“I don call,” Okuta said, “they wan confirm where the things dey. So them go bring am.”
“Ok, I dey wait,” Lado said and sat down crossing his legs. “You no go offer me something to drink?
“Wetin you want? I no get anything wey you go like,” Okuta retorted.
Lado chuckled. “Ok, ba yawa.”
Okuta stared at him with animosity and went to sit down beside the girl.
Okuta had been the right-hand man of AlawoDre until Lado showed up. Lado was a graduate and he was not.
About 2 years ago, Lado had tried to sell insurance to AlawoDre at a social function and AlawoDre had taken a liking to him. So he invited Lado for a second meeting at his office.
At the second meeting, AlawoDre had convinced Lado to come work for him, because he wanted to launder his image from a henchman to a possible political appointee. So he, AlawoDre, needed someone who was educated and could guide him on social issues, as well as, represent him at public functions.
The two had clicked and Lado had gradually emerged as AlwaoDre’s right-hand man.
Thus, Okuta began to report to Lado instead of AlawoDre and he resented that.
Okuta used to be the go-to-guy to lead gang wars in the early days of his thug life. AlawoDre had quickly spotted his devilish nature and promoted him ahead of his contemporaries.
He had been born on the streets and grew up not knowing who his father or mother. As an infant, he had been taken in and catered for in an orphanage, where he got some basic primary school education. But at age 10, the lady in charge of the orphanage was killed during a gang war. Thus, all the 11 children that were in the orphanage ended up on the street. Of the 11 children, he was the youngest, and 25 years later, he was the only one still alive.
Everything he had gotten in life had been paid for by his tears, sweat, and blood. Violence was not a way of life for him, violence was his life. It was what he grew up on, it was the language he was taught, and it was the only leadership principle he understood.
He was in charge of the Ojuwoye region of Mushin, and he wanted more power to himself. But with Lado now ahead of him, he might not get it.
“Unless something happen wey go kill am sharp sharp,” Okuta thought and smiled devilishly.
Lado watched Okuta from the corner of his eyes. The feeling of distrust was mutual. He saw Okuta smile and he smiled inwardly to himself.
Unknown to most people except AlawoDre, Lado had been the hitman of the Dark Cats Confraternity till he graduated from the University. The Dark Cats were a notorious and violent cult group that operated in many University campuses in the country. As their top assassin, he was never apprehended by the authorities and he never missed a target.
“Well, except one,” he thought to himself. But nobody except himself and the “supposed victim” knew about it.
His father who at that time, was a Major in the Army, ensured he attended a military secondary school and then Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA). But after his first year, he was dismissed from NDA for his penchant for recklessness. And when he later gained admission into the University, after leaving NDA, it did not take much convincing for him to become a cult member. This allowed him to continue to exercise his reckless streak without restraint. With his daredevil nature, he had quickly risen through the ranks. However, while his nickname, Lado, was known and feared, his real identity was shrouded in mystery all throughout his days in the University.
As AlawoDre’s right-hand man, he was tagged as Mr. Nice Guy by those who met and spoke with him. This was because he now had better control of his emotions, looked, and sounded polished.
However, he did not earn AlawoDre’s trust by mere talk. He had had to shed blood more than once to prove his loyalty.
Lado knew there was no love lost between him and Okuta. He realized, sooner than later, one of them would send the other on a one way trip to the grave.
From the very first time she had stepped into Lagos, she had loved the vibes of the city. She knew she would ensure she did her National Youth Service year in Lagos and after NYSC she was not returning to Abuja.
Her parents had settled in Abuja after the family had relocated from the USA when she was age 10. She had done her secondary school in Abuja and returned to the USA for her 1st degree in Communication and Media Studies and then her Masters in Investigative Journalism.
She came back to Nigeria and got her Dad to influence her posting to Lagos State. It was not really hard to persuade her Dad. They usually spent Christmas in Lagos in Grandpa’s house. Though Grandpa was late now Grandma was still very much alive and well, and she doted on the grandchildren.
She also knew her way around Lagos as her cousins, who were based in Lagos, ensured they took her and her younger brother to the fun spots and concerts each and every time they had the chance.
Thus, during NYSC she moved in with Grandma and stayed on after NYSC.
She was posted to a school as an English teacher during NYSC. So her first real job was as an intern with a TV station. She functioned more as a research assistant and never got to present any show before she left there after a year. Her second job was at a Radio Station, where she also functioned as a research assistant, She left after just 6 months.
Her heart desire was to become a top investigative journalist like Barbara Laker, who won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. She got her current job by showing up there for 2 consecutive weeks, asking to work for free. It was a foremost Newsagency, who had a strong emphasis on investigative journalism. When she started the job, her superiors were impressed by her diligence and passion, that they agreed to pay her salary from the 2nd month and even paid the 1st month in arrears. She loved her job and everything was perfect. Well, except for her direct superior, who got on her case once she began to receive the monthly salary.
Money was never a motivation for her because with her parent’s wealth and the trust fund they set up for her and her brother, she could afford not to work. But the quest to be recognized and appreciated in her field was her sole motivation.
She worked on her boss’s suggestion to investigate financial fraud and insider abuse in banks. But it was hard getting anyone to agree to spill the beans on the atrocities that go on in the banks where they work. All feared the repercussion of being found out. However, she got lucky when she complained to her cousin, who knew someone who was planning to relocate to Canada and needed money. So it was not if the information will be provided, it was for how much. The source named a price and she matched it. The amount was the equivalent of the source’s annual salary in US dollars.
Olumide Holloway (King Olulu)
Twitter @olulu4ever, Instagram @olulutheking, firstname.lastname@example.org, +2348025070892
Smoking Guns and Bleeding Streets is a gritty, gripping, and gravely real crime story.
The story is set in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa. It brings together an investigative journalist, an assassin, law enforcement agents and some shady characters. They are all in a race to obtain an incriminating piece of evidence.
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