Click Here To Read The Previous Chapter; Old Soldier: Chapter One
The air was intermittently pierced by the sound of a car horn on a passing commercial bike; popularly referred to as Okada. All the houses in the area were coated in dust, a testament of the un-tarred road networks in the local district, deep into the heart of Abuja. Kunu was not home to the city’s elite but you would find a recent model car in the area, once in a while. The rents weren’t as exorbitant as those in more developed areas of Abuja, so there were all kinds of people living therein; either to save money or stay lowkey.
There were many areas like this in Abuja but Kunu was the only one that hadn’t become completely over populated or over lived.
In one of the many low rent one room apartments, Martins lay sleeping, beside a naked buxom lady, after pulling an all nighter, they were both spent. She slept peacefully, even as his phone rang a second time, he answered it and went into the toilet for some privacy.
“Baba how far?” He asked his voice still thick with sleep.
“I dey,” the other voice on the phone said, “E be like you still dey crash (sleep)?”
“Omo ehn, how far we don set?” He asked, now fully awake.
“Yes, we just dey wait make we get go ahead.”
“Okay na, the boys them know wetin dey sup abi?” Martins asked concerned etched on his forehead.
“Haba baba, you suppose know, men body dey hot now!” He chuckled.
“We still go run the other matter abi?” Martins asked.
“Sure, I don fuel up, I go come pick you up as soon as e knack 7. Martino that babe wey you pick still pack your side?” Kunle asked, his voice switching to a more playful tone.
Martins laughed and replied, 2We wan kill ourselves, na like 3am we sleep last night. The babe sabi die!!” He started to feel his member stir. “Oh boy e be like Johnny wan still chop, I go hail you later, make I go find am food.”
“You ma self, no kill yourself oh.” and with that he hung up.
Martins stood at the door looking at the masterpiece sprawled out on the mattress in the corner of the room, he could not remember her name not that he needed to, he jumped into bed beside her, cupped a feel of her body and whispered sweet nothings into her ear. She stirred, cuddled close to him and surrendered her body to him.
Kunle was grateful to Martins for letting him bed into Abuja, he had come into Abuja from Lagos in search of a greener pasture but was hit by the harsh truth newcomers to the country’s capital were always confronted by; Abuja looked glamorous only from the outside, people actually had to grind to survive. He learnt early that some of the people who drove those big cars were just as hungry as he, having spent all their cash just to keep up appearance.
Appearance was the biggest currency in Abuja, it wasn’t money but appearance and connections. The way a person talked and dressed could help him land a big contract or get a great job or land him a connection with some of the bigwigs in town.
Kunle was a smooth talker but the meager salary he got from his first job in Abuja was barely enough to keep the roof over his head and food on his table, so dressing to impress was not in his book. Then one fateful day, while he had gone to a club in the upside of town as a colleague at work had suggested to hobnob, he saw a group of guys sitting in the VIP section, bottles of assorted drinks crowded the table, girls in skimpy dresses running about the place, laughing and chatting at the top of their voices. They were having a mini party of their own.
Kunle snuck into the section and perched on the edge of one of the only free seats available. He had not being seated more than a couple of seconds, when one of the girls came to sit on his laps, grinding against him. She probably thought he was one of the guys, he didn’t move to correct her.
He noticed that the drinks on the table were running low and asked the waiter to bring two more bottles of JD, to the delight of the others.
It was when the drinks came that Martins came over to him.
“Chairman, what’s up?2 Martins asked coolly, his expensive perfume wafted through the air.
“I am good, what’s happening?” Kunle asked, playing it cool.
“How come I do not know you, are you one of Charles’ friends?” Martins asked pointing to a horde of guys cluster at the corner of the cordoned off area.
Deciding it was best to say the truth, he replied. “Actually, I know no one here, just liked the feel of your group and decided to join in.”
That surprised Martins. “Wow, do you just buy drinks for random people, you don’t know?”
“Only those who tickle my fancy.”
They became fast friends soon after that and was introduced into Martins inner circle of Yahoo boys, thieves and ATM rustlers.
Kunle had always being good with computers and soon quit his job to join the crew. They would sometimes work for days cooped up in a room, sometimes they were just four of them, at other times there were more. Their targets were mostly lonely well to do women or greedy investors and Kunle was always on hand to provide cover stories for every identity they wanted to adopt for a job and he was pretty good at it.
But soon, the EFCC got on their tail after pressure from the external community to clamp down on Internet scams. One by one, Internet fraudsters were nabbed and paraded before the media. The went offline, threw away their old unregistered SIMs and dispersed into the wind.
Months after, his pocket and account had become drained and Kunle was beginning to wonder what his next step would be, when out of the blues Martins called him that there was a new hustle and he was the only one to be trusted for such job. It turned out to be a smash and grab job, which made Kunle sceptical at first. Working from behind a laptop gave him some sense of anonymity but this was totally different and very risky. He cringed at the thought of being lynched by an angry mob but Martins persuaded him and tried to allay his fears by assuring him that Abuja residents were more civil than those in Lagos, they will never lynch anybody. “Abuja is filled with big boys and girls, who has the time to lynch a common thief?” His exact words.
They usually picked cars parked in rowdy areas with little or no security, Kunle stayed in the getaway car, while Martins stood watch, often by pretending to smoke or relieving himself, whilst another associate; usually John, broke into the car using either a hammer or a master key; depending on where the loot was. You wouldn’t believe items left lying carelessly in their cars. They had found laptops, wads of cash, expensive phones, international passports, jewelries and ATM cards.
Their income after they fenced their loots blew his mind away, to keep from getting caught, they never used the same getaway car in the same district twice and always switched number plates but their best disguise was the way they dressed; no one in their right minds would ever think them as anything other than successful working class young men in their suits and tie.
Tonight was a Friday and they had picked Picasso’s, a night club that was always packed at the weekend and there was bound to be cars filled with loots waiting to be broken into and they were only too busy to oblige.
This was a prelude to another big heist that Martins had been cooking and he promised it would fetch them so much more money than any of their previous exploits.
The economy was bad and the price for everything had skyrocketed and crime with it. So it was no surprise the amount of paper work waiting for him to sign off on. He let out a sigh of relief as he put his signature to the last of the files. Burglaries, rape, carjacking, armed robbery cases all lay in front of him, it seemed like someone had just blown a whistle and every miscreant in the state had come running with their own brand of mischief.
DPO Usman could not remember the last time his division had been busy and it worried him, he had, had a conversation with other divisional heads and they too were facing the same dilemma. He blamed it on the influx of immigrants to the state capital, many came here with nothing but a desire to be rich and when that did not pan out, they went into criminal activities. At the last meeting of the divisional heads, they had reached the unanimous decision to ransack makeshift settlements that were known homes to criminals just to unsettle them and maybe reduce crime rate in the communities. That seemed to reduce the crime rate but only for a while, they had to find a lasting solution.
He heard some raucous somewhere and in the building and went to check it out. He walked into the station’s lobby and found about five women, in dresses barely covering their bodies, handcuffed to each other and screaming at the arresting officer at the top of their voices.
“What is going on here?!” The DPO asked in a cool but firm voice that stopped everyone in the room on their tracks.
“Sorry, we just arrested these women along zone 3 junction.” The man who had Linus written on his name tags replied.
“And is that why you are shouting?!” He asked, directing his question to the women.
“Oga we no do anything!” One of the ladies grumbled.
“Mmm, What are you doing outside at this time of the day?”
“We dey go house, we just went clubbing and was heading home before your boys picked us up.”
Usman knew they were lying, they were prostitutes headed to work, he knew that by one look at them. These women were a menace, stealing valuables from their clients, sometimes drugging them whilst they ransacked their rooms. There had been more than a dozen reports of prostitutes fleecing their customers and it had warranted a clamp down on prostitution in the state.
“Linus book them and lock them up behind the counter. When it is 5 am let them go.” His statement was followed by protests from the women. “If I hear another word from you, I will have you locked up in a cell till next week. Useless girls, na una dey spoil this Abuja with una nyama-nyama. Linus anyone of them who makes any noise again, throw her in with those men, that will teach them a lesson.” With that he walked away from the scene, surprised how well his threat worked, he could still hear their grumbling but he had made his point and was sure it had hit home. He opened his door and disappeared behind it.
“Oya make una go siddon behind counter make I go bring book wey I go use collect una statement.” Linus said directing the girls towards a seat.
“Oga abeg, allow us go now, abeg!!!” One of the girls pleaded.
“Abeg oga, I go let you do free.” She whispered with a wink.
Linus chuckled and continued to usher them toward the counter.
“Oga, abeg na market you wan spoil so, we need this money oh, na only this way we get to survive for this country.” Another continued to plead.
Linus pretended not to hear any of them. He shut the small door to the counter and headed towards an inner room to retrieve the statement book.
These girls were beautiful and educated, he often wonder why they would choose selling their bodies for money, than work hard for a living. Kids these days wanted money fast but few were willing to put in the work to make their dreams come true.
The thought of young beautiful girls, selling their bodies for money made him think of his little girl and felt a shiver run down his spine at the thought of her ever resorting to prostitution to get by.
To be Continued…