Rago couldn’t believe his eyes, what just happened? He killed someone. The kid fell to the ground, instantly, soaked in his pool of blood. “No!” The mother shouted in immense agony. The father rushed to the dead kid, thrombing the kid, hoping it was all a dream.
Rago stood, struck to his space. The band disbanded, each finding their way out of the compound. The gunshot woke the street. Rago couldn’t move. He broke down, to his knees, tears dripping down his face. He still couldn’t comprehend what was going on.
The guns were meant to be empty. How did he end up with a loaded gun. The mother rushed at him, pulling at his shirt, wailing, vituperating, seething, he had killed her son. Expressing her pain in Yoruba words. It was her only child. Now, he killed him.
The husband clanked at his phone, ringing the police station. Rago wasn’t even ready to run. He didn’t have the mind to run. He remained bewildered, unsure of what was going on. The next reality he got aware of was the falling of a handcuff on his hands.
It was 3am now, but the compound was buzzing. The neighbors were awake, the police set perimeters, the criminal was being secluded to avoid being mobbed. Life came at Rago fast, 14 years of no reasonable life ending very fast. The dead body was taken away, the couple weeping in the van that drove out of the compound first. They just couldn’t leave their son, not yet. Curled in the embrace of her husband, the woman cursed, cussed and wept.
The boy was dead, but Rago was the living dead. All things were easy for him, but taking someone’s life? Something went wrong and none of the band boys were there for him, again. Why is life always throwing him lemons. Why is life so difficult and full of tragedy? Whenever he tried to escape from his reality, life happens – in a bad way.
The police didn’t treat him as a juvenile, Hausa kids are known criminals, especially those of his social class. They held no respect for the law, hence, they were always treated without respect. Rago couldn’t say a word, his head bowed till the van pulled over at the police station. Pulled down, he hit leg against a sharp end of the van. Bleeding profusely, he held his pain, the police officers paid no attention
He was a murderer, he needed to face the music. He couldn’t write a statement, the police took that of the deceased parents. Soon, immense police brutality fell on him. He needed to confess, but what could he confess. That he thought he held an empty bullet? The inspector yelled and threatened, limited in the weapons he could use to interrogate him.
“Throw him back in the cell” the inspector shouted, after 3 hours of interrogation with no fruition. The tears couldn’t stop for Rago. Suffering from what he knew not. He had vivid memory of the fact that they were given empty guns. Just how?
“me yasa kuka yi shi?” (Why did you do it?) A calm female inspector finally asked, three weeks into his stay in the station.
“ban sani ba abin da ya faru” (I don’t know what happened), he replied, his head bowed in dried blood. Battering by the men of the force left him with bruises and wounds all over.
The female inspector laid down his crimes in plain words, to him; armed robbery, murder, destruction of property, amongst other things the family may decide to lay on him if he doesn’t talk. If only he had a defence, his sentence could be reduced to manslaughter. He would however still get a combined sentence of over 100 years. What then is there to such life.
He finally spoke, but no jury in the world would take his plea for mercy. No judge in the world would discharge and acquit him. But, something must have gone wrong. He knew, but no one would take his case. Absolutely no one would defend a poor hobo who had nothing to offer.
In two months, the judge ruled, he was sentenced to 97 years in prison, after much plea. His sentence would start at a juvenile prison and in four years, he would be transferred to a maximum security prison. The crash of an already crashed life. Destruction of a life that held no prior meaning. He was alone in the world.
Two years into his sentence, Alpha came to see him. Alpha was the most quiet in the band of dirt pickers Rago used to be in. He simply observed and followed rules. He saw everything, he knew everything. But, no one would listen. It took him so long to be able to see Rago.
“aka shafe ku” (you were implicated) Alpha told him in the meeting area. Rago couldn’t believe his ears, someone actually knows the truth. But it was going to be near impossible to get him out. He wasn’t jailed because he took a gun, but he shot at someone. That’s all that mattered. But he needed answers.
It was Balarabe. He had told Gaddo to switch Rago’s gun. Rago couldn’t believe his ears. Balarabe was his best friend in the band. What would make him do such. What was the cause of the conspiracy?