Ugo re-arranged in his seat, his coach on the train seemed to finally have some peace after the warring parties had been dispatched off. The Reverend beside him had gone back to his seat.
Ugo tried to close his eyes to take a quick nap, he closed his legs unto the bag in between them. He began to think about how he would dispose of the money.
Does he go and give the family of his friends some of the money?
How does he explain where the money is coming from?
Which business will he tell them they did, to come about $10,000 each from him to their families.
He sat eye open staring blank into the roof of the train, sleep has eluded him ever since. Soon enough, after a couple of hours, he got ready to exit the train at his station, his stop was a few miles ahead.
He stood up, adjusted his belt, and trousers now, bent down to pick up the Bagco bag, the bag felt way lighter than what he had been carrying since.
Then he knew something was definitely up, could it be that he got stronger while sitting on the train, or he was just giving it more thought than it required. Either way, he knew this wasn’t ordinary. Something nudged him to check discreetly right there on the train.
His hands dug down into the bags, pushing aside the banana, brushing off lightly a T-shirt underneath the banana. What his fingers touched was nylon not cold hard cash as it should be.
His heart skipped several beats, he dug his fingers deeper into the nylon bag like it’s some mistake that his hands will rub against something like money stashed there.
He wasn’t that lucky as his hand rushed into the grain, tiny grains. His fingers were deep inside garri.
Obara Jesus! Gbese!
What type of magic is this, that hard currency becomes garri. He brought out his hands, up to his face, the tiny grains of garri stuck on his fingers.
He screamed Haaaaa!!!!!
His noise made him the focus of attention on the coach of the train, people asking him what the problem was, he remained mute. He thought he was home free, and safe.
He planned to escape to Ogun state, had a few days to gather his thoughts before escaping with the money elsewhere but now, all he has is garri, and the white shirt, banana, and what must be around N20,000 or thereabout.
A part of him wanted to mourn the fortune he just lost, another part of him wanted him to trace his steps and find out where the money went. He went with the other part of his mind.
He thought far and wide about what could have happened, then he remembered, the fight that happened earlier on, also there was someone else on the train that had the same bag as him.
How possible is it that they swapped bags, the bags were identical. The possibility is there. Those boys got off the train a while ago, finding them right now will be the most important task in the life of Ugo.
He is the sole survivor of the last heist, he may be the one to go empty-handed. Not possible.
The train honked, Ugo knew the train was about to stop, his mission right now is to head back into Ebute Metta to find the boys fighting on the train. He heard some names also Jude or Jide or is it Jude and Joseph. If he can find any of those boys, he will find his money.
The next train stop was Agbado, he abandoned the garri and the banana inside the train station, took the shirt, threw it over his shoulder and left.
Pained to his bone marrow, he looked out for the nearest hotel as well as a beer parlor.
Tonight, he drowns his sorrow in alcohol, but first thing tomorrow morning, he leaves for Ebute Metta/Iddo to find his fortune, he is going to find that money even if it kills him.
As the security guys returned to the office as their attempt to follow Ugo failed, and it failed spectacularly because they were called back to the office in what seemed like a strange move because they were sure they could get the guy.
Getting back to the office, the head of Security Usman began to question Alhaji.
“Alhaji, we for don catch that last thief” Usman responded still angry that Alhaji gave the last order that he gave.
“No worry, Usman. I’m the one that called you back abi” Alhaji said to him.
Alhaji is a very educated man who has several businesses in Apapa that includes Haulage, cement distribution, and Bureau De Change.
A Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Bayero University, Kano, and Master in Business Administration from the University of Benin.
“Yes sir” Usman responded.
“Inspector Beni is coming here as we speak. She will take over the investigation, she has her security firm, and leg everywhere, so she will lead the investigation.
You just relax, all my money will come back to me. I promise you that one” Alhaji explained.
The security guys knew Inspector Beni very well. A talented, and smart investigator, she had spent several years in the Police, working with different task forces, in banking, fintech, maritime, transportation, and several other departments.
She has contacts everywhere up to her neck including the Central Bank, and the several top banks. A master of strategy and deception.
Inspector Beni is a 6.1’ lady with an athletic build, finished first of her class in the NDA, also studying at the United States Army War College attended by several US and Nigerian Presidents as well as Mohammadu Buhari, not forgetting several courses and conferences at Westpoint.
To top it off, she has a Masters’ degree in Psychology.
For someone as smart as she is, she is unassuming, and uber friendly, which is all in an attempt to lure you into her den and make you susceptible to her charms, but is undeniable with her supermodel physique.
After she got fed up with bouncing from one task force to another, she left the government to set up her agency to help people like Alhaji Datti with security and consult on other matters as well.
After a couple of minutes, Inspector Beni arrived at Alhaji’s office.
He dropped the gauntlet and promised to give her all the support she needs. If she can wrap it up all in less than a month, he will pay her a separate bonus of $20,000 asides from the commissioning fee of $7,500 which he paid her instantly.
Alhaji also dedicated four of his trained security guards to help her with whatever she needs. She cleared her throat, before speaking she knew she was taking the job even before she arrived at the office.
“Alhaji, we have to be deliberate in everything that we do. We have to think about the last surviving member who might have enough intelligence to evade us.
First, do you guys have the dollars cataloged, the serial numbers documented somewhere in case of incidences like this?” She asked
“Absolutely” He responded.
“I have even sent to our Association chairman, we’ve circulated it amongst our members, anyone who sees any serial number amongst our network” He continued
“That is very helpful, Alhaji,” She said.
“I need to speak with the security guys that went after him when he left,” She said
“Absolutely.” He said
“Usman!” Alhaji called out.
“Alhaji!” Usman replied.
“You will be working with the Inspector here on this case, we have a mole amongst us. There is no way they could have known that we would have such amount of hard currency at hand on a day like this.”
Alhaji guided both Usman and the Inspector into the room that will serve as their operation base as they chase out to unmask whoever escaped with the fortune.
After the introduction, and initial instructions, Alhaji left the office and headed towards his latest girlfriend’s house in Lekki Phase 1.
“Usman” Inspector started. “Please gather everyone on this team”
“We have to start this immediately, but before we begin, I’ll like to meet everyone on the team, so we can address everyone and get this show on the road.” the Inspector explained.
Usman left the room and came back a few minutes later with four more guys that have been assigned to the team to work with.
They all took their seats around the conference room with the Inspector at the end of the table.
Usman introduced them all to the detectives. Usman himself being the head of security, Shehu, the deputy of security, Abu and Ahmad, security officers.
“I’m Inspector Beni, and I’m sure you’ve all seen my face here a few times, I’m here to assist with the recovery of the stolen money yesterday but before we get into it. I need to say something very quickly.”
“You’ve all been loyal to Alhaji, and he holds you in high esteem, so I will be looking forward to working with you in all sincerity but I have to tell you. There is something suspicious about this robbery.
Someone on the inside must have leaked this information to this gang. For a thief, the best option will be to be far away from this place as much as possible.
The express out of Apapa certainly leads to plenty of places, and he could have headed to any of those destinations, from Ebute Metta to Lekki or Ajah, or even Ogun state, even Ekiti or Kogi.
If I’m the criminal, I would want to be as far away as possible
I will need your cooperation on this, and I hope that I can count on you all” She continued.
“The first thing we need to do here is trace the steps, what happened immediately after the last thief left,” Inspector said
“We went in pursuit of the last thief but we were called back, he escaped off on a stolen bike. That was what happened last night”. Usman said
So, right now, we don’t have any other information on these guys yet
Abu cut in, excuse me, but just before we came here, we got more information. I just finished a phone call from a friend here in Apapa.
The motor bike the thief escaped on has been located in Ebute Metta, Iddo side.
“Please elaborate,” Inspector said.
The owner of the bike stolen received a call from his friend this morning, asking him why he was in Ebute Metta, and not calling him up to tell him.
“The owner denied the allegation, told him that his bike was stolen, then called me to tell me that it looks like the thief abandoned the bike in Ebute Metta,” Abu concluded.
“Guess me, Abu and Shehu are heading towards Ebute Metta to meet with the guy that found the bike, maybe he has more information to give us.” She began
“Ahmad and Usman will stay back to coordinate other aspects of this. You will be our team B to help us track other things.”
Inspector Beni, Abu, and Shehu got into the 2014 Ford Explorer and drove to Ebute Metta to catch the thief.
Ugo took off first thing in the morning back to where he feels he can get answers to his question, Ebute Metta, Yaba.
His first port of call was the train station where he was “robbed”. He arrived at the train station somewhere behind the Denton Police Station, managed to find his way for the second time, to what seems like a deserted train station, looking to find someone, anyone.
The only thing he could find were people who seem to be loitering at the place. He approached one of them,
Bros, good morning o, Ugo said
“How far?” He replied
“I dey jare, I dey find person, dem tell me say na here he dey work, so I come hia” Ugo lied
“Na him you come find am for early momo laidis?” The guy checks his time and laughs in Ugo’s face.
“Say wetin happen na! Wetin the person be like sef, make I know first” He asked Ugo
“Na old man like this, him no too tall laidat but him no short, he get body small, and na skin he barb” Ugo described the man that sold him the ticket.
“Oh Baba NRC, na Baba NRC be that na. People wey don dey work here tey-tey. Na afternoon abi na evening, him dey always show”
Ehen, Ugo exclaimed
“Yes o, you gats come back be that, no be small thing, Baba don old na.” He replied.
“Jesus, I be think say I fit see am this morning,” Ugo said, feeling sad that his first lead was shattered.
“For where” He laughed
Ugo felt a sense of defeat hearing that he had to wait for another six to eight hours for Baba to come to work, what if he doesn’t show up today? He felt powerless but decided to ask the guy about the fight on the train last night.
“Guy, you hear about the fight last night wey dem boys dey fight?” Ugo asked.
“Na yesterday night my guy call me to gist me o. Na woman cause the fight o, no be something, na generators boys versus the mechanic boys. Na Rita cause the fight o”
“But Bros, if you see Rita nyansh ehn, you sef go understand” He continued
“Ehen?” Ugo pushed the guy on.
“Yes o. Oga forget matter o.” The guy said
“I follow dey inside the place wey he happen, one of the boys phone bin fall inside my bag as dem dey fight. Na this morning as I dey come, I say make I return am to am. My own Oga shop dey that Glover street area.” Ugo lied
“You be nice man o, how many people dey return person phone laidat, you for sell am na, I know person wey fit buy am from you o. you go change your mind?” The guy said.
“I no be person like that jare, my chairman. Make I return am. You know the boys wey dey there that day.” The guy continued
“Ehen, I for like return am, the thing don dey mind to return last night. I say make I come find the person before my own Oga sef go show shop.” Ugo said.
“I no no them but my friend, Chibuzor go know them.” He said
“So, where I fit find Chibuzor now now,” Ugo said
“E go dey that Evans’ Square area, e get where dem dey sell food around that area wey dey front of mosque, na that mosque dey opposite Evans’ Square fence. When you reach, just ask for Cheez. Tell am from Chibuzor” He said, Ugo had a sheepish smile as he left to go find Evans square food seller in front of the mosque.
Ugo navigated his way through Ebute Metta on foot while asking bystanders about Evans’ square. He entered through the street with the gate but didn’t find any mosque before he was directed to the other side of the mosque.
The portion of the road began with a make-shift car wash where taxi cabs were being washed by a shirtless ripped man, who looks in his early 30s’, looking to the other side of the road, he saw a handful of bread sellers, who are busy arranging their items properly, to the right sides are the food sellers that sell more than bread, the beans sellers, and then the mosque where people seem to hang out just in front of.
Leaving the bread and beans sellers, he saw a Maishai whose place is slightly elevated because it’s on top of the drainage on top of a big slab of concrete. He saw a certain boisterous guy speaking loudly while arguing with other people, having tea, bread, and fried egg.
He was making jokes about his sexual prowess, beating his chest, while jesting with the bread sellers around.
“Na me o, Cheez. You no fit see draw. I dey do am from morning to night, and night to morning, You never jam person like me” Cheez boasted.
The busty bread seller replied, “Na you go tire.”
Ugo realizing that the person speaking is Cheez that Chibuzor sent him to, he formed familiar immediately.
“Sister. Cheez na strong man o. Na you go tire. I fit bet am” Ugo said laughing as he butted into their conversation
“Bros, tell am o” Cheez smiled while shaking Ugo’s hand.
They all had a few more laughs.
“Cheez, you no remember me? Na me Frank, you don forget. Frank, Chibuzor friend” He lied through his nose.
“Chairman, how far na? No vex. E get as e be jare.” Cheez replied.
“You go chop?” Cheez tried to offer him some food.
“My Oga go soon show for shop. Na Chibuzor dey tell me say you know the boys wey dey fight for train yesterday o” Ugo went straight to the point.
“Omo, no be small thing. No be first time wey Rita go cause wahala for Ebute Metta be this. Bros, na when you see am, you sef go understand wetin we dey talk” Cheez replied.
“I don hear am tire o,” Ugo said.
“I dey find dem boys, dem generator boys. You know where I fit find them?” Ugo asked.
“Bros, the fight never end o, dem mechanic boys dey try organize to go continue fight for generator people side today o” Cheez confessed
“Oh—-boy eh!” Ugo said.
“Abeg, wetin be the boys dem name, make I go give am hin thing” Ugo continued
“Wetin be that” Cheez asked
“One of dem phone drop for my bag, I wan give am back,” Ugo said
“Mr. Nice man, Nigeria need plenty people like you o,” Cheez said.
“Nah dem Ifeanyi shop. Na him get sense pass for that crew” Cheez said
“Dem shop dey around that Lagos street, when you reach there, ask for Papa Ebuka shop, the man popular well well. You go find am there” Cheez said
“Cheez, na you be the man biko” Ugo greeted him, and then left. He felt better than he did last night, with this clue, he is closer to one of those boys especially the one with the same type of bag as his.
It’s getting closer, he took a deep breath, stopped a bike and told him, “Lagos street”
Ifeanyi’s day had just begun, ideally, he was supposed to leave the house before his uncle but his uncle had an early morning appointment with one of his corporate customers, so he had to leave the house extra early that morning.
He gave instructions to Ifeanyi to leave for the shop before 7 am, as he left around 5.30 am.
As much as possible, Ifeanyi formed activity, doing all his morning chores, and keeping up regular appearances at home, despite being the owner of an obscene amount of money that he had hidden somewhere safe inside the house.
He fetched the water, washed the dishes, cleaned up everyone’s rooms, and just as he was concluding that, his Uncle’s wife and kids left the house. She went to drop them off at school before heading for her work.
At a crossroad, Ifeanyi didn’t know what to do with himself, and the money.
Should he just go about his life normally, have his bath, and head to Ebute Metta like everything is alright?
Should he escape, take the money and run away as far as possible?
If he wants to run, where does he run to? To the village?
What explanation will he give his mother for running away, how will the money factor into all of this?
More importantly, someone has got to be missing this money, will they just forget about it? Won’t they try to find the money? Can he just escape into bliss with the money?
Maybe get his girlfriend, and then go somewhere both of them can live in absolute comfort and that’s the end of it.
Too many questions, not even one answer. He thought about it long and hard, then settled for leaving, eloping with the cash, seemed like a good idea.
He was about 100 percent sure that someone would come looking for the money, because of this he came up with a simple plan.
He just has to be in a place nobody will expect him to be.
As soon as he made the decision, he had his bath, arranged his luggage into two bags, money safely hidden in the bags, he carried them to the bus stop, and hailed a cab from the bus stop, and left.
He came into the house as the son of a poor village woman but right now, he would be the richest person in their street, maybe their local government if you don’t count the thieving politicians.
Inspector Beni and her team had just arrived at the Iddo area, proceeded on foot to meet with the guy who found the bike. Abu quickly found their source, Musa and he began to narrate how he found the bike.
“Na when I dey come back from mosque, na him I say Danladi Okada for that place” Musa points at the direction. Just a place where night traders stay to trade their wares.
Musa seemed in a hurry, after answering just one question, he seemed to be in a quick hurry to dash and run away.
“Wetin dey happen? Where you dey rush go” Inspector Beni asked him.
“Na Mechanic and generator people dey fight, Yoruba people wan fight Igbo people,” Musa said.
Everyone looked at themselves, and wondered if another ethnic clash was about to begin, the Inspector added
“Ahan, wetin happen”
“Na woman matter, the fight start yesterday inside train. Na today, Igbo people wan do dem own” Musa explained.
From a distance, they saw what looked like a mob of angry young men storming the streets.
“Where dem dey go” Inspector Beni asked.
“Lagos street” Musa answered, and left immediately, riding his bike, giggling like a little child. He was set to watch the showdown between Igbos and Yorubas that was about to go down in Ebute Metta.
Inspector Beni took a wild decision, and followed in the direction of the mob, either for amusement or investigative work. They joined the mob at the back.
The mob proceeded to Lagos street, at Ifeanyi’s Uncle’s shop where they were sure they would be able to locate the irascible Jude who started all this wahala. By the time they had arrived at the Ifeanyi’s shop, the uncle was just opening up shop, and setting up.
Furious that Ifeanyi hadn’t gotten here as expected.
The mob was already getting riled up but Papa Ebuka is a popular man, with a lot of charisma, as soon as he saw some of the faces of the people he had sold generators to, he called out their names and started making jokes with them.
Dousing the situation before it escalated, they had conversations, and they explained how Ifeanyi and his friends were sorry about the case. He even lied that he was the one that asked him to stay at home for the day so that peace can reign.
The angry mob’s anger had dissipated when he asked the lady selling drinks beside his shop to give everyone a cold drink to relieve them of the early morning Ebute Metta sun.
Arriving at the venue of the mob action, Ugo looked around, to try and find any of the boys there but he couldn’t. The only visible figure from all of that is Ifeanyi’s uncle, Papa Ebuka. He looked at everyone closely to see if any face rings a bell. Looking from left to right, he didn’t see any asides from one.
The one that made it all happen, the brain behind the operation, the guy was two other people, one lady, and another guy, he then began to pay more attention to them.
Watching them closely, he knew one thing was certain after seeing those three people together, the owners of the money are not giving up on the money.
They’re seriously looking for the money like him. The stakes just got extremely high. The only person not present here right now, is the person in possession of the money.
The Bureau De Change people are here, Ugo, the last surviving member who should be the owner of the money is here. The missing link here is the boy who mistakenly picked the money.
As he watched the event unfold, he saw the lady with them go aside to pick a call, and as soon as the call ended, the lady and the men raced to their car and sped off. Ugo followed them from behind, staying far enough for them not to notice but also close enough to be able to track them.
Just then his phone started to ring, he brought out the phone and couldn’t identify the number, TrueCaller had nothing on the caller. Ugo picked, and he heard just a single sentence before the line went dead.
“Check your message,” The voice said.
“Where do we meet, so I can get my share” The first message read.
“I don’t have the money, Oga” Ugo replied
“What do you mean you don’t have the money, I saw you escape with the money yesterday”
“Yes, I escaped with it but the bag got switched”
“You’re joking abi”
“No, I’m not. I’m in Ebute Metta right now, trying to find the boy that stole the bag”
“Find the boy! And get my share to me” The message read
“I’m trying to find him” Ugo replied
“We’ve just received word now that some of the dollars that we flagged have just been received at Eko hotel. Go there now.”
“Thank you for the heads up,” Ugo said
No wonder they ran out as soon as possible, they’re heading to the Island to trap the guy.
The destination is Victoria Island, Ugo knew he had to get to the money before they could, so he looked for a bike man, and offered him N5,000 to drive him the rest of the day.
They both sped along to the island. There is no way Alhaji’s people will get to the money before him, it cannot be allowed to happen. The death of all his friends would have been in vain. NEVER!
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