THORNS IN MY BOOT 19

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19

On the first of January 1995,at night as usual with Oga Inside; I sat mama down by her bed and I plaited her hair for her, she needed to look good on near year day. I ended up plaiting the hair of six other inmates that became uncontrollable when they saw me plaiting mama’s hair, they came and sat by my side and started to loosen their hair in readiness for their turn. One of the nurses brought out a mirror and gave to mama after her hair was done, though it was forbidden to allow the Patients access to mirrors. For the first time mama laughed out, the sound of her laughter was strange but it was laughter all the same. Baba Miko performed his jubilation drama again.

Baba Miko! He is actually not a blood relation of ours in any way. I was drawn to him because he had always been close to me and my mother, he was the only listening ear we had and he was always trying to assist us in any way he could. I have never known him to be married, but I know his kinsmen. For him to have abandoned his brick laying work back home and come to Abakaliki with my mother to live like a beggar and wait on her to recover is what beats my imagination. I knew there was something I did not know between the two. But time would tell, I need him where he is now since I could not be there twenty four hours, and I was grateful to him.

1995 and 96 passed without a court appearance due to incessant strike actions in the country. Some developments also took place around me within the two years.

Barrister Amaka was promoted and transferred to Abuja Supreme Court. But before her departure, she had introduced a certain Barrister Efe to me as her colleague and my new counsel. I loved the man instantly because of his warri accent. He was very warm and jovial.

Barrister Amaka did something that I did not understand until much later; she told me she had altered my date of birth as recorded in my file, she also showed me a sworn affidavit of age declaration in my name, I was borne on the 6th of September 1972, but the new age read 1974, she had reduced my age by two. She said I should not forget my new age hence forth. I thanked her even though I did not know the reason. She promised to be following up my case from Abuja and that I should have confidence in Barrister Efe. I believed her.
Her Father retired from the Government and set up him private chamber in Awka the capital of Anambra state, his state of origin.

My main man Oga Inside also went on voluntary retirement after having spent twenty five years in Prison service, he handed me over to Oga Frank, another Warder before he left. He paid me all he owed me and he was still coming to see me once in a while. Oga Inside invested his gratuity in Rice farming. He opened a Rice mill at Ezamgbo and he bought a twenty hectare of land for Rice farming alone. He told me that Local Rice is well sought after by fast food joints for preparing Ofada rice, he further explained that the exportation of Local Rice was also on the increase because of the nutritional value. He also said I was welcome to come and work with him after I must have been released. Mr. Luke Umahi! That is his real name and he hailed from Ohaozara local government of the then Enugu state but is today Ebonyi state. It is only few of us that got to know his real name. He is a man I cannot forget, I am for ever indebted to that man.

To Be Continued

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