffic offences. I won’t allow anyone to ravish Oga’s image. Eh? Tarnish. Tina, thank you for the correction. Give me a hi-five. I hate to see anyone bring Oga’s reputation to opposite. Eh? You say, Opprobrium? Thank you, that’s what I mean to say. But you can write in your school’s Parrot Magazine that we paint the wall of our headquarters and it shines. Oga will like it. But don’t write that Oga buys the buckets of paint himself and awards the contract for the painting to the company he registers in the name of his one year old daughter.
Sorry, I don’t give you Division C’s newsletter that I publish. From it, you can see us at a bank, I mean, glance. I don’t have enough copies. Eh? Abigail, you say am I a publisher? Why not, if I can prepare my certificate at McDamie? I don’t mean the secondary school leaving certificate that I use when I join the police force. I’m talking about the latest certificate, B.Sc. Criminology, that I place in my confidential file. I will add another certificate, M.Sc Human Condition, to my file in the next six months because I hear IG will soon announce that the minimum requirement for the post of Police Inspector is a second degree. If you must know, I desire to become IG one day so I want to get all the necessary papers ready. I prefer that my certificate reads, M.Sc (Hons) Toronto, but Oga has a certificate that bears the same name and some officers that want his seat have vowed to expose the fraud. I like those universities, I mean the ones with the names, Toronto, Ontario, Sinterio. Eh? This boy, you say where is University of Sinterio? Something must be wrong with you. Why are you so rude like journalists? And is this the way you interrupt your teachers in school? First, you want to know about the Kafir-Haram terrorist that dies in our cell, now you want me to crack my brain open and show you where University of Sinterio is. I don’t have to waste my time with someone like you. I’m talking to the rest of you: Instead of the University of Toronto, I will put in my file a degree certificate from Oxford University. I learn that a continuing education center behind McDamie conducts two weeks of intensive course and awards M.Sc (Hons) Oxford. I prefer that one; it’s safer.
As for the last edition of Division C’s newsletter, Oga says I should print four pages of it in black and white. You may like to know that, as against the two hundred thousand copies of sixty-eight-page glossy colour magazine he collects fund from Lawmakers to publish, he gives me money to print one thousand copies with four pages in black and white. But I print only ten copies from a desktop computer at McDamie, instead. I put one in an envelope and send it to the office of IG, which I know he will not read. I send a copy to the table of each of the seven divisional police officers in this state because they are friends of Oga, and they bear each other witness as to the good work they all do across the state whenever they have meeting with IG. I give one copy to Oga. I keep the last copy on my desk and I flash its front cover at anyone who comes to my desk. You won’t see that last copy because it has disappeared. I know it’s Robo that steals it. For all we know, he may be a mole for Kafir-Haram, and I will snuff the rascal out of this headquarters before long. I have been spying on it for long, but my intelligence information is yet to yield facts as to whether he has wives and children. If he does, I’ll have to fill a requisition form for special fund to buy equipment that I need for the operation. And I hope our operations against Kafir-Haram terrorists will never end. The extra allowance we are paid is useful because my shirts have enjoyed rest from the grips of my two wives over money for food.
Eh? Abigail, you say do police gather intelligence information on people like you? I should say no, so that all of you will not run away next time you see a police vehicle on patrol. But we focus our radar on known miscreants. At the moment, our intelligence shows that jobless boys gather in front of McDamie to deceive innocent girls who come to the business centre to transact legitimate business. And I have discovered that Iya Alakara fries her bean balls and fish under electric cables in front of McDamie. I will take action against her within the next twelve months. Investigations show that some boys hawk petrol on the highway and they hide jerry-cans filled with petrol in the flower hedges behind McDamie. Further investigations have shown that the boys buy what they hawk illegally from fuel stations. I will have them arrested in a matter of weeks. And if anyone among you has appetite for turkey that Mai Suya roasts on open fire near the cooking gas depot opposite McDamie, you better lose it. I have discovered there are no turkey farms in this town that can yield the large number of roasted turkeys that he sells. So after an investigation that takes me two years, I find that Mai Suya sells turkeys that are smuggled across the border. He will be in our cell within eight months. I hope none of you will inform him because this is an ultra-secret operation and it requires every element of surprise. We are bringing in our best undercover agents from the capital city to execute the operation. And it may interest you to know that our undercover agents are trained at Scotland Yard.
Eh? This boy, you say what is Scotland Yard? I think it’s a yard in the city of Scotland where spies are trained to uncover hideouts of terrorists such as Kafir-Haram. You say that’s not what it is? You must be a naughty boy! Do you want to teach me my job? You want to prove that you know more than I do? You children that go to schools with high-sounding names think you know everything. I don’t blame you. Even our IG goes for a week-long course at Hagard University, and now he returns to say we don’t know… Eh? Harvard University? Thank you, Tina. Since the time IG returns from the course, he has been telling all of us how to do our job. Look here, all of you, police work is not something you learn in school. It takes experience. I know from experience that the best way to soften a criminal is to put him in prison for long, then he will confess. But lawyers have not allowed me to achieve success with this technique as much as I wish. The other time that I lock up a crook for ten months without trial, with his wife, four children and Jacky their Alsatian dog, a lawyer comes here to teach me my job, talking fundamental woman rice, Miranda rice, legal rice, animal rice, and child rice. I tell him to mind his business because when he and his fellow lawyers share all the rice it’s only among themselves, no one remembers the police.
Look here, this boy. If not for this shark tooth on my neck I should be dead from Kafir-Haram terrorists’ bullets. Police risk their lives, now you come here and ask how a Kafir-Haram terrorist dies in our cell; a criminal we should waste and save ourselves the affliction called lawyers. Anyway, come for another excursion twelve months from now and I’ll show you where all the miscreants that I mention are resting in our cells, especially the chemist at the back of Big-Fun Hotel, four streets away from McDamie, who mixes colourant in salted water and sells it as Yuri Gagarin Blood Tonic. Once my intelligence report on him is complete, I’ll put him in the cell that has the most stench and mosquitoes. But if he agrees to wet ground, I’ll lodge him in our luxurious Guest House while he negotiates appreciation with me.
You see, all the discoveries that I mention about miscreants in this town are outcomes of carefully planned covert operations. Eh? This boy, you say what’s covert operation? It’s a code name. You don’t think that’s what it means? I hope you are not planning to become a lawyer; it’s lawyers that behave in this manner, raising objections to every point a police prosecutor makes in court. From the way you are behaving, I know that when you become a lawyer you will come here in white shirt and black jacket, raise your neck like a cat that sniffs the air for fish, and begin to speak English Girama that one doesn’t understand. The other time a lawyer comes to this headquarters, he places his hands on his hips and says, I have come to see my client, the journalist who is in your custody. Then he says I should let him speak with his client under the new Freedom of Information Hat. I tell him that in Division C, we have not received supplies of any new hat, and the only cap I have is this old black cap on my head, so he should go away. And it’s true; IG has not invited us to a major conference in the capital city where he usually informs us that new caps or gadgets have been procured for the police. It may be four years from now before IG invites us, and is it not a hat that I have that I can wear?
Another thing I should tell all of you is how you can work in the police force. Don’t ever tell your boss he doesn’t know what he’s saying; you won’t stay long in the Force, I am telling you. Forecsample, the time Oga says I should carry out an investigation to uncover the identities of politicians who plan to unseat Council Sheerman of this local government council area in the next election, I return with the same list of suspects that Council Sheerman gives Oga, all suspects confirmed. The fifteen suspects are in our cells as I am talking to you. I’ll release them three days after the local government council election has been conducted, and I can assure you that I’ll accept and pocket the appreciation that each of them pay for their bail, personally. Council Sheerman has since congratulated Oga over the successful conduct of that investigation and he also dispatches a letter of commendation to IG, stating that officers in Division C are up to their duties and we should be rewarded for our diligence and dedication to duty. In case you want to know who deploys officers for operations here, the best I can say is that sometimes it’s Council Sheerman, sometimes it is the State Governor, and once in a while, it’s Oga. Council Sheerman has sent our appreciation to us for this month. As for the State Governor, I can’t confirm that piece of intelligence yet. Maybe Oga collects it and wipes his lips; he does that sometimes when things dry.
Don’t believe what opposition politicians say about us; it is propaganda, I am telling you. Can I confide something in all of you? Okay, hear this: Opposition politicians don’t have deep pockets like politicians in power, so when we refuse to let them use us they spread illegal rumour. Some say we take bribe when all that happens is that people who enjoy our services show appreciation. As for lawyers who say we engage in illegal detention of opposition politicians, tell them to be careful or else they will talk their way into detention. Careless talk amounts to spreading of illegal rumour in Division C and I treat it as an attempt to cause bodily harm to public peace. At this time that Kafir-Haram terrorists are on bandage, I mean, rampage, rumour attracts the maximum penalty that I impose – six years in jail without an option of trial.
And I learn that some are saying the death of a schoolboy in front of Big-Fun Hotel is as a result of accidental discharge from the guns of our officers. I know it’s journalists that spread that kind of rumour. But I can assure you it’s a fiction from their extermination. Thank you, Tina. Imagination. I’ll make them regret it. If you must know, our officers are not guilty of the allegation. Think of it; guns with rusted triggers that officers need to cock and re-cock for twenty minutes before they shoot, how can such guns discharge accidentally? If you are the target, won’t you run away before police officers finish cocking their guns? I learn journalists write that we release the four armed robbers that we arrest near Big-Fun Hotel, and we help them to travel abroad. I can confirm to you that it’s a lie. Truth is, sometimes, I assist an arrested person on compassionate ground, especially if he has a wife and children to take care of. As for convicted Yahoo Boys who collect people’s money on false pretences, that journalists say we release from prison, nothing is far from the truth. What happens is that when a person is sentenced to, say, ten years in prison, I design a programme that enables him go for medical check-up from his prison room anytime he feels like. I persuade prison warders to approve the programme, and they never disagree because the appreciation I take to them is right. That way, a convict can seek medical attention outside the country for nine years, three hundred and sixty-four days out of the maximum ten years.
As for journalists who write that we let armed robbers leave the scene of a crime before we arrive, blaring our sirens, tell them they are ignorant of what we call operational laggard. Thank you, Tina. Hazard. Let me tell all of you, we have been locking our guns in a Strong Room since the last time Kafir-Harram terrorists raid our station. So these days, when there’s a distress call that criminals are operating in a neighbourhood, I tell our officers to fill a requisition form. They bring it to me and I present it to Oga. And if he has gone to Madam Rari Cool Spot to have his usual brewed bunktu, I wait because he has the key to the Strong Room. And our patrol vehicles may break down. In that case, you don’t expect us to walk to the scene of a crime, do you? These are some of the challenges we face, or don’t you face challenges in your school?
Sometimes, our challenges come from the top. When an order comes from the top that we should conduct an investigation, IG often sends an officer who walks all over the place as if he is James Bond, and in the end, he messes up our job. But Oga knows I am the best so he allocates to me an investigation that I’ll start any moment from now. He has persuaded IG not to send to us any James Bond, otherwise the operation will fail. I am not supposed to tell you about it but because you are privileged to be here, I will give you privileged information. There is this ultra-secret operation; don’t say a word of it to anyone and don’t write about it in your school’s magazine because instruction for the operation comes from the top. Don’t imagine IG when I say, Top. Who is IG, when there is someone who appoints him to office? I will keep you guessing who the person is because, as I say, the operation is ultra-secret. In fact, as I am talking to you, police officers from Scotland Yard are not aware although a British citizen is involved. Wait for me all of you. Let me be sure none of our officers is out there with his ear placed against the door of this Conference Room. They don’t know how to keep a secret, those officers.
Alright, I am back. The case I’m investigating involves two white men. One is Italian and the other is a British citizen. The Italian is the Managing Director of a bottling company located in this Division. Each day, I order our officers to drive past the company premises and blare sirens so that the Italian can note we are doing our job. I go to him at the end of every month to collect appreciation for Oga who gives me a fat portion. But I learn that a new Managing Director comes from Britain who says there’s nothing like appreciation, and that police are only doing their job the way police do in his country. Since that’s how he wants to run his show, I instruct our officers to carry out their patrol duty in a different part of town. That man is wicked for stopping our appreciation. Do you know I’ve been waiting for the next appreciation so that I can buy a car? Anyway, he has received punishment for his wickedness; I learn he’s kidnapped in Big-Fun Hotel where he is said to be having a good time with his black girlfriend, and that there is a demand for ransom. Lately, an order comes from the top that we should find the kidnappers and rescue the victims. I won’t uncover anything yet although I know the kidnappers are in an uncompleted building two miles south-east of Big Fun Hotel. I have submitted to Oga a list of operational equipment that I need in order to conduct an investigation. When funds come from the top, I’ll discover the kidnappers’ hideout. I know that once I succeed in this operation I will be promoted, so I have to be as circumspect as possible. Ah, do I say that, circumspect? Hoo-hoo! Who knows the meaning of circumspect among you? This boy, again. I know you will claim you know it. See his head like Oxford Dictionary.
Come along with me, all of you. Your excursion to Division C can’t be complete if I don’t show you the Strong Room where we have our arsenal, I mean, weaponry, because you may not know what that code means. Eh? This boy, you know it – arsenal? Uhmn, I say so. All of you, see our Strong Room. You can see through the holes in the steel door the kind of guns in there – M16-style riffles. The riffles are the…em. By the way, this boy, the Kafir-Haram terrorist you ask for has this type of riffles. Our officers find the riffles in the boot of his car at the time they carry out a red alert operation in town, and I am happy to inform you that the operation yields more results than we expect. Forecsample, the boy who steals a goat that belongs to Iya Alakara, we catch him during the red alert operation. Eh? Abigail, you say what is red alert? It’s our highest level of readiness. Through it, we have found a solution to the problem of half-naked girls that do ashi, gathering at 2400 hour in front of Big-Fun Hotel. It is not only for the reason of decency that I have the girls arrested. Promise me that you won’t ask Oga about this when I take you to his office, and I will tell you the reason. Eh? You all promise? Now this is what happens: Lawmakers come to Division C to carry out their oversight function and they need conference materials. Instead of using the money that Oga gives me to procure conference materials who make nighttime enjoyable for Lawmakers in our Guest House, I carry out red alert operation at Big-Fun Hotel.
I say our officers find these kind of riffles in our Strong Room in the boot of the car of the Kafir-Haram terrorist? I can not confirm to you how the twenty-year old gets the riffles. But our officers commit the error of showing him to journalist before Oga becomes aware of his arrest, and I hope I will remember to tell you why. Look here, the riffles you see in this Strong Room are not many throughout the country. We get the stock not long ago in order to combat Kafir-Haram terrorists. Let me count how many riffles we have left. Six. You see, we have six riffles left. Truth is that IG sends five hundred M16-style riffles to us when Kafir-Haram terrorists start to tie bombs to their bodies and detonate them in the crowd in market places. I can not tell you exactly how much IG buys each of the riffles because if I do, Oga may say I talk too much and divulge secrets. But I suspect IG buys each of the riffles for two million dinari. I mean, that’s the amount he writes in the proposal he sends to Lawmakers. I am sure he buys each gun for less than five thousand dinari because at the time I serve in a neighbouring country where there’s war, that is the amount the police force buys each riffle. As for the reason we have only six riffles left, Oga keeps the key to this arsenal so he’s the only officer who can confirm where the rest of the riffles are.
Come with me to the backyard, all of you. Let’s go through this corridor and I’ll show you the place where Kafir-Haram terrorists plant a bomb in our premises. I know it’s one of the reasons you have come for this excursion although you’ll not admit it. You are like Concerned Friends of the Police who writes to Oga, asking for permission to come and condole him over this bombing matter. Do you know who the chairman of Concerned Friends is? The man who handles all police contracts on behalf of IG. The man gets the contract to buy riffles for the police and those rickety fairly-used re-painted police patrol vehicles you see around town; meanwhile, it is money for new vehicles that IG collects from Lawmakers. Oga doesn’t approve the letter Concerned Friends writes to us, and it’s because their chairman is a security risk. If their chairman comes here and sees falling ceilings and torn cushion chairs, he will write a long list of contracts he can execute in Division C and he will take the list to IG. Problem is that Oga borrows the money allocated to Division C for the repair of falling ceilings and torn cushion chairs.
Come with me to this side of the building. Those Kafir-Haram terrorists must be witches, I’m telling you. I can’t imagine how they make the bomb that they plant in our premises, although I know so much about bombs. Eh? Abigail, you say am I a bomb expert? I’m trained as a bomb expert in the course of the war in the neighbouring country, even though IG collects allocation each year to train bomb experts. You say your school is inside army barracks, twenty miles away from here? I am sure if the bomb Kafir-Haram terrorists plant here detonates, you will hear the sound in your school. Till today, we don’t know how those terrorists bring the bomb into our premises. But I have my suspicion. There is one fine slim lepa girl that Oga brings to his office after most officers close for the day. I think it’s the girl Kafir-Haram terrorists pay to plant the bomb. Don’t tell anyone. Now, all of you, wipe your lips clean. Wipe them! See as I wipe mine. Oga can read lips, or you don’t know. He tells me that he learns how to read lips at an advanced police training school he attends in America. He may read what I tell you from your lips if you don’t wipe them, and I don’t want anyone to put sand-sand in my career.
Look here, if Oga learns that I give you this privileged information, he will give me suspension for three weeks, not query, suspension. I don’t have a single query in my file in all my twenty years of meritorious service. There’s a time I have accidental discharge from my gun and a bloody civilian passes on, no one gives me a query. It’s not as if some wicked bosses that I have worked with don’t write queries. It’s just that once they are transferred I carry my file and, phrew, the query goes. Don’t write everything you hear from me because I still have many years to spend in the police force before I am due for retirement. I have just remembered something. I need to take my confidential file once we finish this excursion, and reduce ten years from the twenty I have spent; I need it if I must be in service long enough to become IG.
Come closer, all of you. This is where Kafir-Haram terrorists plant the bomb; inside this empty plastic bucket of paint. Don’t push yourselves; you can all take turn to look inside the bucket. The way the terrorists keep the bomb, you’ll think there’s nothing in the bucket: At the time one of our officers looks around for a container to draw water from that well over there and does not find any, she comes here and opens the bucket. You need to see how the woman runs. Who will see death coming and not run? When I send other officers to bring her back, she has reached Big-Fun Hotel two kilometers away. As for me, when I hear that a bomb is in the bucket, I take all the necessary security precautions. I mean, I follow the rules in the book as an expert. First, I put everyone in this headquarters, including Oga, on red alert. Then I evacuate our personnel from the building and make them take cover behind those abandoned vehicles over there. I take special care of Oga, telling him to crawl under that blue Range Rover. I order him to lay flat on his belly, clasp his hands on the back of his neck and kiss the ground. I return five hours later, order him to crawl out and relax because danger has been averted.
Months later, I learn that IG collects money from Lawmakers to conduct an operation to sweep all police stations across the country for bombs. No such operation has been conducted so I suspect the money has gone the way it normally goes. Eh? This boy, you say what does IG do with the money he collects from Lawmakers? I hope your mouth will not put you into trouble. You can go and ask IG that illegal question. If you return with the bones in your legs intact, thank your head. Look here, that man is wicked. I know he speaks English Girama like a parrot, and he can smile until a lioness that loses her curbs smiles back at him, but the wickedness in him surpasses that of a rattle snake. That’s why he must not know that the Kafir-Haram terrorist you ask me about does not die in our cell, and that he has not committed suicide as you hear on radio and television. He escapes. On Oga’s instruction, I bring the dead body of an armed robber into our cell, and that’s what I show journalists. I expect you will keep this a secret. IG must not hear it. If he knows that the Kafir-Haram terrorist escapes, he will put Oga in a Guard-Room and in less than two days Oga will give birth of whatever is in his belly that pushes out his shirt like that of a pregnant woman.
I learn that the president invites IG to brief him on the death of the Kafir-Haram terrorist, and he has ordered that IG should investigate our activities in Division C. He also says we should be prosecuted if we are found guilty. There’s espirit-de-corps so I know our officers will never tell IG what he needs to know. As for the president, he can give all the orders he wants. When journalists move on to other stories, he too will. Do you know the more important secret that the IG must not know? It’s Oga that sets the Kafir-Haram terrorist free, and it’s because Oga has been selling M16-style riffles to him and his fellow terrorists. I am warning all of you, don’t write what I say because I will deny it. I don’t want anyone to put sand-sand in my career.
We should return to the front yard, now that you have seen everything about our headquarters from the front, to this backyard. Eh? This boy, you say why do we have such a large number of abandoned vehicles parked over there? Very good; that is the first legal question you ask me today. What’s your name? Richard. You can shake my hand. As you can see, most of the vehicles are involved in accidents and because I demand for appreciation, their owners abandon them. So any day things dry, I send one of our officers to sell one of the vehicles as scrap. Don’t bother about those new BMW power bikes overgrown with weeds on that other side of the building. We’ll release them to different police units for patrol duties whenever their officers become wise and bring appreciation for Oga.
Come this way, all of you. We don’t need to go through the office corridors. We can get to the front yard from this side of the building. Look at Oga over there. Where is he going? And I have said I will take you to his office in case you have questions for him. Corporal Dudu! Report here. What’s happening over there? Those officers with Oga are from the Investigative Unit in IG’s office, aren’t they? Eh? You say they have come to arrest Oga. Why? The Kafir-Haram suspect that Oga sets free has been re-arrested and he has confessed? And the officers have instructions to arrest me for forged certificates? Ah, IG has put sand-sand in my career!
Ajibade is a Communications (Writing) Consultant, Literary Administrator and newspaper columnist. He lives in Abuja, Nigeria. He has published short stories, dramas and children’s stories – many of which have either won, or are nominated for awards. His short stories are published in Chamberfour, The Fear of Monkeys, Guerrilla Basement, Pixelhose, Southern Pacific Review, Cyclamens and Swords, Untamed Ink, 971 MENU, Prosopisia, and Cigalelitmagazine. He has several collections of short stories ready for publication. His passion is promoting literature by empowering new generation of fiction writers.