A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
‘Ade Tiger’ who drove the car slowed down as he approached the gate and switched off the full light. The Vigilante men turned their powerful torch to the car. Suddenly, the head of the team identified the military plate number, he quickly gave signal to his men to allow the vehicle pass since it was a military vehicle. He also gave a salute to the occupant of the car.
“That is the ADC to Governor Oladayo Popoola. He has a girlfriend he comes to see at night on the last street…Ekun!!! He is a very generous man. He is a Major” The head of the Vigilante Team announced proudly.
The car parked in front of the Durotoye’s house while the occupants surveyed the house from the other side of the road. The lights in the house were completely turned off.
“That makes the job easier” Sad Man, Head of the Hit Squad spoke for the first time since they entered Ibadan. “Bold, you and Goatee, proceed into the house, once clear, radio”
Just then, there was a power outage.
The duo of Bold and Goatee alighted from the car and walked stealthily to the gate of the house. The fence is the low type, a little lower than six feet, so jumping over it was not a difficult task for Bold and Goatee.
Their landing on the other side was with a silent thud. They both wore soft padded Nike canvass shoes. Bold held a master key with which he used to turn the lock of the main door. The blackout helped as he fiddled with the key. Goatee stood alert with the walkie-talkie close to his mouth and ready to make distress call in case of any intrusion.
The ADC to Lt. Col. Oladayo Popoola, the Governor of Oyo State truly has a mistress he comes to see at night on the last street of Felele Rab. However, he had come into the Estate earlier than the head of the Vigilante team thought. At exactly 11.30pm, he drove his army green Peugeot 504 Car to the gate and flashed the headlamp.
Surprised to see the army plate number again, the head of The Vigilante Team became suspicious. “This man just pass now with another motor…How come be say, hin dey drive another motor”
He moved close to the driver side of the car. Major Ayodeji Odulanke wound down the glass of his side wondering why the security men want identification again. He had passed the gate at odd hours several times, so they ought to know him.
“Oga, na you!!! Good evening Sir. I be think say na you just drive inside estate now e no reach like ten minutes pass. You carry one blue Mercedes Benz 200 car wey carry army number enter”
Major Odulanke stroked his moustache and smiled “No, I have been inside the estate since around 7pm”
“Haa! Something dey happen ooo!!!”
“What is it?” Ayodeji asked calmly
“Oga, we go need your help oo. One Mercedes 200 enter now. We been wan suspect the people inside but as e carry army number; we come think say na you”
“I see, what are you thinking now and what would you like that I do?”
“Sir, we suspect say, that car wan do something bad inside this estate. Please, you fit arrange for soldiers join us make we arrest them quick quick”
Major Ayodeji smiled again. He knew the security men might just be hyper-sensitive, but it is better than being retroactive. Besides, his live in mistress and lover who just gave him a baby boy, three months ago lives in the estate. He picked his radio and alerted Mokola Barracks, the nearest military formation for back up and gave them ten minutes to arrive.
He parked his car outside the gate of the estate and felt his Glock 199mm compact semi automatic pistol beside him. He breathed a sigh of relief and bent to pull out a Beretta AR70 automatic rifle from under his seat. He cocked it in readiness for possible action. He removed the pistol adjusted the magazine and checked the grip safety before returning it to his back pocket.
He picked the Berretta Rifle and jumped down from the car to meet the vigilante men. When they saw him with the rifle, the men smiled and were encouraged. He pulled out his radio again and communicated with the backup team. They confirmed to him they were already about five minutes away on the Ring Road.
Although Bold and Goatee gained access into the house, they met no one. The house was completely silent. Bold pointed his torch to every corner of the house and heard no voice or movement. Disappointed, Goatee gave the massive shelf in the living room a hard hit with his leg. The shelf came crashing with a loud noise. Sad Man and Ade Tiger heard the noise and quickly got the car ready to move. Sad Man radioed Bold and Goatee.
“Guys, sambalidate for immediate vamoose!!!”
The backup team from Mokola barracks had arrived with a pick up van with eight fully armed soldiers. Major Ayodeji Odulanke gave instructions to the men to hide in the gutters near the gate entrance and lay in to wait for the return of the Mercedes Benz. A lone patrol team of the vigilante had given report that the car was sighted with two occupants in front of house 17. Ayodeji had given instruction that if the car does not return in five minutes, house 17 should be stormed immediately.
On the dot of five minutes, Ayodeji was about giving instructions for the men to storm house 17 when flickers of light from the Mercedes Benz car appeared. The men lying in the gutters remained quiet. Ayodeji stood in the security cubicle, his pistol firmly gripped. He touched the Beretta AR70 automatic rifle slung across his shoulder and nodded in satisfaction.
The car slowed down at the gate and dimmed its lights. Ade Tiger expected the men to give the normal salute but instead, the head of the security team ordered the occupants to step down for identification. Sad Man rolled down his side glass and explained that the car just passed the gate a few moments ago.
“Oga, please come down for identification” The Vigilante head spoke politely.
Suddenly, Sad Man pulled out an Ak 47 rifle, opened the door with swift speed and aimed the gun at the Head of the vigilante team. The man quickly went down on the other side of the car and rolled away in a jiffy into the side gutter. At the same second, the eight soldiers’ hiding in the gutter jumped out with their guns aimed at Sad Man and the car. The voice of Major Ayodeji Odulanke rang out clearly in the darkness.
“Drop that gun; you are completely surrounded you fool!!!”
Sad Man looked around and saw eight guns pointing to him from different directions. He knew he will only be foolish to try anything smart. He dropped the rifle on the roof of the car and raised his hands in the air. Inside the car, Bold and Goatee already dropped their pistols and moved slowly out with hands on their heads.
“Move towards me, away from your car and lie face down…Now!!!” Ayodeji barked out the instructions.
They obeyed and moved towards Major Ayodeji. One after the other, they lied face down on the tarred road. One of the soldiers moved close to check their bodies for weapons. Another two ransacked the car.
Jack knives were recovered from their pockets and a pistol from Sad Man’s pocket. From the car, they recovered two rifles, a pump action gun and two locally made pistols.
“Thank you guys!!! Get them locked up in the barracks. Tomorrow, hand them over to the police. Tell the police, Major Ayodeji Odulanke is involved in this case…So, no stories!”
“Yes Sir!!!” The Head of the Army backup Team, a Lieutenant replied immediately. The men of the vigilante were scared beyond measure. They lied on their faces, thanking Major Ayodeji for coming at the right time.
Mrs. Durotoye didn’t know when the Pastor and his wife left for Onigba-Iwofa; she would have traveled with them. Although Pastor Kalejaye had prayed for her when she came to report to him about the dream she had concerning Lanre, she was still restless. She had gone to meet Pastor again that afternoon when she got information that the Senior Pastor, his wife and some members of The Evangelical Team had gone to Onigba-Iwofa. Although she was happy that Pastor Kalejaye had gone to meet Morakinyo, the dream she had about her son was still a source of concern.
As she stepped out of the church compound, she met Sister Chioma a member of the Evangelism Team who explained to her further that the Senior Pastor had directed all the members of the evangelism to meet over the night to pray for Brother Morakinyo and his mission.
“Haa. That’s good. I will also join…What time will the vigil commence?”
“As usual Ma,10pm” Chioma had explained to her.
“Thank you Sister Chioma, I will join you”
Mrs. Durotoye made good her promise to join the Evangelism Team in the vigil. While she was lost in the fervent prayers that took place at the church, the duo of Bold and Goatee were ransacking her house.
Morakinyo opened his eyes after some minutes of rest. Pastor had prayed some simple prayers while he was seated and told the brethren to relax, and that Morakinyo will soon come around. He assured them that his fainting was more of a combination of shock and exhaustion from the crisis at hand rather than an attack as some of the brethren might be thinking.
When eventually, Morakinyo came around, there was joy written on every face. Morakinyo coughed and requested for water which Lanre quickly rushed to get. After drinking the water, Pastor Kalejaye asked everyone to sing some songs of praise after which he prayed and asked everyone to go and sleep.
“We leave for Ibadan as early as 6am…We should be able to meet up with church service” He added.
Mrs. Durotoye left the church around 5am and went straight to house. When she got to the gate of the estate, she met a large crowd of landlords and residents discussing. At first she was apprehensive and she drove into the gate with caution. As she drove past the security men, she sought information on why the crowd gathered.
“Ha Mamah!!! You’re welcome. Armed robbers attacked the estate yesterday. But they have been caught!”
“Praise God!!!” She said and drove past the small crowd. She needed to reach the house quickly, take a little nap and return to church latest by 10am. She was completely unaware of the fact that she was the major victim of the “robbery attack”
As she alighted from the car after helping herself with the gate, she noticed that the main door was ajar! Fear gripped her as she saw some footsteps at the door. The door was not broken but opened with a key! She quickly dashed back to the front of the house and raised alarm.
A few of her neighbours quickly gathered and inspected the door. They all agreed with her that the robbers in question visited her home. One of the neighbours raced back to his house, pushed out his Vespa Scooter and dashed towards the gate of the estate. Within five minutes he was back with two of the security men.
Led by the security men who bore weapons, Mrs. Durotoye and some of her neighbours carefully tiptoed into the house and inspected the extent of damage. After spending about thirty minutes searching everywhere in the house, the security men concluded the criminals were not armed robbers but assassins. Mrs. Durotoye confirmed that no item was stolen in the whole house, but everywhere was ransacked; a proof that they were looking for their victim who they assumed must have hidden somewhere.
Mrs. Durotoye went on her knees and began to praise God for the vigil she attended. God had used the vigil to save her life. She shuddered as she imagined what would have happened if the intruders had met her at home. She tried not to imagine.
“Madam, go and do thanksgiving in your Church today. This is God at work in your life.” One of the fellow landlords on the street said.
“Yes my brother you are correct…nothing but thanksgiving”
“Mrs. Durotoye, we are coming back to fetch you. We need to make report of this at the Felele Police Station and you need to come with us to make a statement about this” said the Chairman of the Landlords Association who had since joined them as they checked through the house.
“That’s alright my Chair…I will get ready” Mrs. Durotoye has suddenly lost interest in the sleep she had proposed to have. Her eyes had suddenly become clear and no longer sleepy! She quickly reached out for the telephone with a view to inform her husband in Liberia of the latest incident. She grabbed the receiver in a jiffy and waited for the dialing tone. The phone was dead. Not withstand, she rolled the first dial and waited again.
Despite that, the dialing tone did not come alive. She waited again and dropped the receiver. Intuitively, she carried the telephone box and checked the cord. The cord had been crudely removed from the phone box. Completely exasperated, she sat heavily into the sofa. Her mind raced to the dream she had concerning Lanre and became more afraid that her only two sons were in Onigba-Iwofa at the same time. She wondered what could warrant this pre-meditated attack on her family but could not figure out any. She quickly dashed to the bathroom to shower before the Chairman would return to invite her for the visit to the police.
Mrs. Aarinola Paseda got to the church around 7am so she could have audience with the Senior Pastor himself. She reckoned that the case of Oyinkan and Dr Olagunsoye was rather too sensitive to be revealed to another Pastor in the Church expect The Senior Pastor. She also needed to meet with the Pastor early enough before proceeding to her own Church for Workers/Ministers Meeting and Sunday School.
As she drove in to the compound of the Jesus Assembly, she met one of the Pastors in the church who was her classmate in the secondary school. They exchanged pleasantries and a few banters.
“Aarinola… Nice to see you…What brings you to our church”
“Thank you Joju. I need to see the Senior Pastor urgently” Mrs. Paseda explained.
“Waooh, and you said it’s urgent?”
“Huuunn….Yes. It is. He travelled?”
“Yes…Something like that. He visited one of our missionaries on the field yesterday. But am sure he will be back before the service is over….Would you like to drop a message for him?”
“That won’t be a bad idea”
“Good. Come; let me lead you to his office where the secretary can take the message…either verbal or written. Let’s go” Pastor Joju said as he led Mrs. Paseda towards the Pastors office.
Throughout the service, Mrs. Paseda was thinking of Oyinkan. She silently prayed for direction on how to handle the case. At the same time, she kept wondering how Dr Olagunsoye could end up with such a depraved agent of darkness. She prayed and hoped the Senior Pastor of Jesus Generation Assembly will see her note on time and act fast to connect with Dr. Olagunsoye s soon as possible.
After the service, Mrs. Paseda quickly sought audience with her Pastor and explained everything that transpired at the Teaching Hospital the previous day to him. She requested that he pray for her and the team as they would be returning to the hospital again after service to see the woman.
Moved by the testimony of the Hospital Visitation Team, Pastor Majaro appreciated Mrs. Paseda for the life she ad injected into the ministry since she took over the leadership five years ago. He thereafter prayed for the current assignment of the team and other future endeavours.
Armed with the encouragement of the Pastor and his prayers, Mrs. Paseda and two of his assistants set out for the hospital to see Oyinkansola again. They stopped at Gbagi market to buy a few provisions for Oyin and quickly set out again.
They proceeded straight for Oyinkan’s ward room smiling and gisting silently as they went. Mrs. Paseda smiled as she opened the door, expecting to either meet Oyinkan taking a nap, watching the TV or eating. The sight that greeted the brethren was not only shocking but scary.
Oyinkan was not in the room. The bed had been neatly laid and the room tidied up. Unconsciously, the bag Mrs. Paseda was holding dropped from her hand as she stared at the empty bed!!! Fear gripped her and the other brethren as they stood there staring at one another, unsure of what to say!
To be continued in Episode 35