She laid on the brown dust and cried her eyes out. While she was crying, her phone buzzed with a Facebook message, she saw it was from Mistletoe and hurried to read it. Her hands clenched into fists as she read. Bile rose in her belly, and it was like she would explode with anger.
“The dead man is Najim Haruna, I am sure you have seen the news, so now, it falls on you to make sure that Nene is accused of the murder. We should discredit her so that no one will listen to her again” the message read.
How could Nabila kill Najim just to discredit her, did she hate her that much? Nene thought Nabila loved Najim as she had said. If she loved him, why did she kill him. Another question rose in her mind, did they also kill the president, so they could blame it on her father, to cause an uproar. She couldn’t think of anybody who would benefit from the country going to war. Nabila was too small to orchestrate something this massive, but somehow, she could tell that Nabila was connected to it.
“This is not the time to grieve the death of the love of my life. I have to avenge his death, and the only way to do that is to find out the truth” she thought to herself.
Nene steeled herself and went to the hotel where she was supposed to meet Wale. If she would gain Nabila’s trust, she had to do what she asked. Gaining Nabila’s trust would open the way to finding the truth. She had to make Nabila see her as a fanatic who would not have qualms about killing. It was the only way Nabila would be open to her.
All these she told Wale, who was surprised but thought it possible that somebody who would gain from a war was responsible for the assassination of the president and not her father.
Wale: “However, Nabila knows you, how do you intend to approach her?” he asked.
Nene: “I could disguise myself” she replied, thoughtfully, the wheels of her mind was already turning.
Wale: “Or I could get somebody reliable to do the job”
Nene: “No, involving too many people could make it fail” she replied abruptly. She looked at Wale thoughtfully. Nene was contemplating if she really could trust him. She knew he rubbed shoulders with the people in the corridors of power, and that kind of affiliation often made good people corrupt.
Nene: “How did you find out I was stranded in Kano?” she asked
Wale: “I know you are based here na” he replied offhandedly.
Nene: “I could have left Kano since the quit notice was given, you said a little birdie told you I was stranded in Kano. How did you know?” she asked, as fear gripped her heart. How could she know if Wale was working for the enemy? She didn’t even know who the enemy was, how could she know who was on her side or not?
Wale: “You don’t trust me, fine. But I would never do anything to hurt you. I never stopped having those feelings for you” he said and drew closer, but Nene moved away.
Nene: “I don’t know who to trust anymore. I thought Nabila was my best friend but it turned out otherwise, so excuse me if I have trust issues” she replied, pulling the chador closer to her body.
Wale: “I understand if you don’t want to involve somebody else. I just didn’t want you close to danger. I will help you with your disguise, I am very skilful in the art of disguise” he said, and they began to plot how to find out the truth. First things first, they went to the Facebook group, and made a post of how Nene murdered Najim because he was in love with her best friend, Nabila. Immediately the post went viral, Nabila sent Nene’s fake account a message.
“Wallahi, you are a genius, you did the post perfectly and it is trending” the message read.
“Glad I could help, but I would need details which we would release in bits to keep the story trending, and soon we will be calling for her to be killed, for daring to kill a faithful” Nene texted back.
“Let us meet now, there is something I want to show you, it will blow your mind” the message read. Another message followed with an address, it was a restaurant owned by a Hausa Muslim, one among the few businesses that stayed open.
Nene knew that the propaganda on Facebook could set off fresh wave of violence against Igbos, but she had no choice, she had to do what Nabila wanted to get close to her. But she hoped that the revenge would be on her, not every Igbo still stuck in Kano.
Nene: “She wants us to meet in a restaurant close to Ado Bayero mall” she said sadly, and whisked away a tear drop from her long, black lashes.
Wale: “Why is that a bad thing?” he asked, puzzled by her sad countenance.
Nene: “It is Najim, I miss him and I swear I even miss Nabila. Three of us were so close, that restaurant is where we hung out most times for lunch. Everything is spoilt, it is not fair” she went into full blown crying.
Wale was confused, he didn’t know Najim, he had only heard about him from Nene when she warned him off her. He had been curious and had gone to find out about Najim on the internet. He found out that Najim was not even half as amazing as he was. He often wondered what Nene saw in him to make her love him so much. He never did understand love. After all he was madly in love with Nene, even when she threw away their friendship for Najim, he still loved her. She was beautiful but he had seen and met more beautiful girls. Even his personal secretary, was a beautiful cross breed lady, whom he knew had feelings for him. They had even had sex the day Nene told him off, but still he didn’t feel anything towards.
“Cupid must be one hell of a joker” he thought as he encircled the crying Nene in his arms. After a while, she calmed down and pushed herself away from him.
Nene: “I will be fine” she said and sniffed back tears. She wiped her face with her chador.
Wale: “Now that you are done crying, can we get down to creating your disguise? He asked. But deep within him, he prayed that Nene would never find out how he knew about her being in Kano. If she did, she would never trust him again.
Nabila saw her first. She shook her head at the approaching figure. She was a faithful, but she didn’t know how people coped wearing hijab or a chador in this hot Kano weather. The woman that approached her not only had on a chador, but also a thin veil, that was transparent, but the features of the face could not be seen through it. The part of her hand that was not covered with the chador was fair She also noted that the woman walked with an obvious limp.
Nene (disguised): “Hello, you are mistletoe. I am so happy to meet you” she said with a slightly higher note so that her real voice could not be deciphered.
Nabila: “My pleasure” she said and smiled. Then something happened. A man walked to their table and sat down. Nene raised her veiled head and looked at him, it was Najim. She got up from the chair abruptly, and staggered backward. They had said Najim was dead, but here he was in the flesh.
Nabila: “You are surprised right, well that is what I wanted to blow your mind with. I saw that you did a background check on Najim and you know he is my childhood friend. But we are also betrothed and we plan to get married as soon as this whole mess is sorted out” she said with a satisfied smile.
Nene could not find her voice, she just looked at Najim who was sitting so carefree, and then his eyes fell on her. He looked at her and then removed his face like she was not interesting. What was Najim up to, why was he involved in this scam? What did she do to deserve such betrayal from them both? She felt sad and cold.
Nene told herself that she was stupid to have thought that humans could love each other even though they were from different tribes and religion. She agreed that her family was right when they said the Hausa loved themselves alone. But even if they weren’t going to love her, why were they trying to bring her down?
Nene: “How do you plan to get married when everyone thinks Najim is dead?” she asked.
Nabila: “We will say it was a rumour by evil people meant to cause mischief. By that time, Nene would be dead, if you do your part well. I know you are doing this because you love Kano and want it cleansed of these Igbos, but I will reward you handsomely” she said.
Nene could not even be happy that she had Nabila’s words on record, to clear her name when the time was right. All she cared about was that, she had lost her one great love.
Question: Why is Najim in on the scam that Nabila created, is he doing it willingly or forcefully? Also, what is Wale hiding from Nene?
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