TITLE: Accidental Victim – EPISODE: 17
“This is not a request. They give us two days to process
their demand…”. ‘Pause it there’, Col. Coker said to the
computer operator as he pointed at the large screen on the
wall in the SSS situation room.
As at that time that morning, just about thirty minutes
after the Talibans broadcast the video, it was already viral.
Almost all blogs and news websites in the country had
picked up the story. The video was what was been
discussed in all the forums and social media sites. Almost
everyone had a say on what was happening.
Some persons blamed the Talibans for the kidnapping,
while others blamed the government for infringing on their
rights. Each position led to heated arguments on the
various forums. Some NGO’s had already begun taking
advantage of the situation, publicizing hash tags like
# bringbackourcitizens , # saveourchildren ,
# redeemourcountry and the likes.
Mrs Coker fainted when she saw the video and she was
already under intensive care. Col. Coker had called his
brother and assured him of Funmi’s rescue.
‘There’s someone here to see you sir’, Mr Daniel’s
secretary said to him as he stooped on the chair he sat,
concentrating on Damien’s face displayed on the paused
screen on the wall.
‘How many minutes do I have?’, Mr Daniel asked her as he
looked up at her questioningly. ‘Right now sir, it’s
important’, she replied.
Staci Samuel was Mr Daniels secretary for several years
now, and she was very proficient at her job. They both had
a code which they used whenever Mr Daniel had a visitor.
Mr Daniel would usually ask how long he had and she
would give him a time period which coincided with what
she told the visitor, which in turn depended on how
important the visitor was or how important the situation
was. This was one of those situations.
‘Who is the person?’, Mr Daniel asked as they both walked
along the lobby. ‘He didn’t say sir’, she replied, ‘he just
asked to see you directly sir. He said it’s regarding the
situation on hand.’ ‘The situation on hand?’, he asked
again. ‘Yes sir’, she replied. ‘I hope he’s not here to
complicate issues’, he said. She just shrugged. He just
shook his head and walked into his office.
Who he saw when he walked into his office surprised him.
He looked back at his secretary and she still shrugged
again like she didn’t know how they got into the office. He
made a mental note to discuss her latest mannerism after
he attended to the visitor.Sitting in the couch in the office was an advanced man in
the full regalia of the Nigerian Army. Standing behind him
was another lower ranked soldier. The man looked like he
was troubled by something.
Mr Daniel looked at his shoulder to decipher his rank and
saw three stars and an eagle. He realized the man sitting
in his office was a Brigadier General of the Nigerian Army.
‘How may we help you sir?’, he asked as he sat on the
couch opposite him.
‘I heard the SSS are in charge of the investigations going
on concerning the video released by the Talibans this
morning. Am I correct?’, the Brigadier General said.
‘Yes sir. And we are on top of the situation’, Mr Daniel
‘What exactly are you doing to resolve the situation?’, the
Brigadier General asked again.
‘I’m sorry sir, I’m sure you would understand the fact that
the details of our operations can not be disclosed to you
unofficially. But I assure you we are working round the
clock to resolve this issue as soon as possible’, Mr Daniel
The Brigadier General nodded like he understood the
protocols needed for such information to be disclosed to
‘But what exactly is your interest in this particular case?’,
Mr Daniel asked.
‘The young man in the video’, the Brigadier General
replied. ‘Yes, what about him?’, Mr Daniel asked again.
‘He is my nephew.’, the Brigadier General said as he
looked towards his feet…..
‘Your nephew you say?’, Mr Daniel asked as he sat up on
the couch facing him. The Brigadier General nodded.
Mr Daniel nodded too and said, ‘Wow, this interesting. It’s
good we now know because we’ve been trying to get
some background information about him, but most of
what we’ve gotten were information about him when he
studied at Delta State University. All info about him prior
to that time appears to be redacted.’
The Brigadier General arched his brows like he was fond of
doing and said, ‘Yes, that is true. His file is redacted.’ ‘And
why is that?’, Mr Daniel asked him.
‘I’m sorry, I’m sure you would understand the fact that I’m
unable to give you that detail unofficially’, the Brigadier
Mr Daniel smiled, remembering the similar words he told
the Brigadier General just some moments ago. But he had
to find out who Damien was and so he persisted. ‘Sir, as
you would agree with me, this situation is a very delicate
one and we would need every information we can get
concerning the individuals involved if we are to resolve
this as efficiently as possible. So if there is any
information you know, which is not privy to me but would
help in this situation, I implore you, let me know.’
The Brigadier General was obviously shaken by Damien’s
capture by the terrorists, but he tried to hide it. ‘I’m sorry,
but I’m sure the redacted files would in no way help your
situation’, he said.
‘What was he doing before he attended the university,
because those are some of the details that are missing?’,
Mr Daniel asked.
‘Am I being interrogated?’, the Brigadier General asked
him with a questioningly look. Mr Daniel smiled and
replied, ‘Not at all sir. Just see it as two colleagues
discussing about a friend.’ ‘Off the records, right?’, the
Brigadier General asked again. ‘Totally off the records.’,
Mr Daniel replied.
The Brigadier General looked at the Military Assistant
(M.A) standing behind him and asked him to wait outside.
The soldier saluted and walked out.
Mr Daniel eyes trailed the steps of the soldier as he
walked out and immediately the door was shut, he looked
back at the Brigadier General who was watching him
keenly.How close were you to your nephew?’, Mr Daniel asked
him. ‘I really wished we were close’, the Brigadier General
began, ‘but we were not really close. He lost his father,
my younger brother, when he was about 10years old, so I
took it upon myself to take care of him.’
‘Was his father in the military?’, Mr Daniel asked. ‘He
wasn’t’, the Brigadier General replied shaking his head,
then he continued, ‘I tried to convince him to join the
military, but he said he wasn’t cut out for that kind of life.
He was a software engineer before he was killed, and he
was really soft natured.’
‘How did he die?’, Mr Daniel asked. ‘He was mugged and
shot while he was walking along the street’, the Brigadier
General replied, ‘Perhaps if he was in the military, he
wouldn’t have been so easily killed. It pained me so much
when I heard about it’.
Mr Daniel sighed and said, ‘I’m so sorry about that. So
you took up Damien’s care after that?’ ‘Yes’, the Brigadier
General replied. ‘He seemed to be very intelligent like his
father, but I didn’t want what happened to his father
repeat itself, so when he completed his secondary school
education, I convinced him to join the NDA’.
‘Really? And he did?’, Mr Daniel asked. The Brigadier
General nodded. ‘So what happened?’, Mr Daniel asked
again. ‘Hmmm, it’s complicated’, the Brigadier General
said, ‘Let’s just say that apart from his exceptional
aptitude in reconnaissance and tactical operations, he
gradually got ferocious and increasingly aggressive during
trainings. After several evaluations he was found to be
suffering from Acute Bipolar Disorder and he began
undergoing therapy. He was later declared fit for training
and he began training once again, but he got worse and
one day during a hand to hand combat training, he didn’t
stop when his colleague yielded. He continued hitting his
colleague till the Training Officer came to separate them,
but he mistakenly hit his Training Officer at the back of his
head and he died on the spot.’
‘Jeez!!’, Mr Daniel said. ‘And he was not prosecuted?’, he
asked. The Brigadier General shrugged and said, ‘Let’s
just say the doctors were able to prove that he didn’t act
on his own volition and he was expelled from the NDA
after which he was sent for rehabilitation. It was later
discovered that the environment contributed to his illness.
After a while though, his condition stabilized. His file was
redacted so as to prevent unauthorized assess to it.’
‘Wow, General, this information has really been quite
enlightening. Thank you so much for letting me in on it.’
Mr Daniel said.
The Brigadier General nodded and was about asking him a
question when they both heard a knock on the door. The
secretary walked in and looked towards Mr Daniel and
said, ‘Your attention is needed in the situation room
immediately sir. Something just came up’.
Mr Daniel got up immediately and looked down at the
Brigadier General and said, ‘I’m really sorry sir, I wish we
could continue this conversation, but as you know, this
situation needs to be resolved urgently.’
The Brigadier General got up and stretched his hand for a
hand shake. Mr Daniel took it and looked into his eyes.
‘Don’t worry about it, I understand. Please bring back my
boy’, the Brigadier General said as he untangled his hand
and walked out of the office…
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