An hour later, Femi was seated in the computer room. He had already received the details about the two numbers in his mail; the blackmailer’s name was actually Roger Brown and he lived at Aggrey Road. Femi had sent out two officers: one to the three banks to get an account statement and another with a warrant to arrest Roger Brown.
Amara did not live so far from the station; her house was also in Rumuola; making the meetings with her lover easy. He had already checked out her school: CITA international School, Rumuola. From the information he had received hours ago, the lesson would be over at 2:00pm.It was already 10:00am and Femi did not plan on going to her house so that her mother would not try to make things difficult. He had already made plans to be in her school at 1:30pm. He already knew what she looked like from the picture with Chief Okafor; getting her to follow him to the station would not be so hard.
Someone else walked into the computer room and waved at Femi before sitting at a computer table; he did not seem to care that Femi did not wave back. Everyone knew when Femi was handling a case: he was always buried in it and the slightest interruption (if not urgent) could make him act irrationally. He did nothing else during such periods, no matter how important it seemed.
Femi could not believe what he was doing in the computer room, he was sure the man who had walked in thought he was going through something related to the homicide case he was handling.
He had listened over and over to the recorder as it played the session he had the night before with Jide.
Tamunowari George was already retired and living in Abuja with his wife and the lawyer, Yemisi Bankole was still in the practice and from what Femi read online, he was a “big shot”. He was a criminal lawyer and was known for defending the mafia and other ” big people”.
Femi wondered why he had never heard of Yemisi. Going through his profile, a thought occurred to him: if Yemisi was such a big shot, why had he handled Jide’s case? To provide an answer to his question, he typed again and smiled at the screen. He had risen to fame twenty two years ago, the exact year Jide had been convicted.
Femi relaxed in his seat and rubbed his forehead. Jide was just fourteen when he was sent to prison; he had not been treated as a juvenile; and sixteen years for such a kid…Femi had his doubts.
He began to hear Jide’s voice in his head. He had listened to the tape all night that he could remember everything as if Jide was seated talking to him…
I had told him that my sister told me everything
Chief Okafor had secrets, that was for sure but what could Jide’s sister possibly know?
Then he thought of something. Jide had said he did not understand how her pregnancy had destroyed the friendship between the two families. As a kid, Jide had been made to believe it was peer group influence…but what if it was more than that?
Femi sat up as thoughts and images began to make their way into his head. Tosin had only been sixteen when she got pregnant…
He remembered the pictures he had seen in the safe box…the missing girls.
Tosin was thought to have gone missing, right?
Jide’s words re-echoed in his head.
Was there really a connection?
With that thought, he made a call and walked out of the computer room. He still had time before his meeting with Amara.
“Good afternoon” the matron of the orphanage greeted as she entered the office where Femi sat waiting for her.
“Good afternoon” he greeted rising to his feet as they both shook hands and sat down.
“So how may we help you, detective?” She was wondering what link the orphanage had with the employer’s death; that was the only thing that would bring the police there.
“Just routine check” he replied and took out a brown envelope from the bag he was with. “Do you know the number of girls and boys in this orphanage?”
The question seemed to keep her thinking because she did not give him a quick reply. “The records should have it”
“How long has this organization existed?”
“Eight years and some months”
“Have there been any missing children?”
“Heavens, No” she almost exclaimed as if the thought alone was absurd.
Femi stared at her wondering what he would say to her. He had made a silly mistake that had cost him his time. Those girls were not orphans, at least not from this orphanage.
But he doubted he was wrong, whenever he had a hunch about something, he was 80% correct. He concluded that the lady seated in front of him was not to be trusted.
“Well, I’m here to see the place and make sure there’s no threat on the staff as well as the children”
The matron smiled. “Everything is fine, detective” she sounded honest to Femi but he already knew better.
“I’ll still keep my men here to make sure everyone is okay” there was no change in the woman’s expression.
“Thank you” she simply said as he nodded and walked out.
There was no need showing her the pictures he had brought with him.
As he walked down the stairs and arrived at the first floor, he heard a whisper.
He turned and saw a woman with her head peeping out of a door. She motioned for him to come and he did so, but with caution. The moment he arrived at her door, she pulled him inside and closed the door shut.
“Who are you?” Femi asked as his hand reached for his gun.
“Please” she sounded scared. “You don’t need to know who I am…what did she tell you?”
“Who? What are you talking about?”
“Police officers don’t come here, I was really happy when I saw you show your badge to the gateman” there was a smile in her face.
“Okay” he was wondering where she was going with the whole thing.
“I know why you’re here”
“They just kept on disappearing” she said as he stared at her for some seconds before taking out the photographs from the envelope.
She looked at the first and almost let out a cry.
“This is Angela” she said sadly and called different names as she looked at the different photographs. She handed them back to him and spoke. “We kept reporting to the matron and she always claimed she would call the police and just when we were beginning to suspect her, you came” she sounded happy.
“Thank you” he said with a smile and walked out. He needed an arrest warrant.
He got into his car and was on his way to the station. He was stopped by a traffic light and while he whistled, he noticed a lady crossing the road.
The traffic light showed green and he followed her slowly behind and got down when she entered a bar.
You’re supposed to be in school, young lady.
He parked his car by the side and entered the large bar. His eyes searched for her and finally saw her at a table close to the wall.
With calculated steps, he walked towards her with a smile. She noticed him and did not restrain herself from scowling at him but that did not stop him.
“Hi” he greeted but she simply looked down at her phone. “May I join you?”
There was still no reply.
He sat down anyway and began to study her. She looked older than most secondary school girls he knew or maybe it was the make-up. She really was the lady in the picture with Chief.
“I’m Femi” he said stretching his hand across the table. “Please, try to be nice” he did not remember the last time he had spoken to a lady in this manner; not after Helen, the only lady whom he had ever loved. He pushed the thought aside and smiled at the young girl as she smiled back and took his hand.
“Nice to meet you” she did not let go of his hand and Femi was trying to pull away from her strong grip.
“You can leave my hand now” he was still trying to sound casual.
“No, I want to be nice” she had a wicked grin on her face at that moment.
“Tee!” She jumped up in fear at the sound of the deep voice that yelled her name from the door.
“Shit” she said beneath her breath and immediately got up from her seat pulling the confused Femi along with her. From the corner of her eyes, she could see the huge man still searching for her. “Oh God” she muttered and pulled the unsuspecting Femi into a deep kiss.
Femi tried to pull away but he was able to hear a low “please” from her. He played along until a heavy hand came to rest on his shoulder; that was when she let him go.
“This is the thing that replaced me?” The disappointment in his voice was obvious and Femi began to wonder how many guys an SS3 student could be seeing at the same time.
“John, please leave us alone” she did not sound like someone who was begging.
He smiled wickedly and sized her up. “Don’t go home tonight, sweety” he warned and walked away.
That was when Femi thought he saw the fear in her eyes.
“It’s okay” he said as she suddenly noticed him.
“What did you say?”
“You can come with me” he was happy to take advantage of the opportunity to find out what he needed to know.
“Look, one kiss doesn’t mean I like you”
Femi smiled, “I just want to help”
She squeezed her face but thinking of what John and his cronies had in store for her, she had no other option.
Within minutes, they were in his car and Femi thought of actually taking her to his place when his phone rang. He answered and received news that Roger Brown was in the station and so was Jide. With that, he drove to the station and saw the bemused look on Tee’s face when they arrived.
“It won’t take long…you can come along if you want” he did not want her out of his sight.
She began to shake her head but thought better of it and alighted from the car.
A sergeant saluted Femi at the reception but he simply waved at him and turned to see Jide rising to his feet.
“Good day, detective” he greeted with a smile as Femi frowned.
“How may I help you?”
“You-” he stopped as he noticed the lady who just entered. She also seemed shocked to see him.
Femi concluded that Tee carried confusion wherever she went.
“What’s going on?”
Jide simply walked towards her and hugged her. “I knew you would do the right thing” he turned to Femi and smiled. “You did a great job in putting the pieces of the puzzle together” he sounded impressed as Femi’s bemused look remained.
“So Jide sent you?” She felt stupid.
“I didn’t send him per say. I just told him a story”
“I told you I didn’t want to get involved” she sounded angry.
“What is going on here?” Femi asked almost shouting.
“I’m sorry if I’m disturbing your work…you can take her. I’ll wait outside”
“What are you talking about?”
It was Jide’s turn to get confused.
“Why exactly is Tosin here?” He finally asked looking from the detective to his elder sister.