Sergeant Bello sighed deeply when at last the luxurious bus that was to convey him and other passenger from Kaduna to Lagos kicked off. He had been waiting uneasily for the inconsiderate driver who had delayed for over two hours for a passenger to take the last seat. Bello’s desire was to arrive Lagos 7 or 8am but the delay will make it impossible. Few hours after the bus – popularly called ‘Eze Best’ commenced the journey, the thought of the family he had left in Lagos flashed through his mind. He had not set his eyes on his wife and kids since he was transferred to Kaduna over three months ago.
It wouldn’t had been difficult to have come along with his family to Kaduna to live in the barrack, but the flourishing restaurant owned by his wife in Lagos made the young couple to decide on living apart for the moment. He missed Tolu and Bolu, his five years old twins, but he could not quantify the cold hand of loneliness he was suffering from the absence of his wife. The countless phone calls merely eased for the moment, the boredom he always found himself at midnight. Bello’s thought was now diverted to a blissful past, reminiscing that joyous event of his marriage to Bunmi when a strange harsh voice stopped him abruptly from going further. ‘Oya! Make una raise una hand up, if una no want dis gun mud una now now, oya!’ Bello quickly raised his head to behold a hefty man, with a pair of dark goggles, holding a pistol.
‘You dat tall man with white sheda, you no get ear? Abi you no hear wetin we talk!’ A robber from behind bellowed at Bello who quickly raised his hands. Sergeant Bello wondered how these armed bandits got into the bus at the motor park when a police officer had inspected every passenger boarding the vehicle. It might have been a connivance between the policeman and the robbers. He was still thinking over the sudden scenario when he heard the bandit whose gun was pointing at the driver informed the others: ‘Bolo, e bi like say our brothers from another area don target this bus too, no bi road block I dey see so?’ The boss of the robbers rushed forward and roared with laughter: ‘ha ha ha ha haa.
Slow down; slow down driver … na dis kind thing people wey go school dey call coincidence. No wahala, we go settle with them … em driver, stop for the road block. Basco, if the driver don stop, quickly comot tell dem say there brothers dey here.’ ‘Okay.’ The bus stopped at the roadblock and the hiding bandits dashed out from the bush, Basco quickly open the door. ‘Ol boy na we we dey here o, make una cool down.’ The surprised robbers froze momentarily but suspiciously gripped their gun firmly. ‘We hope say dis no bi one yeye trap wey una don set for us.’ Said their boss. A clean shave, huge dark figure, with flickering reddish eyes. ‘Ha ha ha ha ha,’ Bolo the boss of the other, laughed thunderously as he was coming down from the bus; ‘haba my guys, una no see say the difference dey clear? Una never feel am say we bi brothers?
Abi we look like those gentle men for una eyes? Ha ha ha ha.’ His hard face with the big scar on it and his untended bushy beard greatly assisted in convincing the robbers that they were their kinsmen. They withdrew their guns and returned them into their faded jeans pockets. They cracked jokes, shared some laughter then moved to deliberate on the main business. The leader of the other group spoke first: ‘Now wey things don bi like this, how we go do the sharing?’ Bolo responded, ‘My man we never even check them to no weather dem even carry plenty better. But any how, any how, make I tell you the truth; our policy for this kind thing na seventy percent by thirty percent of the share.’ ‘Wetin dat one mean?’ I mean say una go carry thirty percent of all the money wey we go take from dem.’ ‘Ha!’ the other boss chuckled unconvincingly.
‘Which kind yans bi this, our own policy for this kind thing na fifty fifty. But I know want make we argue for this kind matter, make you give us forty.’ ‘Forty wetin? Ha ha ha, you no no say na we take the big risk. What if to say dem catch us for road? Or if we decide to attack una to pass this road by force, wetin you for dey talk now?’ ‘Mami, make you no yan like that; na ye ye talk be that. You think say una for succeed to pass here …? Anyway, my head dey cool today, I no get time for trouble now, just gives us the forty and that na last.’ ‘ I don tell you my last. no bi market we dey wey we go dey price like women. I don tell you say na thirty I go give you.’ ‘God forbid bad thing.’ ‘Okay okay, thirty five and I swear to God dat na last.’
‘Ol boy, you don lie o, my forty na forty dole.’ Bolo thundered, ‘you dey craze! How you go want take almost the same share with somebody wey risk hin life bring bush meat come your domot. God punish you!’ ‘Na dat your mouth wey you take curse me God go first punish, you this bastard!’ ‘Me! Bastard?’ Bolo unleashed a bullet into the fore head of his counterpart who instantly fell down. The members of the slain leader were enraged; the one standing behind the fallen boss unleashed two bullets that pierced the belly of Bolo. But Bolo managed to shot back at the head of his assailant before going down.
The commotion that followed was horrible, both groups exchange fire; the robbers guiding the passengers dashed out to join their colleagues and that created an escape route: some passenger rushed out through the door, others jumped out through the window. Luckily for Bello, his bag was beside him, he grapped it and jumped out through the window. They all raced into the bush, forgetting that it could be dangerous to enter the forest in the midnight. The two remnants from both sides kept shooting as they ran away from each other.