‘I want you to work for me.’ The man said without preamble as Tunde settled into his seat.
Tunde regarded the man for a while before responding. He broke into a soft laugh and commented on the man’s audacious proposal. ‘I have a crew I work with. I’m not looking for a job.’ He rose, straightened his shirt and offered his hand to the man. ‘Good day.’
The smile on the man’s face was congenial. ‘You do not expect I’ll let you leave like that do you?’
Tunde frowned and shrugged. ‘I’ve learnt not to expect anything. That way, whatever comes my way is a present. Good or bad.’ He turned to leave.
‘Wait a while; let me interest you a little with my offer. You have yet to hear it.’
Tunde waved his hand as he continued to the door. ‘I know I don’t work for anybody.’ He was almost at the door.
‘One million Naira. Heck, I’ll double it. Two million Naira monthly working for me.’
Tunde stopped. No Nigerian in his right senses would hear that figure and walk away without a thought. He turned around and gestured, ‘continue.’
The smile returned to the man’s face. He raised his left hand, and indicated with two fingers that Tunde should come back and sit.
Tunde shrugged and reluctantly went to sit before the man. All the while, he was thinking of how to get paid just once. That figure was more than his annual salary and all he would have to do was look tough. Damn he thought, crime pays.
He got to the chair and sat down. The man also sat, ‘first off,’ he rattled, I’m Chief Alex Badru.’
Tunde nodded, finally, the man had introduced himself. He had pretended he did not know the Chief’s name. ‘Okay. So what do I have to do?’
‘That is the kind of spirit I like,’ Chief Badru slapped the table. He indicated that Tunde lean forward over the table, and he did same. He whispered a few words after Tunde leaned forward, and the agent’s his dilated in disbelief. The chief was grinning from ear to ear, he had landed another officer.
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria walked into the conference room. President Osita Anozie was a sturdy man. He stood at five foot eight inches, had a steadily growing stomach yet always walked like a man on a mission. He had served with the Nigerian Army getting to the rank of Brigadier General before retiring from the army.
He sat down amongst his security chiefs and observed the ten men who had gotten into the room before him. ‘The damned country’s going up in flames and you all have been unable to quench it.’
The men murmured none speaking up. They knew that the President used colourful language when he was agitated about a thing. He would then calm down and listen to reason.
The president turned to the Inspector General of Police, ‘Audu, people are dropping dead in the streets like leaves, do we have any suspects yet?’
The IGP shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He had prioritised the spate of killings in the country, but not one of his men had caught a whiff, let alone has a strong lead the police could investigate. He was not about to tell the chief security officer of the federation that he was failing in his task so he simply said; ‘we’re working on it, we have identified a few leads we are looking at now.’
‘Bullshit. Crap.’ The president was in a fit. ‘Someone’s systematically taking out federal agents. In a time of peace, someone has declared war on the country and you all sleep well at night?’ His gaze fell on Colonel Bala the director of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency.
The man shrugged, looked away, and refused to lock gazes with the president. Bad enough, he was losing agents by the second; even secretaries and office assistants of the NIA no longer were safe. The killers had it in for his organisation and wanted to wipe them out completely.
‘Mr President Sir, I have asked and will ask again, let the military come into this matter. Let us do what we know to do. Our soldiers are well trained and spoiling for a little action.’ It was General Musa who spoke.
President Osita regarded the General, too many times; he had sanctioned the death of his men by approving wrong postings and ill thought out strategies. The President always wondered how he had risen to the pinnacle of army ranking.
‘In case you hadn’t noticed, all staffs of NIA are under attack. And their field agents have better training than your boys; still they’re winding up dead. How do you think your men in their conspicuous uniforms will stand a chance against an enemy that’s precise?’
The General bowed his head. He had been thoroughly scolded.
‘Moving forward,’ the President continued. ‘How do we battle this enemy? Because, I no longer feel safe amongst the secret service agents guarding me, and that says a lot.’
‘Mr President I can assure you we’re on top of the matter. We are working on cracking the case all over the country…’ The IGP launched into a tirade.
‘Find me the killers, not dead bodies.’ The president’s face was stern.
Colonel Bala spoke then. ‘Though it appears like we’re losing the battle, we’re actually winning the war. Time will tell. It is all I can say and hope.’
The President regarded the Colonel for a long while. The reason the man hadn’t lost his job was because of an anonymous agent who had left so many dead bodies in his wake. That kind of man needed to trust authority. He nodded his assent and turned to the man beside him. ‘So where’s the security report for last month?’ The security chiefs meeting was about to commence.
Adigun Bakare was agitated. He seldom lost his cool or got affected by extraneous events, yet, he was rattled. He had been trying to contact Tunde for days without any luck. That had him worried.
He trusted Tunde’s survival skills, but at the rate that agents were been killed, he feared the worst. He fingered his device lost in another realm. He snapped out of it, and began typing. One last message; one more desperate move to reach the agent. If he got a response then fine; if not, then God help Nigeria. He hit the send button.