20 YEARS LATER, FEBRUARY 2018
The Church of The Holy Overflow, Sango Ota had just bought a new land and were having their ground-breaking ceremony. There was excitement in the air as the Head Pastor raised his pick and hit it on the ground. Cheers followed along with snapshots by professional photographers and amateurs with phones. The diggers took over while church members went to devour the plates of rice that had been generously supplied.
3 hours later and still digging, a bricklayer was surprised when his shovel packed up something that looked vaguely like fingers from a skeleton. Convincing himself that it was only the remains of an animal, he continued digging and then screamed loud when he shovelled up what he saw was a whole human palm.
His scream brought the other workmen around and careful further digging of the site showed that there was indeed a human body lying beneath the surface there. Pastor Jeremiah Akanni, Senior Pastor immediately called the police to the site and an hour later, they were there and sealed off the place.
Only Pastor Akanni’s high stand in society and the knowledge that he had only procured the land a few weeks ago saved him from being the No 1 suspect in connection to the body lying underground. The body was carefully exhumed to preserve the bones and submitted for autopsy at the state Lab.
The case was very high profile, as the nation was experiencing a spate of ritual killings and Pastor Akanni’s church was linked very often to the skeleton that was found. In a bid to assuage the people, the Governor insisted that everything must be done to find out how the body got there in the first place.
The State Medical Examiner, after the Autopsy concluded that the body he found was that of a female in her late teens. She died from nothing less than 6 stab wounds. He could only tell that number because of the markings that had been left on her rib bones by whatever instrument had been used. He also determined that the bones had been in the ground for nothing less than 18 years.
Immediately Police got to working on the case and checked for females in their late teens who had been declared missing between 17 to 20 years ago around that area. One case stood out for them and was very glaring. The case of Adaora Chineme, the 18 year old University Student that had gone missing around that time.
It took them a long while to track down Ada’s family for they had moved to settle in the USA when their daughter, Sochi was due to attend University almost 13 years ago. They finally managed to get the family through their relatives still in Nigeria and when the Chinemes heard what had been discovered, they took a flight back home along with Sochi who was married and pregnant with her second child.
When they got back to Nigeria and reported at the Ogun state Command handling the case, they were told that because of the decomposition of the body, they would need DNA samples from her mother to compare with the bones they found.
Mrs Chineme obliged them all the while praying that the body would not be that of her daughters’. All along, she had hoped that somehow, somewhere, Ada was still alive and healthy. If the results showed that indeed the body was Ada’s, it would mean that her daughter had been dead for years. The mere thought sent her into tears.
Three weeks later, the results were out and they showed that indeed, the remains were that of Adaora. The police started working the case to see what could have led to her being killed in that area but they couldn’t find anything. There were no witnesses, no leads and most of the people who once knew about the case had since moved on.
A week later, a burial ceremony for Ada was to hold in her hometown in Owerri in Imo state and her family members were devastated. Her mother cried her eyes out as other woman tried to placate her and her pregnant sister, Sochi was a mess. The pain was much, it was like losing her all over again and they never even got to say goodbye properly.
When the ambulance bearing the body arrived and Ada’s remains were laid, her mother broke from the other women and ran to the casket, tears streaming down her face.
Mrs Chineme: “God!! God!! You said I should serve you and obey you, you said I should do your will, is this my reward? Is this what you promised me? That they will stab my daughter and leave her in the ground like she has no one? God where are you?” She screamed as she cried. The other women tried to move her but she would not go.
Woman 1: “Chidindu, biko kwusi ibe akwa, God is not asleep, Nne. Please stand up”.
Woman 2:“Chidindu, jikonata onwe gi, biko” (patting her on the back and also crying)
Other women gathered and dragged Chidindu Chineme away from the casket but she only cried louder.
Mrs Chineme: “Adaora uwam, how can you sleep? How can you not fight? Why would you let them do this to you and get away with it? God, God, God, where is your face?”
When they brought her back to the front of the house, her pregnant daughter grabbed her around the waist and cried against her shoulders.
Sochi: “Mummy it is well! Don’t cry anymore, biko.” She sniffled, “God will avenge Ada. He is a God of vengeance, he will not fail us.”
All along, Mr Chineme stood on the other side staring out, unable to hide the tears that slipped out of his eyes. The men rallied around him and patted his back, they told him to take heart and be a man. He almost wished that they had never found her body for he had already let her go in his mind, now he had to start the pain all over again.
The priests came and conducted the interment service later that day and as they poured sand on Ada thesecond time, the skies opened up and poured all over them. Her father looked up in the skies and spoke to God
Mr Chineme: “Nobody should ever know the grave of their children. That is not the bargain I made when I chose to serve you. Now, Ada is dead, someone killed her. God do not sleep oh, do not sleep at all. They have brought grief to our hearts in our old age, they have removed happiness from our lives and they have filled it with anguish. God, whoever is responsible, let sleep be far from them, let happiness elude them and let them know the kind of pain my daughter felt when they took her.”
And then thunder rumbled in accent and lightening said yes.
Sister Rita of Our Lady of Sacred Hearts was asleep on her bed when she saw the thunder. She heard screams of agony, she saw blood and felt pain and she woke up screaming. She wasn’t alone in her room. She shared the room with Sister Mary. They were both nuns in the convent in Edo state.
Sister Mary: Rushing to Sister Rita’s bedside, “What is it, Sister Rita? What happened?” She asked as she rubbed her shoulders in comfort.
Sister Rita: “I’m okay, I’m fine, and all is well. Thank you, Sister Mary.”
Sister Mary: “Are you sure? You were screaming just now.”
Sister Rita: “Yes, I’m sure, I’m okay, don’t worry, go back to bed. It was just a dream.” She rolled over as sister Mary returned to her bed but she couldn’t sleep. She tried to see whose face it had been in her dream but she couldn’t tell who it was. She felt scared all over again. All her life, her dreams had always come true, good or bad. That was a gift she had. And she was certain this one would too, she just didn’t know who it would be.
Ever since, she had made that mistake and refused to tell her best friend about the dream that showed that something would happen to her, she had promised herself that no matter what it took, she would always tell anyone what she saw about them no matter what. For all of these years since she had become a Nun, she had always kept to her word for she wanted no repeat of the disastrous consequences of keeping silent.
She remembered the dream again, heard the glasses shattering, the thunder and she heard the screams and saw blood. She was very scared and she wondered what was going to happen and who it would happen to.
She knelt down by her bed and said a quick prayer of mercy and preservation for the people around her.
Vengeance, they say, is a dish best served cold. Wouldn’t you want to know what Karma has dished up for Ada’s Killers?
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