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Written by AKOGWU JOSEPH CHINONSO…

Mike raised his briefcase which stood beside him to his laps. He opened it, took out a laptop and then returned the briefcase to the floor. He placed the laptop gently on the table and turned it on. He entered his password and typed some commands. Alfred Bright appeared in bold letters and his profile followed in tiny letters. He read out to them, “Alfred Bright was born in 1975 as Wilfred Dakar Jnr. He’s the only child of the parents and was named after his father. Alfred is five feet tall, broad and muscular. He weighs 320 pounds. His mother, a cheerful woman, died in her second child birth. His father had a bad history. At home, he enjoyed whipping his only son at the slightest provocation, with a leather belt that had a big brass buckle on it and outside home, he was a callous mercenary who killed both in armed and unarmed combats, in wars and out of wars. He had no enemies for none of them was allowed to breathe. He was a trigger-happy heartless monster and a terror to all who knew him. Wilfred Dakar was eventually arrested, charged for treason and executed by Major General Robert Smart. Dakar faced a firing squad when Alfred was only four. After his father’s death, Alfred was taken in by his uncle. At ten, Alfred came to know the story of his father and instantly took many decisions, which he called ‘Revolutionary decisions.’ First, he changed his name from Wilfred Dakar Jnr. to Alfred Bright. Then, he got enlisted in the military in 2000 and was determined to do exactly the opposite of all his father did. While in the force, Alfred was gregarious and quickly made friends with high-ranking officers that soon, he became an expert in the use of arms and ammunition. In addition to his sociability, he was astute and this earned him fame in the force. In 2004, he was among the troops sent on a reconnaissance mission to Libya. It was while on this mission that he resigned from the military. Up till date, he’s still evasive about the reason for his resignation. In 2005, he came back to the country when CCU was inaugurated, applied and was recruited. Since he joined CCU,” he quickly shut down the laptop, “he has remained the most valuable asset of CCU. Alfred is in a word, a wizard with his tactics.” His head started moving in small quick jerks, “He knows exactly how to find whoever and whatever he puts his mind on. He has got the eyes of a hawk. Since he joined CCU, he has not recorded a single failure. With Alfred on this, I think we should hope for something.” His eyes rolled as he concluded and he brought the laptop into the briefcase.

President Wilfred smiled broadly. He was impressed. With Alfred and Dennis wholly in the loop, I can really on something. He thought. His face became serious, “Has Alfred got wife and kids?”

Mike shook his head in disapproval, “He’s still single.”

“That’s good.” The president said. “Call him in. He’ll work with Dennis till this mess is over.” He made eye contact with them, “Thankfully, we’ve struck something.” He fixed his eyes on Senator Mahoney and saw that the senator appeared absent-minded. He was tempted to ask him what was bugging his mind but decided to do that later on, in privacy. His gaze was now on the IG, “Noel.” He called and saw the surprise written on the IG’s face. He knew the reason; that was the first time he was calling him by his first name. The president smiled, “I understand you’re not fit for this. I think you need some days off, may be till this murderer is arrested.” He paused to allow his words sink in. The IG looked bemused. What the hell was the president trying to imply? The president continued, “Your physician was here some couple of hours ago to complain about your health condition.” The IG was now staring blankly at the president, his mouth agape. Why would Dr. Fred try that without his consent? Anger boiled up inside him as he listened to the president speak on, “CCU will take on from here. After this meeting, you give Mike situation briefing. He_”

“But sir,” the IG cut in, “I can still handle this. My health hasn’t got that bad. President Williams was murdered under my nose,” there was consternation on his face, “his daughter was murdered when I’m still the Inspector General of Police and I owe them a duty. I can finish this your Excellency. I_”

“This is not an issue of your opinion.” The president’s voice was low, “This investigation is affecting your health and we need both mind and body for this.” His voice became louder, “It’s not your fault. The trauma of your friend’s death was quite enormous and I understand your plight now his daughter has joined him. I know it’s quite devastating,” he scratched his brow, “but the fact remains that we’ve to stop this nonsense before it envelops us and time is against us. The citizens are already seeing my promise as rabble-rousing and I won’t allow that to continue. I must keep to my promise. This does not imply you’re at the end of your rope. The truth is that you need rest and it’s urgent. I felt the sincerity in your doctor’s words and I believed in them.” He stopped and looked at the IG for his response.

The IG was thinking. He knew CCU would expose the murderer but he still wanted to personally see to the end of it. He started it and wanted to finish it. President Williams was his best friend and he needed to pay him this last homage. His thoughts went to his doctor and he felt his hatred for him rise in quick tempo. He considered becoming defiant to the president’s order but quickly dismissed it as not being an option. The president would remove him from the position once he tried that. He decided to try his luck at persuading the president. He coughed and said, “Sir, I can still do this. I’ve both mind and body together.” His expression showed the bits he was in, “I can see to the end of this. I can finish this.” His voice was filled with determination. “My doctor is obviously mistaking. Sir, give me this last chance and I promise to strike at something in one week.” He said enthusiastically.

“Your doctor is not mistaking.” The president corrected, “He showed me medical reports.” He watched the IG grit his teeth, “Your doctor has your interest at heart.” He saw Senator Mahoney nod severally and became glad the senate president was with him. He turned to Mike; he was nodding as well in agreement. The president smiled, “Mike will do what you would’ve done and I pray he does that in one week.” He looked steadily at Mike, his eyes blinking intermittently. “I hope Dennis and Alfred will perform the miracle. Make the miracle happen.” He rose, “I think this meeting is over. Thanks once more for coming.”

The IG knew there was nothing else he could do but was determined to find the murderer his own way. He rose, felt a little excitement well up in him for no apparent reason and forced a smile. He stretched to the president and shook him. He turned to the senator and they shook hands. He walked across to Mike, “Good luck.” He shook him and left the hall. Mike was the next to stand. He bade the president and the senator goodbye and started towards the door. He was holding the doorknob when the president said,

“It’s pertinent I say this Mike.” Mike stood still and he continued, “CCU has never failed since it was inaugurated; let’s see how you maintain the status quo.”

Mike smiled and left…

To Be Continued…

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