The Addict 10
Tade sped past the Lekki Estate gate and turned on to the Lekki-Epe Expressway towards the mainland. The journey took them to the ever-busy third mainland bridge but as he navigated the turning that would take them off the bridge to Ebute-Meta, they were stopped by a patrol of policemen.
“Park! Park!! Park!!!” the policeman said with a heavy Yoruba accent as he waved to an obviously irritated and impatient Tade. The officer pointed to a side of the road where he wanted Tade to park the car.
Tade wondered what this pretentiously-stern looking policeman wanted from him. He glanced at the clock on the car’s dashboard and it told him it was a few minutes past one in the afternoon. He wanted to get to the hospital and hand his daughter over to safe hands. Nothing mattered to him at that moment than the sanity of his daughter – his only child. He looked left and right and saw that the officer was the only one on patrol and thought of ramming into him and driving away.
As if Owo could read his thoughts, she said, “Tade, just park and let’s attend to him. He can’t do more than a dead rat. I knew they could be here. They are notorious for staying here and getting their share of the day’s proceeds from Danfo drivers.”
Tade reluctantly parked. He refused to come down from his car. The officer was getting irritated and was determined to get to the root of the rudeness. He approached the car and saw the Nigeria Bar Association stickers glued on the windscreen but he thought otherwise.
“Come down from that car!” he barked, his baton hugging his right armpit, where his black uniform was already turning grey.
“You were asked to park the car and that took you ages. You still chose to be rude to an officer of the law. If you don’t know, you are disrespecting Nigeria. I didn’t just put myself here. I am here to ensure the security and safety of everyone on this road.”
Tade was hearing his tirade but refused to come down from the car. He would rather sleep on the road than come down from the car to attend to the policeman. Ayomide had had enough and she had been overwhelmed by the sight and the attitude of this time-wasting officer, who stood rooted to the spot in front of the car. A line of tears flowed down her face.
Owo as usual took control of the situation. She wound down the window of her side of the car and beckoned to the policeman. A Constable he was – according to the rank on his shoulder. John Momodu his name tag read. Owo smiled in her head – what a name. No wonder he was acting like a real Momodu. They have a way of annoying you intentionally.
Constable Momodu shifted his left leg first but his right leg stood still as he debated with himself whether to honour the call or prove his right. But his greed to keep all he could get from the occupants of the car, before the other members of his team arrived, moved him. He covered the distance between himself and Owo in less than three milliseconds.
“So you think you can call an officer of the law to come meet you when you people should have been the ones to come down and talk to him?” he bellowed – still standing on his high horse.
“Good afternoon officer. It is not in our habit to prove stubborn to the law. We have an emergency and as such we are in a hurry. These two people in front are Senior Advocates of Nigeria and they are the parents of this young lady, who is also a lawyer. We at the back are a doctor and a nurse. The young lady is terribly sick and requires urgent attention in a nearby hospital. Please, we are battling against time,” Owo explained with a pretentious plea on her face.
“When you guys are lawyers and doctors nko? What does that have to do with the fact that you are being disrespectful to Nigeria?” Constable Momodu said as he did a quick scan of the car. He sighted the gag on Tola and the binding on her hands.
“Ah! So you people are kidnappers abi? You have kidnapped someone’s child and you are taking her for ritual. Everybody in the car should come down. I want to see what sickness she is suffering from that will warrant you to tie her up and gag her mouth.”
Rather than radio for backup in the eventual case that the occupants of the car were kidnappers as he suspected, Constable Momodu prayed that they would cooperate with him and not try to prove their case because he knew money would exchange hands.
Owo knew that would happen and she was prepared. A boiling Tade whipped out his phone and was ready to call the Commissioner of Police when Owo begged him not to.
“How many people will you explain to that your daughter ran mad and while taking her to the hospital, a policeman doing his job delayed you? Just let’s find him some money and be on our way.”
“I need to show him that I am not just any lawyer. I am a SAN and I have won many cases against his bosses,” Tade said as Owo kept calming him down. After successfully ensuring he would not make the call, she came out of the car and went to the officer, who by then had stepped back from the car in a bid to drive home the effect of his request.
“Officer, the girl in there is suffering from mental illness. If we untie the rope and the gag and she starts running away, will you catch her for us?” Owo asked.
“This is her ID card and these are ours. We are respectable members of the society and not lawbreakers. Please tell us what you want and we will talk about it.”
He collected the cards and went close to the car, bent down and studied each face as he tried to match each one to the ones on the card. They were all correct. Seeing that they had a point and could turn the case against him, he maintained that they untie the young lady for him to be sure she was not feeling fine. He explained that the ID card could have been doctored because kidnappers have evolved sophisticated ways to beat the police as they commit their crimes.
Owo kept appealing and begging that the girl would cause them an embarrassment if let loose. When she saw that it would not work.
“Constable Momodu, if not for what we are going through and that we don’t want to create a scene, a call from here would make you lose your job and we will go unscathed. But please name your price so we can leave here in peace,” she said.
Constable Momodu knew she had just said the truth. They looked well-taken care of and would have the right connection to cause him some harm if the situation were to be different. He needed to tread softly. Also, his colleagues would soon be back.
“Madam, you cannot threaten me with anything. I am only doing my job,” he said. “However, since you have said I should name a price, give me N25,000 and you can leave.”
“We are not kidnappers but as I said, time will not allow us to prove it to you. Here is N10,000. You either take the money, let us go or you leave it and we do things our own way.”
Constable Momodu collected the money and pocketed it. He was happy with the way it had gone down. These people must really want to protect the fact that their daughter was mentally ill for them not to have pushed buttons. Rich people don’t waste time in using their connections when it comes to dealing with the police – especially when they believe they are right.
Owo returned to the car and asked Tade, who wanted to know what went down there, to drive on. Constable Momodu waved at them as they sped past him and thanked his stars for providing him with a part of his child’s school fees. His son was in the polytechnic and needs money to return to school. His salary was not enough to feed but he had to make ends meet.
“I gave him N10,000,” Owo said to everyone in the car. “He insisted that we let Tola loose so he would be convinced she wasn’t feeling fine. The delay would be more than that because we will have to run after her and get her back to the car. So I had to use the cash to appease him. It is better than washing the family’s linen outside. Not all people would be sympathetic with you when predicaments befall you.”
“That’s how criminals get away with crime since all that the police care about is their pockets,” Idowu exclaimed.
Although they weren’t happy that the officer had exploited them they all agreed with Owo that it was not too much a price to pay for their beloved Tola. In no time they were at the Adekunle police station and few minutes later, Tade drove into the premises of the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba.