The Calumny

How everything happened in quick succession was a mystery. All I can remember was entering into the banking hall, after slightly greeting Mama Bukola at the entrance. I had observed the disturbing look on her face as she frisked in her bag at the security post as if something of high value was missing.

I was still on the queue when Mama Bukola herself shrieked into the hall, already looking wild. Her head gear had been ripped off and she walked combatively towards the counter I was queuing in.

“What is the matter madam?” a smiling pretty lady at the counter said calmly, as if she could not perceive the looming fight.

“Your security man has stolen my son’s laptop and my purse!” She yelled, “Apple laptop and twenty thousand naira!”

Myself and several bystanders were not going to wait to be invited into the discussion. People crowded Mama Bukola quickly to ensure justice. She explained her side of the story – how she came to the bank with the simple intention of withdrawing money hoping to visit her son’s school to deliver the new laptop and how she had told the security man at the entrance that there was a laptop in her bag when the door had refused her entry. The man had not checked the bag but rather told her to keep it in one of the security boxes at the entrance, she did with an inkling that the security man had a spare key.

I was literally going to ensure that the man got the penalty.

“Manager Manager!!!” We all called out, until the young manager attended to us.

“There is a CCTV that will reveal everything.” The manager asserted.

Mama Bukola remained adamant on her accusation.

“If it is not true, would I have said it?!”

Before the manager satisfied our curiosity by showing us the video, he pleaded with the old woman to please be pacified by taking an offer of 30, 000 Naira and letting the bank handle the case rather than defaming the bank’s name. Mama Bukola and several of her supporters saw this offer as a deliberate attempt to cover the misdeeds of the respected institution.

“How can I collect 30,000 for a laptop I bought with almost a hundred thousand?”

It was only a matter of minutes before the cameras revealed everything that happened – how the woman greeted the man at the entrance, entered the bank and walked about without making any transaction, how she went to the toilet for few minutes and came out only to falsely accuse the security man.

My disappointment was boundless. She tried to plead, but that did not save her from the shackles of the quickly invited men in black with a remarkable addition of abuses and curses that were hurled at her by the bank’s customers and myself!

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