Room 39| Chapter 19
The following day, Mbe called Ejike’s office. The FBI seem to be close to getting someone to get into Room 39, and Mbe knows that if they get someone before Ejike responds, he will lose everything – the drugs, documents, his wife, and his colleagues. He was not ready to take chances, so he wanted to persuade Ejike to accept his proposal and show up at the FBI office before the weekend.
Worse still was that there were no other options available to him besides Ejike. He got the contacts of some hackers in the country, but none of them boasts the clean background that Ejike has; you can’t possibly hand over the most secured room of the antiterrorism unit to a street hacker – he’d convert the data in that place to a personal gold mine.
When Mbe called that morning, the secretary refused to pass the call to Ejike, saying that Ejike was in the lecture hall. Mbe called multiple times afterwards but either received the same response or had his call denied because Ejike had instructed his secretary never to let them back in when they come around nor pass their calls to him. He didn’t want to have anything to do with them after the first encounter.
When Mbe saw that Ejike deliberately didn’t want to take his calls, he decided to take drastic action that would make Ejike succumb.
At 6 pm Ejike left the University premises for his house because he has a dinner appointment with someone special to him at 7 pm.
When he got home, he quickly freshened up before heading to a restaurant that is located 15 minutes from his house. While following him, the agents observed that he stopped after a few blocks to pick up someone, a young lady who they could not readily identify but who they suspected was the lady in the picture frame at Ejike’s office.
When Ejike stopped and entered the restaurant with the young lady, Mbe and his colleague were able to see her face better. Finally, they have gotten someone through whom they can persuade Ejike to do their bidding.
So, while Ejike and the lady were at the restaurant, Mbe drove back to the building where the young lady was standing when Ejike stopped to pick her up. He began to ask if the people living there knew who she was, feigning to be a friend. With the answers he got, he found out that she is fondly called Ola, a short form of her name Olamma.
Olamma is a very beautiful young lady in her mid-twenties. She graduated in architecture a few years ago and was working with one of the construction companies in the region. A very focused and brilliant lady, she had trained herself through school by working full-time summer jobs and part-time jobs during school sessions. Her father, Ezenna, died from complications of untreated diabetes 10 years ago. And her mother, Ezinne, is a schoolteacher in an elementary school in her village. After her studies, Olamma relocated to the city to work, so she can raise some money to take care of her ageing mother.
A few weeks ago, Ezinne was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She had gone to her gynaecologist for a scheduled visit, and while the gynaecologist performed a pelvic examination, she decided to also perform a pap smear. When the results came back, some abnormalities were discovered. On further examination (CT scan) it was observed that Ezinne had stage II cancer. The doctor recommended that she undergoes a radical hysterectomy and radiation therapy afterwards.
When the doctor called Olamma to break the news to her, she was very devastated to hear it. She is the only child, and her mother is the only one she has alive. Another issue is the money needed for the treatment. Although she told them to go on with the surgery, she wasn’t sure of how to raise the money. And she didn’t want to disturb Ejike. Although she tried to act strong because of her mother, within her she wished this never happened.
That evening when she went out with Ejike, she had wanted to tell him what was going on but on second thought decided to do that when she returned from seeing her mother. She informed Ejike that she was travelling the next day to see her mom, and she would be away for a week. When Ejike wanted to know why the sudden need to travel, she just told him that the mom needed emotional support.
When Mbe got to Ola’s building, he was able to speak with a few people that knew her, who described her as a peace-loving young lady with a good heart. They also told her about the family and how she works so hard to take care of the mother. It was during one of the discussions that Ola’s neighbour told Mbe concerning Ezinne’s ill health and how Ola needed money for her treatment. Initially, Mbe seemed to be moved with pity and had almost called off their plans to use her as bait to get Ejike. But when he remembered his wife and the other colleagues in the hands of the Collingahs, his mind changed once again. And he decided to exploit Ola’s situation.
That evening, the corrupt FBI agents took about three hundred thousand dollars, a fake passport, and a gun, put them into a bag and brought them into Ola’s room. While she was at the restaurant with Ejike, they sneaked into her room and carefully dropped the bag where she could see it beside her bed.
When Ola got back to her apartment that night, she was tired and simply moved to her bed. As she was about to lay down, she observed that there was a bag beside her bed. Curious to know what was inside, she opened it and in shock discovered that it was filled with money. She was confused as to who might have gotten into her room and dropped the money.
She looked around her room, checked her window and door to be sure that no one entered. Then calls her neighbour to know if someone came into her room while she was away. Her neighbour said no but pointed out that a man came that evening searching for her. She asked for the name, but her neighbour couldn’t tell.
Ola simply moved the bag to a corner in her room. Although the temptation to take part of the money at least for her mother’s treatment was much, she refused and decided to take the money to the nearest police station the next day.
Unfortunately for her, at 6 am, while she got ready to leave the house, a knock was heard at the door. When she answered the door and opened it, she was greeted with an unexpected question from two men she had never met in her entire life.
‘Where is the money?’ One shouted repeatedly.
‘What money, please?’ Ola responded, innocently.
‘Young lady, where’s the money you stole from him?’ He shouted the more.
‘Stole from who? I’m not a thief. I didn’t steal any money from anyone.’ Ola responded, further confused than in the beginning.
‘Inspector, search every corner of this apartment.’ Mbe said, signalling one of his corrupt colleagues. ‘you’ll tell us if you’re a thief or not when we have found the money you stole from the man after shooting him dead.’ Mbe said, adding an accusation of murder into the mix.
‘What?! I shot someone to death! Wait… wait… wait… what’s happening here? Do you even have a warrant to search my house? Why would you come into my house this morning accusing me of killing a person and stealing his money?’ Ola shouts, disoriented, confused and angry.
‘Well, here is the warrant.’ Mbe pulls out a fake warrant bearing Ola’s name and address. The other corrupt agent goes in to search her room and sees the bag by the corner of her bed. He also sees Ola’s luggage arranged for travel.
‘Here is the bag Sir. I also see that she has already packed her luggage for escape this morning. Had we not arrived now, she would have escaped.’ He added.
‘Wait, I can explain. Please, I can explain.’ Ola says while holding back tears. ‘I came home last night to see that bag by my bedside. I don’t know who dropped it here nor how the person came in. And my intention was to take it to the police station this morning on my way to see my sick mother. Please, I didn’t kill anyone, and I don’t even know the owner of the bag.’ Ola explains.
‘Young lady, you’re lying.’ Mbe said.
‘Here is the passport and the gun inside the bag too.’ His colleague said.
‘Don’t touch the gun with your hands because her fingerprints are on it.’ Mbe responded.
‘I didn’t kill anyone, please. I only saw the bag when I came in last night. When I saw the content, I decided to take it to the Police this morning. I didn’t kill anyone. I don’t even own a gun. Last night I went out to the restaurant and afterwards came home. I didn’t do any of these.’ Ola couldn’t hold back her tears anymore. She didn’t know what was going on, nor what to even think of what was going on. It was as if the entire world was caving in on her – her mother is seriously sick, she has no money to pay for her treatment and now this litany of accusations for something she knows absolutely nothing about. What on earth has she done to deserve such a cocktail of sad occurrences.
‘Young lady, we will be charging you with first-degree murder, possession of illegal firearm and theft. The man you killed is an FBI agent. So, you can be sure that your case is very serious.’ Mbe claimed.
‘But I did none of these, Sir. Please, you need to hear me out first. Please, Sir, help me. I’m innocent.’ Ola pleads, running from Mbe to his colleague and back. ‘I have a very sick mother who needs a surgical operation. I’m travelling home this morning to see her before the surgery. Please, can I go and see her? I promise you that I’ll return to prove that I did none of the things you’re accusing me of. Someone wants to frame me up for something I have no idea. You can ask my neighbours. I’m a law-abiding citizen, please.’ Ola cries.
‘No need for that. Olamma, that’s your name, right?’ Mbe asks.
‘You can sit down.’ Olamma sits and Mbe sits by her side.
‘Olamma, you want to travel to see your sick mother, right?’ Mbe asks.
‘Yes, please. I need to see her immediately, else she dies.’ Ola responds, with tears flowing down her cheeks.
‘Ola, you see, this case is a very serious one – killing a person, stealing his money, and possessing an illegal firearm. These are serious accusations and just be sure that you’ll end up in jail for the rest of your life.’ Mbe hints, as Olamma continued sobbing while confessing her innocence.
‘But we can help you,’ Mbe continued. ‘You just need to do one thing for us, and we’ll act as though this case never existed. We’ll take back the bag to the police and tell them that we recovered the bag by the wayside and couldn’t find the thief. But if you think you can’t do what we want, then we’ll arrest you and you won’t be able to see your mother for a long time. It’s up to you. The decision is yours to make.’ Mbe says.
‘Whatever you want me to do, I’m willing to do it. I need to see my mother alive, please.’ Ola begs.
‘We need you to convince Ejike to do what we’ve asked him to do. Just tell him that if he doesn’t do what we’ve told him, you’ll be jailed for life and your mom will die. We’re also willing to take care of the medical bill of your mom as a bonus to you.’ Mbe concludes.
‘Is that all?’ Ola asks.
‘Yes, that is all. Simple.’ Mbe says.
‘But what did you ask him to do, please?’ Ola asks further.
‘Well, that’s none of your business. Just convince him to do what we’ve asked him to do, and you’ve done your part. Then we’ll do ours.’ Mbe responds.
‘Hmm… ok… ok. I’ll talk to him and convince him.’ Ola accepts
‘If you try to run away or tell anyone what has happened, we will find you and you won’t be happy with what will happen. Remember that your fingerprint is on the gun and everywhere on the money and passport. And we saw the items in your room about to run away with them.’ Mbe’s colleague adds.
Olamma agrees and gets ready to go meet Ejike as both men leave her room after taking some pictures.
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Here is Chapter 20.