THORNS IN MY BOOT 36

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36

This is the year 2002! This man was taken away in 1991 and released in 1997 which means he spent six years in incarceration and five years absence from duty without official leave, he was Awol! A total of eleven years was wasted yet he was collecting Salaries and allowances! Is that so? Soldier!

No Sir! I replied

No, what? He asked; have you not been receiving your salaries? After all you have not been dismissed from the Army. Your case was mentioned to me when I took over, I am the third G.O.C after your went away, but your file is with my secretary, it contained a letter from the Police requesting your release in furtherance of an investigation but the so called Exoneration letter from the Court did not get to this Office else it would be in your file.

The list of all dismissed, retired and late Soldiers in this division from its establishment are in files here and your name is not in any of them, your name is on the “special Assignment” list, so who has been collecting your salaries for the past eleven years? The records with finance HQ also attest to the fact that your salaries are being remitted to your base division. Everything about you have been checked and updated from HQ immediately your Lawyer petitioned my Office.

Oga sir! I chipped in; I stopped collecting salaries two months after I was arrested in 1991, the month that the police brought me to my Unit to seek for permission to take me away was the last month that that I was paid. My bank statement can prove that sir!

He looked at the Colonel G.S and the two nodded their heads simultaneously. Get me the C.O finance Right away! The G.O.C ordered. As the Colonel G.S stood up to exit the office, the G.O.C added; also get me the C.O Military Police and Colonel Garuba.

Yes sir! The Colonel G.S saluted and exited.

He continued; hm Boy! So you have been trying to reach this Office for the past five years?
Yes sir! I said.

And you said Garuba threatened to shoot you?

Yes sir! I replied

And he released Soldiers to beat you up because you requested for his assistance?

The Soldiers attacked me as they saw him pulled the Pistol at me; they did it in solidarity I think.
Solidarity my foot! He should have stopped them at that instance if he did not encourage such an act, as far as I am concerned, he sent them!
Your petition also states that you met a brick wall at my Office, in the person of my secretary, he said you should come back after elections right?

Yes sir! I replied.

He must have compromised! The G.O.C said; how could he have stopped a Soldier from seeing me? What’s my business with the elections that I cannot see to a Soldiers needs? Am I campaigning or something?
He got up and started to pace about the Office, hands in pocket, humming a tune and nodding his head to the rhythm.

So what have you been doing for the past five years? He asked me as he walked past me.

I went back to school sir! I bought a Motor Cycle which I use for Okada business; I said.

And now you are married to your lawyer? He asked

Yes sir: I replied

Any Kids yet? Or this is your first you are expecting? He asked

We have a daughter! She will be three by October sir. I replied

Hmm, madam! I admire your courage and faith in this man! I only read of such relationships in romance novels, he said to Amaka, Amaka smiled. So which School are you and what level? He continued;

I am at U.N.N sir, final year Business administration sir!

Good! Good! He said, so would you like to continue with the Army when all this is resolved?

I don’t think so sir! I said; I would like to go for my national youth service scheme and get a good Job worthy of the husband of a Barrister! Or better still I start up something of my own.

Wouldn’t you like to be commissioned as an Army Officer when you graduate? That would be worth your Wife’s status and it will in fact boost her career the more! Imagine a Lawyer married to an Army Officer! There is no stopping you Guys!

Amaka joined in at this juncture, I think that would be a good idea sir! She said.

Not to worry Boy! I think you have been a Victim of some unfortunate inhuman manipulations. Somebody must explain to me where your salaries have been going to for the past eleven years! Somebody has to tell me convincingly why you have been stopped and frustrated from seeing the G.O.C all these years! That your R.S.M and your commanding Officer must explain to me why a letter directed to this Office did not get here! He continued to hum and nod his head to the rhythm as he pranced about his Office.

To Be Continued

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