The Nkpani police department is a very small unit with a dozen officers. The most superior officer was Inspector Gabon.
Inspector Gabon was a short, fat man, with a slight on the shoulder. He was posted to Nkpani a few years back from the calabar main department. There were rumours that his transfer was not unconnected to his inability to cope with the work load over there, hence his transfer to a less tasking zone.
He was in his office, scribbling something on a file when the door opened and Sergeant Daniel got in, “Good day sir,” He greeted with a salute.
Inspector Gabon looked up at Sergeant Daniel. It was obvious he was pleased to see him. He felt Sergeant Daniel was too efficient, which meant extra work for him. Each time the sergeant entered his office, it was one case or the other. Couldn’t the sergeant overlook some cases, he thought.
“Good day, sergeant,” He replied. “What is it this time?”
The sergeant relaxed and advanced towards the inspector, “It’s this Agaba’s case, sir”
“What about it? The forensic result will get to us tomorrow. Then, we will know what to do next.”
“That’s not the issue, sir,” Sergeant Daniel spoke fast, “The Nkpani people are taking the laws into their hands. They are organizing a confrontation, more than one thousand men, all armed, prepared for war. We must find a way to stop them. This’ll be the largest battle ever fought in this region.”
“Over two thousand men!” The inspector whistled. “Have they gone mad?” He immediately lost every glimmer of docility. His body ached violently and his imagination ran wild.
Since he arrived at Nkpani, he had had a peaceful work. Not as though the people were very peaceful, but he had succeeded in avoiding interference in their little conflicts. If there were troubles that needed police interference, he could trust on Sergeant Daniel to handle them; Sergeant Daniel enjoyed work.
The realization that it was inevitable not to interfere in this present conflict scared him. “What do we do sergeant?” He asked.
“I don’t know sir,” Sergeant Daniel replied. “I would have suggested we stopped them with our men, but we are too few against them.
Inspector Gabon stood up and started pacing around his office. He stopped abruptly and asked, “Where did you see them?”
“At the king’s palace? They may have gone by now.”
“What?” the inspector screamed. “We have to call calabar right away and let them know about the situation.” He rushed over to the phone, picked the receiver and dialed. He began speaking into it, relaying everything he had been told. Shortly after, he said, “Okay,” and replaced the receiver on its cradle.
“They’re sending some men over.” He said. “You may close for the day serge. For now, there’s nothing we can do.”
* * *
As soon as Eton left the king’s palace, he rushed home. He arrived in less than ten minutes and was greeted by one of the servants. “Did anyone come to look for me?” He asked.
“Yes sir. The cops were here.”
“O yes, I saw them. Anyone else?”
“No sir,” The servant replied
Eton walked into his room and locked the door. He went over to the phone and called the Nkpani police department. “Can I speak with Lawal?” He said.
“Who’s speaking, please?”
“Eton, Eton Agaba.” He had to add ‘Agaba’ because of the influential effect the name usually has on people. In the whole of Nkpani, there was no one that didn’t know Agaba. The name was a door-opener for him anywhere. The son of Agaba just had to have his way.
Eton could perceive the man flinch from the other end of the line, “Aw! Mr. Agaba, I’ll get him in a moment.” The voice said, and it became quiet for a moment.
Eton held onto the phone. Some seconds later, he could here a crackling sound on the other end of the line, and a voice said, “Hello.”
“Is that Lawal?” Eton asked
“Yes sir,” Lawal answered. “Good day sir. “To what do I owe this surprise?”
The family of Agaba, being very influential and sometime troublesome, had connections with some officers of the police force. Constable Lawal was one of Eton’s boys.
“I want you to do something for me,” Eton said.
“Whatever. Just say the words.”
“I want you to keep me posted on the result of the forensic test.
“That’ll be a bit difficult. But,” Lawal said with a little grimace, “What do you need it for anyway?”
Eton hesitated, then said, with a little snarl in his voice “Just do it. Or are you tired of receiving my tips?”
The line was silent for a moment, then Lawal spoke, “As you wish,” And the phone went dead.