THE WITNESS

The Baliff announced the presence of the Judge and the court rose as the judge entered once the judge had taken his seat the court registrar began calling out the cases that were on the court’s list for that day.

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It was raining heavily that night, as Osarobo drove from the State Ministry of Justice to Isibor Street somewhere in the Government Residential Area in Benin City.  Osarobo drove slowly to avoid the potholes that were on the road. He looked at the google map on his phone, hoping that he was on the right street. He had a long day at the office only for his boss to give him the task of going to prepare the witness for trial in court the next day. He looked up and saw the house and smiled at his phone, he parked his car some meters away from the house and walked carefully yo the house while looking around him recalling that he had been told that there had been a series of robberies in the neighborhood. That would explain the shops along the street that were closed save for a bar that was rumored to be owned by a politician in the state.

He clutched his file and glanced at his wristwatch it was a few minutes before 10 pm, knocking on the door he entered into the house and sat down. He opened his file and began questioning the witness. Osarobo was a junior state counsel at the State Ministry of Justice, and he was part of the prosecuting team in the high profile fraud case of Stetco Oil and Gas Limited. The case had begun a year ago and after series of adjournments and amendment of the charges, the prosecution was finally able to produce the witness in court.  The Witness who was the Financial Assistant in the company had gone into hiding when the scandal broke.  The DECD had arrested the Managing director and 2 other officers in the company who were accused of various charges ranging from money laundering to forgery and falsifying documents.

The accused persons were charged to the State High Court a few months after, amidst a huge media frenzy that had followed especially as the managing director was quite popular in some social circles, he had graced the covers of some magazines in the country. Osarobo looked at the witness and felt sorry for her there had been several attempts on her life. It  was as a result of this that she had been brought to this house which was supposedly to keep her safe so she could testify against the accused persons in court. He brought out his writing pad and began asking her questions.

When he was done Osarobo left and drove to his house, his phone rang and checking the caller id he recognized his wife’s number. He picked up the call and told her he was on his way home. He put on the radio and the sounds of MI’s safe filled the car he got to the Ringroad and was stopped by policemen at the checkpoint. He brought out his papers as he put the car light on, the policemen seeing his Wig and Gown in the car hailed him and allowed him to drive off.

The morning of the trial Osarobo met his boss the Attorney General of the state who had decided to prosecute the case himself. He was an astute legal practitioner of over Ten years and he was known in the legal circles as one who was not only intelligent but very sharp. He had on a number of occasions during trial boxed witnesses into a corner without them realizing that he was doing that. This was going to be one of the biggest trials of his career and he was prepared. He had arrived early in court and had gone over the questions he had for the witness. She was their last witness and he intended to close the case for the prosecution after the witness had given her testimony.

The Baliff announced the presence of the Judge and the court rose as the judge entered once the judge had taken his seat the court registrar began calling out the cases that were on the court’s list for that day.

The Attorney General rose once the case was called and after announcing his appearance the defence counsel did same. The Attorney General then proceeded to call the witness. When the witness was called she rose and was sworn into the witness box. The Attorney General rose up and began his Examination In Chief of the witness.

Tadera was dressed in a blue dress with brown heels. She walked slowly to the building opposite the High Court. She had been to the court on several occasions and was quite familiar with the buildings within the court. Walking slowly with her handbag she looked at her phone the message said target was in court, she walked faster and got to the office she was to use. She assembled the rifle and looked the witness was at the witness stand and placed the rifle on the table, arranging the lenses she looked and when she had a clear shot at the witness she pulled the trigger.

The Attorney General was asking the witness a question when a loud blast hit the courtroom. The windowpanes shattered from the weight of the bullets of the gun and a few pieces of broken glass from the shattered windows hit the Attorney General. There was a commotion as the Police orderly attached to the judge ran towards the judge to protect him. People ran out of their seats and journalists took pictures of the scene. Osarobo looked up and saw that the witness had been shot.

Tadera was out of the court and on her way out of the city in a commercial Bus when she heard the news on the radio. The witness had been severely wounded and was in an undisclosed hospital, fighting for her life. She opened her phone cursing the fact that it had no network she turned her phone off. This was the first time she had not killed the target but she knew the bullets had injured the witness. She thought to herself that she needed to leave the country that day. Although her contact had booked her on a flight she had made her own plans as she always did. Once she got to Lagos she intended to board a bus to Ghana and from there she would be on the next flight to France…….

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