“Toby?” an officer in charge of my case barked standing in front of our cell. “Person wan see you.” He unlocked the iron protector as I walked lazily out thinking who could have come to see me.
“Abeg waka fast, no waste my time.” He barked again but I cared less. That was the beginning of the forth week I was spending in the State Anti Robbery cell without being charged to court or allowed any visitor.
After the first week of continuous torture to confess to a crime nobody has told me anything about, I thought I was going to die. They kept calling me a thief and asking me to confess and write a statement that I stole ‘the money’ which I refused to. At the end of every torture session, I was always dragged back to the cell bleeding and swollen all over with one thought on my mind; which money are they talking about?
But the torture stopped on the first week after which I was allowed to call one person. When I was given the phone, the only person that my mind went to was Tolu. I couldn’t call my family, what will I tell them?
I had called Tolu twice to which she didn’t answer. I left her a message afterwards before my time to use the phone elapsed. Throughout the week, I’d expected her to come around after seeing my message but it didn’t happen. The second week went by and also with the third.
My ordeal started the following day after I learnt about Fiolla’s pregnancy. After the fruitless effort to get to placate her which proved abortive, I left her, if only I knew what was waiting for me.
The following day had started off weird for me; everything within me didn’t feel right. I had wanted to call in sick but decided against it.
When I got to work that morning, the first thing that greeted me was a letter suspending me indefinitely based on office misconduct and negligence to duty.
At first I thought it was a joke but after some minutes of reading and re reading it, it dawned on me. I left with the letter to Fiolla’s office. Janet, though sorry for me had prevented me from gaining entrance to Fiolla’s office, but her resistance wasn’t going to stop me. When I finally forced my way in, security was called to usher me out.
Throughout the short moment I spent in her office saying all manner of apology, she didn’t say a word to me until security arrived and she ordered them to push me out.
To make matters worse, the suspension came from headquarters. If it had been from the branch, it would be a whole lot easier to appeal but it was stated in caps that I am not to be seen close to the headquarter until I was invited to answer for the allegations
I had gone home that day and cried myself to sleep. I needed to talk to someone, but who. My sister or family was out of the question. What do I tell them, that I got my superior pregnant just few months into my job reason for my indefinite suspension? I tried Uche but his line wasn’t connecting. Within three hours, I emaciated beyond words. How would I have known that my travails just started?
The day strolled by slowly and that night was the longest of my life. I barely slept a wink.
The following morning while I was thinking about my life, a knock sounded from my door. I checked the time and it was some minutes past 6am. I heaved a big sigh heading to the door with all hopes that it would be no other person than Tolu because I know she would be the one knocking on my door by that time. I didn’t bother to look through the peephole only to open the door and meet the greatest shock of my life.
Outside my door stood a team of four Sate Anti- Robbery Squared, fully armed, with Fiolla and another man who I recognized from the headquarters.
I stood dumbfounded staring at the men before Fiolla spoke up.
“Officers, this is the man.” She said pointing at me.
The next thing that followed was a loud resounding slap from one of the armed men which immediately restored me to factory setting.
“So you are the thief?” one of them asked loading me with another blinding slap. The force of the second slap coupled with the effect from the first threw me off balancing sending me staggering back into the room. They followed suit and before I could say a word, slaps, punches and gun butts were coming from different direction.
I laid crumpled on the floor defending myself the best I can from the brutality.
“Thief, how can a small boy like you be living in such a place.” one of them mocked sending the butt of his gun to my ribs. I squirmed in pain crying, struggling for my life and gasping for air while Fiolla and the unarmed man looked on unperturbed.
As the beating was going on, two officers were busy ransacking my apartment. Within a short time, they have gathered most of my personal valuables in the house together with my phones.
The last thing I remembered was a cuff being slapped on my hands with more beating.
I must have passed out from the beating only to wake up in a stench filled cell. At first, I couldn’t recognize where I was as I looked around with foggy eyes.
“This one don wake up.” A voice came. It must have been closer to notice that I was awake but it sounded so far. The images I saw where all faint and foggy and his words sounded more like an announcement to others.
I made to move my hand and felt severe pains all over. I let myself be on the floor and tried to clear my sight. It was then that bits of my memory started coming back. I could feel my face so heavy like a dead load was place on it.
I must have passed out again from the unbearable pains. When I woke up, I noticed that I have been rearranged. I was now in a sitting posture with my back resting on the wall. I looked around painfully taking the surroundings in. A rough counting totaled about 30guys in the square room.
Everybody in the room had only a boxer short on and many seemed to be minding their business while a few others were discussing. It wasn’t rocket science knowing that I was also Unclad save for my boxers.
As I laid gathering my senses, the young man beside me seemed so eager to talk to me.
“Bros, we think say you no go make am o, wetin happen na, na bank you rob wey make them do you like this.” He asked shifting closer to me. I tried to adjust away from him only to bump into a huge guy beside me. Through my swollen face and eyes, I looked at him murmuring an apology. He looked away without a word to me.
I moved my hand to feel my faced as a hot severe pain simmered through all my being causing me to recline in pain putting my hand down.
“Baba your face no give road o, wetin happened na?” the guy beside me continued.
“How long have I been here?” I asked ignoring his questions.
“You don stay reach three days, shee?” he replied turning to his neighbor for confirmation. “We been think say you no go make am o, but you sha na strong man.” He continued. While he talked, I kept trying to clear my head but the pains were so severe to even allow me a moment of concentration.
“You need not stress your brain, calm down and take another short nap, you will be fine after.” The huge guy beside me said without turning.
I looked at him and nodded gently resting my head on the wall. Flashes of what happened in my house before I passed out kept flowing in. I couldn’t think of what went wrong.