• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Lemons and lemonade

Abuja police confirm arrest of kidnapping kingpin

Efetobore Williams was my friend back in the day but Mama did not like her one bit. In Mama’s eyes, Efe was trouble, there was nothing good about her. She complained that her spirit and Efe’s spirit did not agree…(whatever that meant). Anyone hearing her would think they were members of rival cults (rolling my eyes).

I liked Efe because she was always lively and had a bubbly personality. She was a happy-go-lucky person. She lived for the present and loved to party hard. Any party without Efe was considered a dry party. She was the life of every gathering.

One day, Efe gave me an invite to attend a party on the outskirt of town. The party would be ‘lit’ because anybody that was somebody was going to be there. I didn’t want to hear stories. I wanted to be there to experience the fun first-hand but Mama would not allow me to go out at night not to talk of attending an all-night party. I was thinking of the lies to cook up when the ‘gods of flexing and groove’ suddenly smiled at me. It happened that the party would hold on the same Friday night that Mama was planning to attend the ‘Night of Power and Miracles’ program at her church camp and she would not return until the evening of the next day. This was the most exciting news ever. I’ll definitely be back before her so I had nothing to worry about.

Just when I thought my plan was watertight, Aunty Evelyn (Mama’s friend turned sister) showed up with her twin boys. She saw Mama preparing for the vigil and decided to go with her but she wasn’t taking the twins. This means I’ll be stuck at home with them.

See, I love these boys to the moon and back but this here wasn’t what I wanted and I was not happy about it. I informed Efe of the slight hitch in my plan and she promised to come up with something.

After Mama and Aunty Evelyn left the house, I put the twins to bed then I called Efe to let her know that the coast was clear. She was in my house at the drop of a hat and she had a syringe that contained a substance which she called ‘sleep aid’. I watched as she dropped the content into the twins’ mouth. She said it was harmless and would only knock them out until I got back. Problem solved. Trust Efe to always come up with genius ideas.

Her friend Kenny came to pick us up then we headed out. I was worried about the time because the venue was quite a distance but Kenny assured me that it was a good time to go to that part of town because there would be less traffic at that time of the night. He was a chill guy and the drive was fun. We were gisting and vibing to the songs from the stereo until the car suddenly jerked to a stop.

“I think we gat a problem”. He announced.

Problem!? Of all places to have a car problem it just had to be on this lonely road! Our only company was the chirping of crickets in the bush. I asked if we could push the car to a safe place but Kenny explained some mechanical jargon that I didn’t understand. Efe and I had to sit in the car while he opened the bonnet to figure out what the problem was. A few minutes later, another car pulled up beside us and I became really scared. They could be armed and dangerous. What if they were robbers, rapists or kidnappers?. It was starting look as if going for this party was a bad idea after all. It was jinxed from the get-go.

Read also: “…And the two shall become One”

It was pitch dark outside but I noticed that the people from the other car had walked up to where Kenny was. They were like silhouettes. They talked in hushed tones and this got Efe and I worried. Being the bold one, she decided to go and find out what was going on.

This was the point where things took a different turn. One minute I was checking the time on my phone, the next minute, three guys hopped into the car. One of them brandished a gun at me and threatened to blow my brains if I didn’t cooperate with them. I didn’t know when I peed in my pants. I saw my life flash before my eyes.

“Oh God! I don’t want to die”, I prayed.

We drove for a long time and even stopped at several Police check points. There I was hoping that the policemen would search the car or at least ask questions but a few casual banters and greasing of palms was all it took for my abductors to have an easy pass.

I was able to put two and two together to figure out from their discussion that there was no party anywhere. The invite from Efe was fake. Kenny’s car situation was a lie. It was a set up, a well thought out plan to sell me off as a sex worker to someone they called Boss Man. This had to be a bad dream. This wasn’t happening to me. I was going to wake up in the morning and find myself in my room.

One of my abductors tried to have his way with me but I struggled with him. He slapped and punched me all over my body and called me a whore. I begged him and told him that I was a virgin. There was silence in the car and he stopped hitting me. It’s been a long time they got a virgin for Boss Man. This meant more money for them. They were excited. A piece of cloth was placed over my nose and that was the last thing I remembered before I went blank.

I woke up with a banging headache in a small dingy room surrounded by girls of different shapes and sizes. I tried to figure out where I was, then it slowly came back to me. I remembered the night before. So it wasn’t a dream after all? So this was real? I began to scream for help. Some of the girls looked at me with pity while others smirked and shouted at me to be quiet. I cried and screamed until my tear duct was empty and I lost my voice. I couldn’t believe Efe could do this to me. Mama was right about her all along. I looked around for my phone but I couldn’t find it. I had no idea what time it was or where I was. I thought about my mother and it broke my heart to imagine what she would do when she found out that her only child was missing. This will kill her.

I was ordered to clean up and get ready to meet Boss Man. He had special interest in me because of my virginity. I had my bath but I couldn’t eat anything. I felt like a lamb being taken to the slaughter to meet its doom.

A big wooden door creaked open and I was ushered into an office. Boss Man was sitting behind a large table, his head bent over a newspaper and a cigar in his mouth. He was in that position for what seemed like a life time.

When he raised his head to look at me, his cigar fell out. He looked at me as if he had seen a ghost. He walked round the table to where I was, touched the birthmark on my forehead and asked for my name. His hand cold and shaking on my shoulder. Well, I couldn’t really tell which of us was shaking.

“J Ja Janet.. my name is Janet” I managed to respond. I didn’t even recognize my voice.

He paused for a few seconds then asked, Is your mother’s name Tarulla?. My eyes widened in shock..

“Y Yes sir”.. I stammered

Boss Man screamed.

“Tell me Janet, what is your surname”.. Boss Man asked again, this time he was really shaking.

“Na Nanpong ..my name is Janet Nanpong”.

His demeanor changed. He was growling. Tears poured from his eyes as he dismissed his thugs that were looking at us with confusion written all over their faces.

He held me in his arms and cried even harder. What could possibly make a man like Boss Man cry? I was so confused. I didn’t know whether to be scared or relieved.

When he was able to pull himself together, Boss Man reached for his wallet and brought out an old photo.

I recognized Mama in the picture, she was carrying a baby while a young looking Boss Man was standing beside her carrying another baby. They both looked happy.

“Janet you’re my daughter” Boss Man said as he held me to his chest.

Mama hardly talks about my father. She once told me that my father and my twin sister were killed by bandits. That’s all I know..

Boss Man interrupted my thoughts…

“When the bandits came to our community that fateful night, they burnt down a lot of houses including ours. Your mother and I ran for our lives, she carried you while I ran in another direction with your twin sister. We never saw each other again. I searched for the two of you for many years and I gave up hope of ever seeing you again. I fled to this country with your sister and we’ve been living here ever since”

Can someone pour cold water on me? How can this Boss Man of a person be my father? Why was he doing this type of dirty business?

As if he could read my mind.. he said,

‘I know what you’re thinking Janet. You’re wondering why I’m doing this kind of business. It’s a dog eat dog world my dear. One has to do anything to survive and this is the path I’ve chosen. You can call me names but I don’t care. In the meantime, I have to take you home, there’s someone you have to meet”.

When I saw my twin sister Juliet, I thought I was looking at myself in the mirror. We are so identical, I couldn’t believe it. No wonder Boss Man could tell who I was.

We hugged each other, we laughed, we cried. It was such a beautiful feeling. I loved her instantly. We talked for hours.. there was a lot of catching up to do. It was so surreal how we both had the same mannerisms and even finished each other’s sentences. Boss Man was in awe.

I could tell that Juliet had no idea what kind of business Boss Man did because he made me promise not to say anything about it to her.

For now, all we had to do was live in the moment and be grateful for this reunion. Other things will be sorted out later.

My phone was given to me and I had to call Mama. She was jumping and screaming when she heard my voice. I asked about the twins and she said they were in the hospital as a result of drug overdose, something she was waiting for me to explain later. Thankfully they were going to be alright. I told her that I was coming home and I had a lot of surprise for her.

Right now we’re on our way to see Mama and she has no idea what is about to hit her. How do I explain to her how I met Boss Man and my sister?

Will Aunty Evelyn ever forgive me for putting her boys in harm’s way?

What’s going to happen to Efe and Kenny? They meant evil for me but their evil scheme has helped reunite my family. They gave me lemons but fate handed me lemonade.

There’s a lot going on in my head now and I don’t know what I’m going to do. Well, like Boss Man said, now is the time to be happy, other things will be sorted out later.