Emene, Enugu. 6:09 PM.
Rashidi on his second attempt, broke free from the firm hold of the two policemen that seized him with a rip of energy and tore away. And like a bat straight out of hell, Rashidi ran, very fast, putting his scrawny long legs to good use. Almost immediately, one amongst the two men of the law, aimed his ‘talk-true’ at him, but it breezed past Rashidi’s ducking head, landing right in front of him. Up and down Rashidi jumped, scaling past whatever huddle and jostling past anyone who threatened to slow him down. But it also appeared the police were equally up for the chase. They had already activated their own legs and were hot on his heels.
The heavy footfalls of boots behind Rashidi was all he needed to make him run faster because he knew the mental image of the mayhem that will befall him if caught. Gradually, the men of the law began to lose sight of Rashidi as his raw pace gained more momentum by the second. His pace was blistering.
‘Stop or I shoot you!’ one of them threatened, which was of course, accompanied by a gun cock. But to a determined Rashidi who was not in the mood for a Friday evening arrest, it will take much more than the cock of guns or those empty vocal threats, to bring him to a halt. Then again, he knew they were not going to fire at him because of the crowded evening street life which consisted of plenty of keke riders, busy street, artisans, hawkers and plenty others who were on foot. The energy on the street was so evident. Head spinned, eyes bulged, faces masked in shock, mouths hung open as Rashidi breezed past, followed by the two officers who were having a serious challenge keeping up with the quick legs of Rashidi.
Without checking, he connected to the other side of the road in not less than three stretch of legs, evoking terrifying scream of tires from the sudden application of break from an oncoming automobile. He veered left, into the red-sand street of Emenite but unfortunately ran into a banana skin which swiftly took his footing off the ground and sent him crash landing helplessly on his right elbow, upon a stainless round tray of neatly peeled oranges, shooting them straight up into the air. His loud fatal fall drew an outcry of bitterness from the owner of the wares and shouts of shock from other witnesses as they watched him and the helpless oranges scattered on the dusty floor.
‘Sorry’ Rashidi apologized with a breaking voice as he picked himself up almost immediately, and ran into the heart of the street. With the pain of his bruised knee stabbing at him, he ignored it and ran without looking back, huffing and puffing, leaving startled expressions and hushed voices at his wake. By this time, a hint of apprehension had crept into the street and its inhabitants. Witnesses stuck their necks out in curiosity, on the lookout for who was after Rashidi. While the owner of the soiled oranges nursed the pain of her loss, along with other cluster of witnesses at the scene, two sweat bleached police officers wielding AK 47’s, arrived at the scene of the fall, breathing heavily.
‘Which way did he go?!!’ they thundered at the agitated cluster of witnesses who out of intimidation, pointed towards Rashidi’s direction.
One of them brought out his cell phone and dialed for back up and sure enough, some few minutes later, the disturbing wail of siren was heard from a distance.