Barrister Demba: “This is my last will and testament, I swear that I am of a legal age, and I am in the right mental state. The person who will inherit my assets and liabilities is the person who I have come to trust, and know that, this person will be able to carry on my legacy. That person is no other person than, my youngest wife, Bimpe Dambazzau. I implore the rest members of my family, to cooperate with her and respect my will. I leave all I have, to Bimpe Dambazzau” The barrister was reading, and everyone was hanging on his every word, so much that no one realized that Alhaja had fallen down.
Prison warder: “Help oh, she has fallen oh” he shouted, and that’s how the tension broke. Yusuf rushed to his mother, but the other wives and children screamed at the Barrister. “Why would she be given everything, you are working with her, ain’t it?” they said. Yusuf followed his mother into the Black Maria as she was rushed to the hospital. She was revived at the hospital, and from there to the prison.
Bimpe wasted no time in claiming her new assets; she went to the law firm and signed all the necessary documents. She also went to all the companies owned by Alhaji Dambazzau, the major company, which is Damoil, an oil exploration and refining company, she took on the position of CEO. During the company tour, she met Dominic and remembered his words on live television and at Alhaji’s funeral.
“I have to be careful with this one” she said to herself.
By the end of the day, Bimpe was exhausted; she was driven home by her new driver, who was once Alhaji’s driver. She had sacked all the body guards, they were useless to her. After all, it was one of them who killed Alhaji. When she alighted from the sleek black Range rover, which had been Alhaji’s, she met Yusuf on the terrace of her house. She quickened her pace when she saw him.
Bimpe: “Hello Yusuf, how are you doing?”
Yusuf: “I have not come here on a social call. You have my father’s entire assets now.Can you retract your statement against my mother?”
Bimpe: “What statement are you talking about? I have nothing to do with your mother’s situation” she said with a doll face.
Yusuf: “Cut the crap madam, I heard from a reliable source at the police station, that aside your open accusation of my mother, your statement to the police nailed her. Retract your statement”
Bimpe: “I will do anything you want. I want you. I have got money, I can give you whatever you need” she said edging closer to him. She pulled him by his shirt and kissed him. Yusuf overcame by his attraction to Bimpe, yielded to the kiss. Then he pushed her away, gently.
Yusuf: “I have my own money; I do not need that which you took by whatever means”
Bimpe: “Yusuf, I did not get these assets by illegal means” she said feigning anger. Yusuf just shook his head and began to leave.
Bimpe: “What if I make you the president of Dam Infotech, what would you say to that” Yusuf stood still for a few seconds, then he turned around and smiled.
Yusuf: “I would say you are making the right decision” he replied.
Bimpe: “I am too tired right now, let’s talk about this tomorrow” she said dismissing him.
With Alhaji’s wealth at her disposal, Bimpe set about getting surgery for her father’s legs. As before, she sent an entourage to Ilisan, bearing goods, gifts and money .They were to bring her father to the city, where he would undergo surgery.
Ladejo: “I am not going anywhere with you unless I see my daughter” he said stubbornly.
Doctor: “You would see your daughter in the city” he replied.
So Ladejo was taken to Lagos, his wife Basirat accompanied him out of curiosity. She wanted to see what her daughter had become. The doctor intimated Bimpe about her father’s request; she didn’t want to see him, because she had groomed herself to be without feelings. That is the reason, she left home, not only because of the scandal, but also because, she didn’t want to have familial links that would dissuade her from the path that she had chosen. But now, she was thinking about Yusuf, always, and now, her father wanted to see her. Against her wish, she went to the hospital where he had been admitted, for preliminary checkups. Ladejo was dozing lightly, but opened his eyes the moment Bimpe entered.
Ladejo: “Adebimpe, how have you been? Tell me how you came about so much wealth”
Bimpe: “My late husband left it for me”
Ladejo: “Ha husband! Bimpe, you got married and we did not know about it?” her father said, his eyes widened.
Bimpe: “I am a bastard, you are not really my father, I am alone in this world, so alone I went into my husband’s house” she said walking to the window .Just then, her mother, Basirat entered the room.
Basirat: “Oko mi, I have…” she was saying and stopped on her tracks when she saw Bimpe standing by the window.
Bimpe: “Mother” she said simply, then turned to her father “I have to leave now, but you have to do as the doctor says, if all goes well, you will be walking in no time” she said and walked out of the hospital room, amidst protests from her father.
Bimpe was in the office of the CEO of Damoil, she was being coached about the running of the company by the president of the company, who was the next major shareholder after Bimpe. Then two policemen came in.
Bimpe: “What can I do for you?” she asked tentatively.
Detective 1: “The trial for the murder of Alhaji Dambazzau will commence tomorrow, and in the course of the trial, we want you as our principal witness” Bimpe got out of her seat and began to pace the office.
Bimpe: “If I testify, it will hinder my chances with Yusuf. But on the other hand, I have to see this thing through” she pondered within herself.
Detective 2: “Don’t think of rejecting, it is your civic duty to help uphold justice. So if you do not do it voluntarily, you will be forced by the court”
Bimpe: “Alright, I will do it”
Before the trial, the prison warden took Alhaja Zainab into the office of the director of prisons. There she saw the prosecutor and the two detectives seated opposite the director.
Director: “Alhaja, this is a high profile case, and it has the attention of the public. Save us the resources of a long trial, and plead guilty. The evidence is overwhelming, you know you did this, plead guilty and your sentence will be reduced”
Alhaja: “Why should I confess to a crime I did not commit?”
Prosecutor: “This case is a done deal, I will have a great time in court proving your guilt, but it is taxpayers’ money you are wasting madam. Think of your son, would you like all your dirty linen spread before the whole world. Take this deal and save us both the stress” Alhaja just kept her head down, her mind was in an uproar, and she was seeing many possibilities in her mind’s eye. At that moment, her lawyer, Barrister Ziggy, a senior advocate of Nigeria came in.
Barrister Ziggy: “When I was told that my client is not in her cell, I knew something was up. What are you people doing here”
Prosecutor: “Don’t raise your blood pressure; it is a standard plea bargain”
Barrister Ziggy: “You don’t fool me. You are scared of facing me in court. Your case is weak, you are banking on public opinion, but this is Nigeria, the jury does not decide what happens here. It all depends on your evidence, and I guess you have nothing solid”
Prosecutor: “On the contrary, I do have a solid case, it is a done deal. I was only offering her a life line. If she doesn’t take it, I am asking the judge for maximum sentence, that is life imprisonment”
Barrister Ziggy: “My client is innocent and I am ready to prove it. And no meeting with my client should be done without my consent, hitherto” he said glaring at them from his big round spectacles.
The trial started in earnest the next day, people began to pity Alhaja Zainab as she had deteriorated, her once glowing skin had become parched, her eyes had sunk into their sockets and she had emaciated. She stood in the defendant box, with her head down; her shoulders were hunched and pointing downward. It was the disposition of a defeated woman.
Court official: “Alhaja Zainab, you being charged with the murder of Alhaji Dambazzau, how do you plead?” The courtroom was silent, so much that if a pin fell on the floor, the sound would be heard by all.
Judge: “Madam, please answer the question. I have not got all day”
Alhaja raised her head and looked at her lawyer sitting alone at the defense table, he shook his head, he could already tell what her response would be, from the look in her eyes. He knew a defeated woman when he saw one.
Question: Why did Alhaja plead guilty to the crime, did she really kill Alhaji. Would the truth be uncovered?
To be continued on 8th April
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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