We were told to write our statements after spending eight days at the Police station, it was an unlawful detention, nobody knew we were there and we could have died of starvation or brutality, the Police men were very mean and we had learnt not to provoke them, we never mentioned the fact that we were Soldiers any more as that normally enraged them.
We were eventually allowed to wash our bodies on the eight day and our dirty uniforms were given to us to wear, then we were driven in a 504 station Wagon to Enugu, 82 division military Police in hand and leg Cuffs.
After one hour interrogation by the military Police, Saka was released. He kept shouting Allah Akbar! As he left the Station for his house without even talking to me. A Military Police Sergeant entered the Station Wagon and we drove to my unit to meet my Commander; I wished for the earth to open its mouth and swallow me as I was pulled out of the Police Van when it parked outside my Commander’s Office. My Colleagues immediately surrounded us and every one was asking questions, wetin happen? Ojo wetin you do? I was just crying as I was pulled along by the Military Police. This small Boys of nowadays! Them no dey hear word, this boy na bad boy and I don dey suspect an since wey he buy that Car! I heard our sergeant Korofo said as we entered the C.O’s secretary’s Office.
The Secretary was shocked to see me in such a state; Ojo! He called; na wetin be this? Na wetin you do? He asked.
Oga na long story o! I said; I don buy Motor buy trouble o! them say na stolen car buy!
Ha! He shouted and immediately closed his mouth with his hands .
The C.O is expecting us! The M.P said.
Yes I know, you can go inside! The secretary said.
The M.P and the Police came to attention in front of the C.O. I was at ease because I was in Cuffs, I bent my head in shame, I could not meet the curious gaze from my Boss.
Sir! This Soldier is needed by the Police in furtherance of an investigation of Armed robbery, Molest and homicide committed at Asaba two months ago sir! The M.P said.
How is he connected? C.O asked.
The Car of the Victim was found with him and another of your Soldier Saka saliu but after interrogation we found out that the Saka was innocent and he has been released some moments ago.
Which Saka? My Saka? C.O asked.
Yes Sir! He is a Signal Man! But he is clean, he was just driving in the same Car with the Culprit when they were apprehended, the M.P said.
Where did the Robbery take place? C.O asked; did you not say Asaba?
Yes sir! The Police man answered.
So if I steal a Car in Asaba, I will be so daft as to drive the same car through Asaba to Agbor? Ehn Police man! The C.O asked
Well sir, it is very possible Sir! Considering the facts that they were wearing Army Uniforms! No one would stop them naturally; the Police man said.
Okay, I see your point! So what is the next step now? C.O asked
I have a letter from the A.I.G to the G.O.C for his temporary release to us as the case is already charged to Court. The Man they killed and robbed his Family was a senior Citizen in Asaba! Your Soldier is the first and only link we have on the case; he will lead us into catching up with other members of his gang. The Police said.
It is like you have tagged him guilty already, Mr. Police! C.O said
No sir! He replied.
My C.O looked at me with pity; Ojo! He called; see what you have gotten into now? How did you come about the stolen Car? He asked
Oga! I said; after they paid us our outstanding depot allowance and our salaries in arrears, Mr. Chike the Spare parts dealer helped me to buy the car.
The same Chike, our supplier? C.O asked
Yes sir! I said
So where is the Chike now? C.O asked no one in particular
The Police replied: the so called Chike is a Criminal! He gave him a fake receipt of purchase bearing a non existing Lagos address and now he is nowhere to be found, when we went searching for him last week he was nowhere to be found and there are several People bearing the name Chike in the Spare parts market and this your Soldier does not even know the Shop of the so called Chike as he claimed not to have been there before.
Oh gosh! Oh gosh! Nigeria Police! C.O exclaimed. This Chike you are talking about may be in this barrack as I speak with you! He is well known here! And for the fact that you have brought this Man here in chains, and it is known that he bought a stolen Car, then believe you me, Chike has heard of it! And of course he would escape. You People should have come here secretly and together we could have laid ambush and caught this Guy unaware, we could have told him to supply us anything and we catch him upon delivery. Well this is not the first time we are experiencing such situation in the Barracks: I will send your letter to the G.O.C, where is the acknowledgement copy let me sign for you?
The Police man handed over the sealed letter and the acknowledgement copy to the C.O who endorsed his signature and returned the signed copy to the Police man.
I hope you guys get to the root of this matter quickly so that this young Man can return to duty, he is a young Man just starting life in the Army: have you contacted his Bankers to check the last transactions he made? The C.O asked.
No sir! I don’t think so sir! The Police replied.
Then do so! That will help in your investigation: are you the O.I.C of the case?
Yes sir! I am the Officer in charge sir! The Police replied.
Please do your best and don’t let my Boy suffer in vain or unjustly.
Okay sir! I will do my best sir! The Police said.
So you can take him away! Ojo! I wish you the best! My C.O said with finality.
I sat on the floor of the C.O’s Office and wept bitterly, I pleaded with him not to allow the Police take me away, but he ignored me as the Police and M.P dragged me out of the C.O’s Office.
A crowd had gathered in front of the C.O’s Office, I was pushed into the trunk of the Wagon and the door booth slammed shut, I poked my head out from the window and called out to the Soldiers watching us not to allow Mr. Chike to escape and allow me to suffer unjustly, I reminded them that it was the lump sum paid to me that I used to buy the Car, I reminded all that cared to listen that private Samuel Yoguda and Private Onoja Samuel are my Colleagues and these two bought Cars too. Make una no allow me to suffer for nothing I yelled in tears as the car screeched and zoomed away.
To Be Continued