The Story of Pains – Part 2
…That was not to be. The Chief ignored him. He kept a straight face and maintained that cops have received several crime reports about that uncompleted building. Ozo brought in an attorney to help. The cops rebuffed him. He promised to defend the boys in court if need be. Ozo’s wife pleaded with the Chief to release her sons that they are not robbers. They went there to cool off. But the cop was not moved.
“You can lie on the ground Madam. I’ll not release your boys. We shall soon put them in cell.”
She froze. Then her lips trembled just as the pain on her face suddenly made her look older. The thought of her boys in the dreaded police cell through the night chilled her blood.
“That place is not safe,” she confided in a broken voice to a friend comforting her. “Anything can happen to these boys overnight.”
Few minutes later, the Chief walked to the attorney. “The vigilante boss has to make a statement. One of the boys has to go there with the IPO-Investigating Police Officer.”
Jethro looked unruffled. But he was defiant and resisted the cops. Every attempt to make him go was not successful. He lambasted the Police Chief and threatened to press charges against him for unlawful arrest and detention. ‘I know my rights’ he said repeatedly. Jordan was sober. He was later ferreted out from behind the counter handcuffed, lips swollen, jaws in pains. He did not speak. No one spoke to him either. The sight of his manacled wrists cut his father’s heart. His mother broke down in tears.
“God why me,” she cried.
“Why should it be another person,” Ozo snapped at her, his nerve on edge. Get hold of your self. This is the time to think not lament.” The pain of the family was visible.
Off they went to get the statement. Getting there, Ozo instantly disliked the place. He grimaced as he looked at the rough terrain, bad dirt road, decrepit buildings and filthy environment that dotted the landscape. “What were my sons looking for here,” he wondered.
The vigilante boss confirmed the building is notorious. Hoodlums and bad boys use it as hideout to spring on passersby and local residents. Complaints mounted and the vigilante stepped up surveillance there. Anybody seen at the building is a suspect. His men were instructed to arrest anybody seen there. It’s unfortunate the young students sat there. He intervened when he saw them beating up the boys and directed them to the police station.
He turned to Ozo: “You can see what your boys do in school. They may not be robbers but they smoke marijuana.”
And to Jordan: “Why should you students make your parents pass through such pain. The pain of university teachers strike is more than enough for them to bear in these hard times. Read your books and steer clear of trouble.”
Jordan stood still, subdued and silent. His stooping broad shoulders and bowed head made him look defeated. His thin line of beards and sullen face showed signs of fatigue. Ozo was worried as he observed his boy but did not speak. He watched everybody face expressionless. ‘Do I believe this vigilante boss or my boys?” He wondered. That would wait until my boys tell their story.
Back to the station, the cops discarded every statement made and demanded 30 grand for quick resolution of the case. The quest for the vigilante boss statement was a ploy to waste time and pile pressure on Ozo to pay for freedom.
“Where can I raise this amount of money this night,” he asked no one in particular.
The cops maintained their rigid position. “Bring the money now or meet us in court tomorrow. Innocence of the boys does not arise here. We have the marijuana as evidence.”
A lot of haggling followed to reduce the amount. No deal. It is 30 or nothing, the cops insisted. The Chief, middle aged and slim, dressed in mufti, with tribal marks on his hard face, kept his distance. He left the wheeling and dealing with his IPO. He entered and left his office often and paraded the grounds of the police station apparently to show he is in control.
At times he stood in front of the station’s gate to watch the traffic and discuss with his IPO in low tones. Probably he was getting feedback on negotiation for the money and fine tuning the deal. Late that night, Ozo painfully handed over the money and the police handed over his boys.
It was at home he got to know how the vigilante troop rounded up his boys. Jethro reported that the attackers whispered in local language they have made another big catch as the boys look like children of the rich. To make the offense look real, they brandished the bag of marijuana at the police station as evidence.
“What the hell were you boys looking for in that dingy area?” Ozo asked. “It’s certainly not a place for students like you. Jo Boy, are you guys on drugs?”
“No Dad. We went there to check out a friend. He was not home so we decided to cool off with cold drinks. Those vigilantes are criminals looking fror…for…” the older boy stuttered because of his wounded jaw.
“Innocent boys to rope into trouble to make quick money,” Jethro cut in. We were shocked when they brandished the bag of weed at the police station.” Dad, how can we buy that quantity of stuff? That will cost a fortune.”
“You have a point there son.”
“This is organized racket,” the boy continued. “Pains for victims; gains for oppressors. Our psychological pain was more than the physical. Dad, you shouldn’t have given those cops any money. Bribery must stop. It feeds Corruption.”
“I had no other option Jet. The system is bad. You and Jo Boy just could not pass the night in those terrible cells. They are death chambers.”
“Even at that Dad, we resolved to take the pains and stick it out. We did not commit any offence. We are victims of a racket run by corrupt leaders. Enough is enough. Corruption must die!”
“That’s true son. But the fact remains that truth does not stop pains in this country. I overhead one of the female cops telling your mom you’re a hardened guy.”
“They haven’t seen anything yet,’ said Jethro as his lips twisted in a snarl. “Just wait until hard guys get down on it with bold ideas. We must fight Corruption to standstill. If we fall we rise to fight on. Young David brought down Goliath with improvised weapon and courage. The pains are too much. This must stop!”
“You are determined son. You have used ‘must’ three times. Corruption must hear this.”
“You got it Dad. Determination feeds courage. Even beasts of the jungle run from courage.
“I agree with you Jet but you have to accompany Jo Boy to the clinic now. Tomorrow he will see a dentist. Let this not happen again.”
“That’s the meaning of your name Dad.”
“You are correct son but who will set us free?”
“If elders can’t the young will using our imagination,” Jet answered.
“You bet. You remember the power of Imagination.’
“Yes Dad. You told me if you switch it on you do great things.”
“The young shall grow son.”
“But not in pains Dad.”
(1 June 2016)
Eric Okeke is a CSR specialist and strategist in brand marketing and mobilizing support for corporate and social issues. He is the brand storyteller, writer, speaker, author and media consultant, with training in chemistry, marketing and business journalism. As a business writer and speaker, he has recorded a good career in media consulting and journalism which he started at The Guardian, Lagos.
Eric’s communications niche is storytelling which he is now using to empower professionals and improve business returns in Nigeria. Email him at, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel +234 803 301 4609; +234 817 301 4609.