Bimpe: “Jesus”! She screamed. She ran out to where the housekeeper was still crying, and held her by the shirt.
Bimpe: “What did you do to Alhaji, what did you do to my husband?” she yelled shaking the woman.
Housekeeper: “I swear, I did not kill him. He was supposed to be with Alhaja Zainab, I gave them their food and retired to my quarters, but received a call from here asking for snack, it was a strange call because Alhaji doesn’t eat by 11:50 pm, I came here and saw him like that” she said amidst sobs. By this time, someone had called the police, Bimpe could hear their siren. She rushed back inside and saw the wives on the floor wailing.
Bimpe: “You murderer! Were you so mad that he loved me and showered me with gifts that you could kill him?” You wicked old woman, didn’t you enjoy Alhaji for years, why couldn’t you allow me enjoy my husband” she wailed, pointing at Alhaja Zainab. The police van drove into the estate, and parked in front of Alhaji’s house. They went into the house; soon the coroner came too and began to take down preliminary notes.Right there in the house, just next door, the police set up a make shift interrogation room and began to call in people in the house one after the other. They called the housekeeper before anyone else, since she found the dead body.
Detective 1: “Woman, tell us what happened here?”
Housekeeper: “Yesterday at 8pm, I served Alhaja and Alhaji their dinner, and stocked the refrigerator in the kitchen with the wine they requested for, and left, then…”
Detective 2: “Holl’up holl’up, are you saying you last saw Alhaji Dambazzau with a woman, in the person of Alhaja Zainab?”
Housekeeper: “Yes it was her night to spend with Alhaji, I left them together”
Detective 1: “Was there any other person with them, his body guards?”
Housekeeper: “They are always dismissed when any of the wives are with him, I saw nobody but the two of them”
Detective 2: “Go ahead with your story”
Housekeeper: “Then at 11:50 pm, a call came in the housekeeping quarters, I received it and a woman asked me to bring a snack. It was a strange request, Alhaji doesn’t eat snack by that time of the night, not even when he is with his new wife. I thought it was Alhaja on the phone, so I went. Reaching the house, I saw Alhaji in a pool of blood, I screamed and screamed”
The detectives began to scribble in their notepads, afterwards they dismissed the housekeeper and called in others, the other wives were sleeping, even the children who were resident at the estate, they all came out when they heard the scream. They also interrogated the security men at the gate of the estate, who told the detectives that no visitor was in the estate as at 7pm, and none had come to the estate since then. Also, none of the residents left the estate after 7pm. Bimpe was called in after the children; she was still in her sleeping robe, her eyes were swollen from crying, and she was still carrying her bed hair, she was the perfect picture of grief.
Detective 2: “So madam, what happened here today” Bimpe began to sob, phlegm mixed with tears rolled down to her robe.
Bimpe: “I don’t know how it happened, I know I slept and woke up to the sound of a scream. I rushed out of my house and saw people gathered in front of my husband’s house. We should ask Alhaja why she killed our husband; I just married him and have not even enjoyed him enough. He still had so much to offer to the world, how people can be so cruel. The murderer must be brought to justice”
Detective 1: “Did you kill Alhaji Dambazzau?”
Bimpe: “My heart is too pure to hold such evil intention, all I have been preoccupied with, is taking care of Alhaji, you see, Alhaji married me because he wanted to live longer, anytime I am with him, he feels younger. He once said I was good for his heart rate. He has shown me nothing but love. But Alhaja has been bitter since I got married to Alhaji, yesterday he bought me a gift, Alhaja was watching and I saw the hatred in her eyes, I was even scared. Also she once told me that if Alhaji dies, she would make sure I got nothing. Oh God, how would I have known that she planned to kill him” she began to wail loudly. The detectives looked at each and began to scribble tentatively in their notepads.
Detective 2: “Did you see Alhaja go into Alhaji’s house?”
Bimpe: “Yes, I saw her go in at about 7pm, but I slept around 10 and didn’t see her leave before then”
Detective 1: “Alright, let’s hear from others, we will contact you. In the meantime, you must not leave the state till our investigations are complete” Bimpe left the house still crying, she walked slowly to her room, while everybody looked at her and wondered why she was taking it the hardest.
Woman 1: “Perhaps Alhaji promised her something, and now that he is dead, he cannot fulfill his promise”
Woman 2: “perhaps Alhaji has not updated his will, now she will be left with nothing” They all speculated. Alhaja Zainab was the last person to be called in, she had been crying silently. But now she was also scared, Alhaji died on the day she was to spend the night with him, and the housekeeper saw them last together.
Alhaja: “I did not kill Alhaji” she said immediately she came into the room. The detective kept quiet and just stared at her.
Alhaja: “I didn’t kill him, even though he married a new wife, I am his first wife, and I was here when he married two other wives, why would I kill him for one more wife?” They still did not say anything to her, but they started scribbling again, in their notepads.
Detective 1: “If you didn’t kill Alhaji, who did, tell us. You must know, you were the last one with him”
Alhaja: “The truth is that, I was supposed to spend the night with Alhaji, but after dinner, we were not connecting. This has been the problem since he married that little wench. He spends all his energy on her and has none left for us. Then he asked me to leave that he wanted to go through some of his documents.”
Detective 2: “And this annoyed you greatly, yes?”
Alhaja: “It did, but not enough to kill him”
Detective 2: “Anger is deadly, when it lays hold on you, you lose touch with sense, until you have destroyed the object of your anger”
Alhaja: “Please, I did not kill Alhaji, dan allah” she began to cry.
Detective 1: “We will get back to you, we advise that you do not leave the state till our investigation is complete” They said and packed up. The coroner ordered the paramedics to take the body to the hospital.
Coroner: “Death was caused by the stab to the chest which obviously penetrated the heart. Also the cut wounds on the arms show there was struggle. The arm wounds were close range, means that Alhaji Dambazzau knew his assailant” he explained his findings to the detectives and they scribbled in their notepads. Soon the whole security team cleared off the estate leaving its residents to their mourning.
That same day, burial preparations began in earnest till 7am in the morning. Alhaja was beginning to feel a bit relaxed since the detectives did not carry her with them, now she was looking forward to the reading of Alhaji’s will and testament. The thing that gladdened her heart was the thought that Alhaji had not foreseen his death; therefore he had not updated his will to accommodate his latest wife. Also she, Zainab, was the wife of his youth; she married him when he was still finding his footing in politics and the business world, so she expected that she and her children would get the lion share. She made a note to call her eldest son, Yusuf, who was in the United States, to come back home. So she threw her heart into the preparations. As expected, she kept Bimpe away from the preparations, and she told herself that as soon as the dust was settled, she would throw her out back to the gutters where Alhaji picked her from.
After washing the body, Alhaji was wrapped in, three, white linen and transported to the mosque which he built at Obalende. Bimpe dressed in a black jalabiya with a veil covering her head, she went with the family to the mosque in a separate car. On her way, a call came into her phone.
Bimpe: “Meet me by 8pm this evening, at the usual location, don’t be late” she said simply and hung up. The funeral was to be held at the open courtyard in the mosque, dignitaries had come from all over Lagos and outside Lagos to attend the burial. Bimpe scanned the audience; she was watching a tall burly man who kept looking at her, that she didn’t realize when Dominic was by her side. He held her hand and turned her to face him.
Dominic: “I can bet my life that you killed Alhaji. I would never think you capable of such, you deceive people with your cool and almost vulnerable exterior, but when I heard of your marriage to Alhaji, I knew you could sting like a black widow”
Bimpe: “What the hell are you talking about, I couldn’t have killed Alhaji, he was good to me, and I am not just talking about finances. He was great in bed, he made sure that I climaxed every time, he was not pretentious, he was open to any fetish I introduced, I was his muse. That is what I never had with you, you only hump and grunt in bed till you are spent, not bothered if I was satisfied or not. So I would gain nothing by killing him”
Dominic: “You met him at that dinner, didn’t you? You are just a whore” he spat and Bimpe gave him a resounding slap.
Bimpe: “Respect my husband, you urchin. You will regret what you have done here, I promise you” she said and walked away. While the prayer was ongoing, a police van drove into the prayer ground, blowing siren. The wives, including Bimpe who were standing at the front, close to Alhaji’s body turned in surprise. The two detectives from earlier came out and walked straight to the wives.
Detective 1: “Alhaja Zainab, you are under arrest for the murder of Alhaji Dambazzau” he said and shoved an arrest warrant to her face. The media men who were given exclusive rights to cover the funeral went into frenzy, they had just struck gold.
Alhaja: “Dan allah, I did not kill me gida” she wailed as she was handcuffed and taken away.
Question: Did Alhaja Zainab really kill her husband, or is she being set up?
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