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Written by AKOGWU JOSEPH CHINONSO…

The presidential villa was located in Sar Tor and it took up an entire city block. It was a large bombproof grey building with red brick and a design that was made with great expertise. The villa was electronically wired with security cameras positioned at strategic points of both the interior and the exterior. Over the main entrance, the blue-white-and-red Gennanian flag swayed and behind it stood an effigy of Sir Arthur Smart, the father of nationalism in Genna. There were always battalions of armed forces scattered all over the compound and they were armed to the teeth. A convoy of cars lined at one side of the compound and by the other side was a large, garage housing rows of parked vehicles belonging to visitors and staff working in the presidential villa.

The presidential conference hall was modern and it was located at the left extreme of the villa. A massive table surrounded by colourful seats stood at the centre of the hall. The attractive range of colours of the walls and floor were tasteful. The hall looked more royal than gorgeous and on the wall hung enlargements of the past presidents up to the incumbent.

President Paulinus Wilfred sat at one edge of the table talking with someone over the phone. He was facing two security chiefs seated at both sides of the enormous table. The Inspector General of police sat at his right and opposite the IG was Ogbeei Michaels. Mike was the head of Counter Criminal Unit. He was a devastatingly tall martinet with strong square jaw, big powerful shoulders, enormous girth and long legs. His body was fit and muscle-bound. At fifty-five, he looked sixty. He had a craggy intelligent face with sympathetic blue eyes. As a kid, Michaels built a reputation for decency. At seventeen, he was enlisted into the military and he quickly soared away that at thirty, he was already a Major-General. At forty-nine, he was falsely accused of planning to plot a coup and was dismissed and incarcerated until he was fifty-two. When Barr. Williams Bruno became president; he set up a panel to investigate his dismissal. The panel found Mike not guilty of the allegations and exonerated him. He was immediately reinstated in the force. President Williams in an attempt to eliminate crime from the country inaugurated the Counter Criminal Unit (CCU) and appointed Mike the head of the security agency. The agency had the duties of fishing out terrorists, investigating complicated crimes, and giving helping hands to the other security forces of the country in maintenance of stability and order. CCU with its effective leadership, shrewd personnel and in collaboration with other security forces of Genna, had recorded series of laudable achievements since its birth.

When Stella was reported dead, the president went jittery for the first time and feared that whoever murdered Williams and his daughter still had other things in mind. He was a man who saw danger when it was in the pipeline. Though President Wilfred never liked Williams when he was alive, he was determined to expose his killer and restore normalcy in the country. Now Stella was murdered, it dawned on him it was time he called in CCU.

President Wilfred tapped a button on his phone and ended the call. He inhaled slowly and removed his glasses from his eyes, “That was the senate president.” He wiped the lens of his glasses with a handkerchief and replaced it on his eyes, “He said he’s on his way.” He looked from the IG to the head of CCU, “We had better exercised a little patience.” He watched them nod simultaneously in agreement. The hall became quiet for some minutes and they started discussing. For the next twenty minutes, they discussed the happenings around the world. They were interrupted when Senator Mahoney swaggered into the hall. He was dressed in an ill-fitting black suit and a white shirt that was poorly ironed. As he approached them, he cast a quick glance at his wrist watch and a rictus appeared on his face. He walked over to the president, “Your Excellency,” he stopped beside him, the rictus replaced by a seemingly sincere smile, “my late coming was unintended. Some exigencies that needed my urgent attention cropped up.” He bowed slightly, “I crave your pardon.”

The president nodded and smiled. He stole a glance at the senator’s attire. That was unlike him. The senator was a man known for his smart appearance during official and unofficial gatherings. Some citizens even nicknamed him Smart for his apparent neatness, but there he was, putting on the very clothes he so much detested. The president immediately came to the conclusion that all was not okay with the senator. Even the expression on his face showed that. Was the news of Stella Bruno’s death troubling the senator? He imagined but quickly remembered that the senator was not in good terms with late President Williams Bruno. Senator Mahoney offered his hand for a handshake and the president shook him. He turned to the IG and widened his smiles. They shook hands. He faced Mike and shook him. He strode across Mike to a seat next to the IG, pulled it back and sat on it.

To Be Continued…

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