General Osuji sat at his desk, going through a bunch of documents while his special assistant stood in front of him, awaiting his approval, so he could send to the appropriate office for immediate action.
“Are you okay, sir?” His special assistant on Media, Nduka Obi asked.
“I…I’m fine” He stuttered through his reply. “You say so, but you don’t look so, sir” Nduka replied.
“I just need a long bed rest, for about 3 days, I should be fine” General Osuji replied.
“I’m sure the President wouldn’t mind granting you that, especially with your efforts in the terror task force” Nduka added.
“I think its quite insensitive for the vice president to be looking for vacation while the country is battling terror, all around” General Osuji said, rolling his executive chair away from the table, closing his eyes as leaned as far back as the backrest of the chair could go.
“The country will still be here in the next 3 days, sir whether you’re here or not” Nduka said, trying to talk the retired general into taking a day off.
General Osuji not buying Nduka’s plea “I’m getting too old for this. Who knows the country might not be here to govern in three days”.
“Where are we with the explosion in Lagos?” The General continued, waking up from his pity party.
“Sir, we don’t have anything concrete yet, we’re still waiting for the JTF to update us on the progress of their investigations” Nduka said, crossing his legs over each other.
“The country has been witnessing these terror attempts for a while now, but in the west, it has been silent, I don’t think this was done in isolation” General Osuji told Nduka.
“I feel they’re trying to make a statement, for all we know. These attacks are co-ordinated attempts at something that I don’t know yet.” He continued
“Sir, have you informed the President & Minister of Defense about these thoughts”? Nduka inquired.
The General laughed, “The Vice Presidents office is a ceremonial one, no one wants to listen to what I have to say, the President and his defence minister are all over this”. He explained to his special assistant. Nduka swiftly texted his source in the president’s office asking for his schedule for today.
“If I remember very well, a friend of mine has a theory called the Big Sieve, where like a sieve, you filter out all what you don’t want. The military execution will be to start taking control of little pockets of the country here and there with superior military force.” Nduka listened with rapt attention.
Nduka’s phone began to vibrate on the Vice President’s table, it was a text from his source in the president’s office. “It read, free all day, just a 4pm meeting with Lt. Gen Babakura”.
He read the text aloud to the Vice President, pleading with him to share his thoughts with the President. The Vice President remained quiet.
Slowly, he asked “Why would the President need to talk to Babakura?”.
“Obviously, to help with this terror situation around the country. He is a very formidable grassroots person, no one can deny that” Nduka tried to explain why he felt Babakura was in Aso Rock.
“Babakura can’t be trusted, that bronze walking stick wielding bald headed bastard can’t be trusted.” General Osuji said to Nduka.
“That is very funny sir, he just needs his help with negotiating with these terror group, that’s all. Moreover, you served with him, he retired with merits.” Nduka said.
“Nduka, you don’t know him like I do, we served together during the civil war. He can’t be trusted, he isn’t the hero you think he is, he was supposed to be court marshalled but because of how high placed he was, we couldn’t” General explained
“Court marshalled?” Nduka asked “Why would he be court marshalled” Nduka continued.
“He was caught selling national secrets to foreigners in the early 90s. The other country sold him out.” General Osuji said.
“That is treason, he should have been killed” Nduka said.
“We couldn’t do that, it will have leaked and might have sent the wrong signals to people that the military is broken in its ranks. We dint want the crazy media frenzy especially because of the negative nature of it” General Osuji.
“The president has to be very careful” General told Nduka, as he got ready for go for his lunch with his son-in-law.
Nnamdi was still confused about how all of this was still possible, the task they asked of him, he had completed and why was he still here. He had a few ideas of how to break out and re-gain his freedom but he just couldn’t, they had his wife and kids under strict surveillance.
He heard the door opening from the other side, 3 guys walked into the room, 2 of them pointing a handgun at him, the last guy stood in the middle, with a cloth and a rope.
He said, “We have your next assignment and it involves you travelling.” He moved a step forward towards Nnamdi.
“I don’t know if this is your last assignment but before we proceed, I will like to say, please don’t try anything funny. We have your family under constant surveillance; we check in every 15 minutes, if they don’t hear from us, your family gets it. So, please for the sake of your family, no James Bond shit, okay? ” he said.
“So, please stand up against the wall” he continued.
Nnamdi obeyed like a soldier would do to a superior officer, they put the hood over his face and handcuffed his hands. They dragged him outside, unzipped his trousers and told him “Pee now, it’s gonna be a long journey.”
He was hurled into a military type vehicle used for conveying criminals, reinforced vehicle, a super black maria. His captors were all dressed as soldiers.
They began their journey to Maiduguri!
The President and the Minister of Defence were in a closed door meeting, deciding on the next step of action with all the terror attacks.
“We need to lock down all these states where the terror acts are rampant, that’s the only way we can be sure of clamping down on all of this, a complete lockdown, curfew everywhere.” The minister said.
“While I agree with your point, I think shutting down 7 states is a bit excessive, we can’t tell people we’re a booming economy with high returns on investments if some part of the country is completely shut down.” The President argued.
“Shutting them down is our best option right now, we need to stop the bombs from going off completely, sir” the Minister said.
“We need the bombs to stop going off but not at the detriments of Nigerians and their lives, isn’t there a more discreet way of doing this?” The President asked.
“Mr. President, we’re doing this discreetly, that’s why we’re doing just 7 states, to fully cut off this cancer, we need to lock down about 12 states, sir…even Lagos” The Minister argued.
“I will never give the approval for that to happen, you can’t lock down the economic capital of Nigeria because of terror, we would rather flood the streets with casually dressed security special forces” The President reacted.
“We don’t have the manpower for that, sir” The minister responded.
“Please, send the relevant documents to back this up to my office, so I can sign it and we can move on.” The President said.
”I want us to try something different but we will have further discussions when I’m done with my next meeting” The President continued.
“Yes sir”. The Minister said.
The intercom buzzed, the president picked up and said “Send him in”.
“That will be all, Mr. Minister” The President said discharging him.
As the minister was about leaving, he saw Babakura walking along slowly, they exchanged pleasantries but he was very skeptical with what business the President had with Babakura, people in the military know of his mis-adventure, could it be that no one has told the president about this. The Minister asked himself one thousand and one questions as he took his exit from Aso Rock.
Babakura’s countenance after seeing his old friend, the new defence minister moved from pleasant to vengeance, the same people who sold him out years earlier and lied that it was the foreigners. As soon as his hands grabbed the door knob, his appearance changed from vengeance to borrowed happiness.
“Good Evening, Mr. President” Babakura said
The President stood up from the chair, stretched forth his hand for a firm handshake with Babakura.
The President moved to the lounge couch in his office, Babakura took his seat opposite the president with the gold trimmed coffee table in between them.
“We will overcome this terrible period, Mr. President.” Babakura said. “It’s moments like this that carves your name into the fabric of our nation, you’re already one of our nations heroes” Babakura kissing the president’s proverbial ass.
“Thank you, Baba. The victory is for all Nigerians everywhere.” The President said.
“So, what’s the update on the dialogue with these people”. The President asked.
“We’re making progress, Mr. President. I have been able to locate some of their leaders and their requests are really absurd, sir.” Babakura said with the countenance revealing sadness.
“What are their conditions, Baba” The President inquired.
“it’s not something we can do, we’re literally giving them more ammunitions to fight us.” Baba hinted.
“I’m losing patience with you, Babakura. Tell me what they want.” The President seemed unpleased with Babakura’s dilly dallying.
“They want us to release Hassan Bakko immediately before proceeding with the rest of their demands” Babakura said
“The rest of their demands?” The President said “There is no way we can release Hassan, no one would support that. He made an attempt on my life openly” The President continued.
“This is why I didn’t want to say it, it’s quite impossible” Babakura said
“He should have been executed, he’s on death row. That’s like giving him a loaded gun and standing in front of him” The President said.
”We can think of something else, the attack in Lagos was very cruel. That can’t be our only option, Mr. President” Babakura said.
“Hassan is a very dangerous man, his release will spell doom for this administration, we don’t even know what he has against us that drives him to this cliff of insanity.” The President asked
“No one knows, sir. It’s quite the transformation, he was never radical, he was a very good young man” Babakura said
“You were his superior officer; you should be able to offer us some insight into this madness?” The President asked.
“Mr. President, that was a long time ago, I wish I could read his criminally insane mind but I can’t” Babakura said
“I will consult with my advisers and see what we can do but they will not like this” The President said.
“No one will like this, but as a messenger, I must deliver the message. We also need to hurry, sir. Who else knows what they have planned” Babakura said.
“Thank you, Babakura, your country owes you a debt of gratitude, maybe an MFR when all this is over.” Mr. President said
“That is too kind of you, Mr. President, my regards to madam and the kids” Babakura said as he took his leave.
Hassan, my boy! Don’t worry, you’re coming home soon, very very soon, we will lead this country into the promised Land. He said to himself as he walked through the properly lit walkway. His phone beeped, a message,
It read ”At Maiduguri, Phase 3 is about to kick off”. He replied ”Please proceed”; he put the phone back into his babariga pocket.
Nnamdi was bundled out of the vehicle, rushed into a room with everything neatly arranged, with weapons and instructions. His mission here was simple, use the sniper rifle to assassinate the Borno state Governor, one of Babakura’s boys that snitched on him, he thought they would kill him but he thought wrong.
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