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Standing alone

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Standing alone

“Sergeant Okoro!” DSP Ahmed furiously called in a very high tone while standing in-between his office executive chair and table the moment the said sergeant hastily stepped into his office. “Yes sir!” Sergeant Okoro responded accordingly, facing the boss as the ethics demanded. He stood seriously right before the DSP, posing not unlike one of the soldiers that fought the Second World War. Both were in their uniforms. DSP Rasaq Ahmed who was in his early forties was the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of one of the notable police stations situated in one of the South- Western states in Nigeria.

He was widely and famously known for his unrelenting vibrant and dogged approach to issues pertaining to security of lives and property from the very day he joined the Police Force. To say the least, he was unarguably a no nonsense police personnel, that, he became the role model of any police officer that intended to discharge his/her duties or serve the country selflessly and efficiently without any iota of fear or favour, as might be the case. On that day, precisely 13th August 2002, he had earlier sent for Sergeant Ekene Okoro within a twinkle of an eye he received a report on one local ‘champion’ in the neighbourhood named Femi who was accused of rape.

The notorious Femi who hailed from the locality had been terrorizing the residents of the area and its environs, and his dastardly acts coupled with other misdeeds were condoned by the previous DPOs. He was popularly known by his accomplices as ‘Bale’, which literally implied the Monarch of the territory, based on their native language Yoruba. DSP Ahmed who was barely one month old in the Division had vowed to deal ruthlessly with anyone in the area of any questionable character having been intimated on the unwarranted anomalies that were on the rampage in the locality. He was actually posted to head the quarters owing to the ordeal.

“Go and get me the so called Bale.” DSP Ahmed ordered. “Right now.” He supplemented, stood still, looking like one who just lost one of his own. “Yes sir!” replied the seriouslooking sergeant who was already aware of the ugly incident. “Don’t keep me waiting.” He warned. “Yes sir!” He signalled the sergeant with his left hand as he frowned, urging him to leave immediately.

The sergeant hurriedly tendered his last salute positioning his masculine chest forward and dashed out of the office like a breastfeeding monkey as requested. “Non….sense!” the DPO exclaimed as soon as the sergeant departed, quickly resumed his seat, looking pale and anxious. Considering his physiognomy, it was obvious he couldn’t wait to behold the accused person. Within three minutes, Sergeant Okoro organized a 5-man team comprising no nonsense and well experienced cops including him, and headed for the consignment with their black patrol vehicle. * * * * * “We have him, sir!” Sergeant Okoro disclosed in a high tempo the moment he dashed into the DPO’s office, posing as usual.

This was taking place barely twenty minutes after his departure with the team having successfully apprehended the culprit as instructed by the boss. “Good job.” the DPO applauded, nodding his big skull. “Where is he?” He added while standing from his chair.

He was instantly led by the seeming fearless sergeant to the room where the hooligan was kept in handcuffs. Femi who could not be confronted by anyone, not even his King, couldn’t believe he was in the police net.

“So you are the Bale?” said the DPO in a mean tone within a second he found himself in the room. The boss stood directly in front of the suspect who was seated on an Iron back-chair. Among everyone in the room – including the DPO and his men, he was the only one who had a seat. As he felt relaxed in the chair, he calmly looked up to the DPO’s face and remained mute. The huge, dark-looking and about 5.5-foot tall Femi, who seemed to be in his mid-forties, was clad in black jeans, blue polo and dark-blue trainers.

The stylishly carved beards on his chins and lower jaw were enough to form a forest within his skull. By merely taking a glance at his appearance, you needn’t be told that he was a kingpin. That was the first time the DPO would set his eyes on him. Prior to that moment, the former was only familiar with the latter’s names especially his sobriquet. Aside DSP Ahmed, there were other three cops in the room, which was virtually empty. They included Sergeant Okoro and one female officer.

The DPO, DSP Ahmed who was in his police uniform alongside his junior colleagues signalled the female cop who stood adjacent to him to uncuff Femi. She hastily complied with the instruction and returned to her initial position. She was standing by the left side of the detainee, Sergeant Okoro stood directly at his (Femi’s) back whilst the other male cop was by his right side. It suffices to say that the hoodlum was surrounded by the four cops present in the room.

“I learnt you have been terrorizing the whole town?” the DPO proceeded. “And now, you have diverted to rape.” Femi remained speechless, looked mean. “Are you dumb?” DSP Ahmed shouted. Femi stylishly glanced at him.

“I promise,” he said. “You will surely regret this.” “What …!” the DPO exclaimed in a high voice. The other male cop rushed to hit him but he was resisted from doing so by the DPO via a commanding sign. The cops including the DPO became preoccupied with extreme rage.

They, excluding the boss, kept their pistols handy; the DPO’s was lying on his belted waist. “So,” quoth DSP Ahmed. “You are threatening me?” The other three cops simultaneously shook their heads in disappointment. “Even in my office?” the DPO added, looking bitter. To be continued, please.

 

• Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri

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