I was still with my thought when a guy who was sitting directly opposite me across the room started shivering and convulsing. All the guys around him sprang up shouting and watching him struggle with his life without offering any help. Just like a flash, the huge guy, also sprang up and went for the boy. He laid him straight on the floor raising his head a bit.
“Oh! God.” I murmured looking on as he tried all he could to help the guy survive. After a little moment of struggling, the guy went quiet and stiff and just then, two men with rifles came.
“All of una mama,” one caused. “Why we no go hear word for una for here, wetin happen?” he shouted as the cell went dead silent.
“He is dead.” The huge guy announced walking back to his position beside me.
“Better for him.” The cursing officer continued. “He for still die. All of una wey think say here na hostel accommodation, e go be una turn very soon.”
They left and after about an hour, two officers came and carried the dead body away. Throughout the moment they left, the sound of a pin dropped could be heard. Even the talkative guy beside me didn’t say anything again.
I followed the officer sluggishly before he directed me towards the reception. As I walked into the reception, behold the least person I expected to see; Bunmi. I stood surprised for a moment before walking to where she was sitting.
“How did she know that I was here?” I asked myself. The only person I called was Tolu who didn’t pick after which I left her a message. Maybe Tolu sent her, I concluded. I had suddenly become conscious of myself been on just boxer short. She had this compassionate look as she saw me.
I sat opposite her on the table without words. I couldn’t get to look at her face which made me keep my eyes on my dirty fingers.
“Are you Ok?” she murmured swallowing hard.
I shrugged without looking up. Another long silence followed before she cleared her throat probably gathering her emotions.
“Ummm!!” she started clearing her throat. “I know you must be wondering how I got here, how I got to know, yea?”
I looked up avoiding her gaze with a slight node.
“Tolu sent me,” she concluded.
“Thank you.” I muttered.
“Well, I didn’t anticipate our next meeting to be like this but, since we didn’t get properly introduced before, I’m Bunmi, a lawyer by profession with ABC Law Firm.”
The surprise in my voice was unmistaken.
“A lawyer?” I muttered looking at her.
“Yes, I am.”
A moment of silence passed between us as if she was waiting for me to digest the fact that she is a lawyer. After what seemed like a life time of silence, she cleared her throat.
“So,” she started. “I haven’t been able to talk to the officer in-charge of your case as I wanted to hear from you first. What happened, why are you here?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied looking up to her.
“You don’t know? You just woke up and found yourself here?” she continued. The last part was supposed to be a joke as it came with a smile from her which disappeared as it came.
“ I don’t know why I am here or for what reason, this is the fourth week I am spending here and no one has told me anything.”
“Fourth week?” she asked surprised.
“Yes, it all started some weeks ago. I had a disagreement with my superior at the office. The following day I was served an indefinite suspension letter based on some fabricated charges. As if that’s not enough, I woke up the following morning to find a team of four armed SARS men, my superior and another man from the headquarters at my door. That’s how I got myself here.” I narrated.
“Just like that, no offence stated for your arrest?”
I shrugged in negation.
“On the letter of suspension served to you, what were you accused of?” she asked calmly.
“Office misconduct and negligence of duty.” I replied.
“No. the first week I came here, they kept torturing me asking me to attest to an unspecified crime. All I know is that they’ve been calling me a thief since I came here.”
She ran her eyes over me and I could see compassion and pity in her eyes. While I narrated all these, she kept jotting down some points in a small jotter she had.
“Have anybody from your office been here to see you?” she asked.
“No.” I replied shaking my head.
“Have you been charged to court for any specified crime since they brought you here?”
I nodded in negation.
She was about saying something when the office in-charge of my case came in to take me back.
“Madam una time don finish.” He said standing authoritatively before us.
Bunmi pretended like she didn’t hear or notice that he was around us and continued with her question.
“What’s the name of the organization you work for?”
“Madam I say una time is over.” The office barked dragging me up from the seat.
“He is my client and if you take him one inch away from here until I am finished with him, consider kissing your job goodbye.” Bunmi said with a calmness that sent shivers down my own spine.
The officer stood not taking any step further. He must have been stunned by the calmness with which she delivered her threat. He was speechless and confused not knowing what to do next.
“Toby can you take your seat please.” Bunmi continued.
I reluctantly lowered myself on the seat while the officer stood still looking from me to Bunmi.
“What and what did they collect from you?” she asked.
I listed the things I remembered them taking from me after which she stood up pulled out her ID and flashed it before the officer who was still standing at the same point.
“ I need to talk to the DPO.” The officer who was clearly shaking with fear muttered some words before heading out with Bunmi and I following behind.
At the end of the day, I was released same day with an apology from the DPO himself with every of my effects returned intact. To placate me for the torture I went through, the DPO had promised to go after those who ordered for my arrest but Bunmi tod him not to worry as she was going to handle it her way.
If you aint gon have money and power, make sure to have friends that got them.