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The Batch A corps members passed out of camp on a Thursday and Dennis went to the local government secretariat to see if any was posted to our neck of the jungle. He came back with two guys and a girl. I nearly laughed out loud at the misery on their faces, but for the fact that I remembered how I felt the first time I came to Aguaba. The next day, they all went back to the local government, refusing vehemently to see the principal. The CLO had told them that they could return to the LG to be reposted if they didn’t like where they were posted to. Frankly, I didn’t blame them for taking flight. I would have done exactly the same thing if someone had hinted me that it could be done.
We went about our normal serving business. Going to school three days out of seven, and totally ignoring the crazies downstairs. There was no hope for anything exciting, until the day the principal entered my SS1 class, while I was teaching.
“A JSS3 student has been discovered to be pregnant. If anyone in this class knows that he is the one responsible, he should quietly come to my office to report himself.” He announced.
All the students started to murmur immediately the principal exited the class. I later got the full gist when I got back to the staff room. Apparently, the girl’s parent had discovered she was pregnant, and after beating the daylight out of her, she confessed that the person responsible was in school, but refused vehemently to name the person. They had then come to the school to report to the principal, with the hope that they may scare the culprit into a confession.
Days later, we were seated at the balcony, when two bikes parked in front of our gate. One carried two uniformed policemen, while the other carried a girl and an elderly man. All 6, including the bike riders alighted and came into our compound.
“Good afternoon sir.” Amaka and Zahra greeted.
“Afternoon Nwanne.” The old man replied. “Biko, are your male colleagues around?”
“Uncle. There’s no need to ask them. This …” One of the young men slapped the girl, “…should point the way to the bastard’s room.”
Just then, Jeff stepped out of the flat.
“You bastard!” He rushed at Jeff, dealing him a blow, and a scuffle ensued.
“Uncle! Uncle! He’s not the one.” The girl screamed after him, while the policemen tried to separate the two men.
My eyes widened in shock. I knew the girl. I had seen her visiting the flat downstairs and hanging around Bankz a couple of times before. The man took a step back, heaving. I was surprised to see Jeff was calm about the whole thing.
“I’m sorry my son.” The old man apologized to him. “We are looking for your colleague. What’s his name…” he looked to the girl.
“Ehm. He’s not around. What is the matter papa?” Jeff enquired, sparing a glance at the policemen.
“He’s not around, abi you are hiding him?” The angry uncle spat out.
One of the policemen hushed him, and turned to Jeff. “Do you know this girl?” Jeff nodded.
“So you know that your friend has been sleeping with her? He further enquired.
I and the other girls snickered at that. Of course he knew. They were both partners in crime, luring female students to their apartment to cook, clean and service their groin. I was slightly disappointed though. I didn’t expect Bankz to sink that low.
“Not really sir.” Jeff answered.
“Okay. Whether you know or not the girl is pregnant, and she said your friend is responsible.”
“Jesus!” Amaka exclaimed beside me.
“So where is he?” The second policeman asked.
“He is not around as I told you before sir. He went to Obollo-Afor for a class.”
“Okay. But we have to search your apartment to confirm.”
“No problem sir.”
The policemen conducted the search briskly.
“Tell him to report to the station at Obollo-Afor when he comes back.” they instructed Jeff after the search didn’t yield Bankz
“Ehm. I think maybe we should wait for him.” The other young man, who had been quiet, said. “What if he doesn’t report to the station and runs away.”
“He won’t.” One of the policemen said. “If he doesn’t show up, we’ll go report the case to the LGI, and they’ll seize his certificate.”
The old man nodded, spoke to Jeff in Igbo, then they left. Amaka translated for us. If Bankz loved his life, he would report himself either to the policeman or to him, the old man had said to Jeff.
Would Bankz NYSC certificate be seized or would his service year be extended? Would he be forced to marry the girl? We speculated on what would happen. Then we sat on the balcony playing Ludo and stylishly waiting for Bankz to return. He arrived a little over an hour, his eyes wide in fear. As he entered the compound, Amaka chose that moment to crack a joke that got us all in stitches. He must have known that we knew what was happening and that we were laughing at him, cos he sprinted the rest of the way into their flat.
“Dennis the CLO.” Amaka hailed, as Dennis came in after Bankz. He came upstairs, and we downloaded the gist for him when he asked what was happening. He hurried downstairs immediately, while we roared in laughter.
Later, we learnt that Bankz went to see the father of the girl, and tried defending himself by saying it was the girl who had seduced him, and she refused him using a condom. Having sex with her at all was an inappropriate thing to do, his defense was a stupid one, he was told. He was informed that the girl would not be allowed to keep the baby because she was betrothed to another man, and was then charged the sum of 50 thousand naira to carry out an abortion, as well as take care of the girl. He begged for the amount to be reduced and eventually paid the sum of 30 thousand naira. Money also changed hands with the principal, so he wasn’t reported to the LGI.