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Judas and the driver

By Sam Umukoro
23 October 2021   |   6:00 am
Judas left his house in Ikorodu, a suburb in Lagos, three days ago.

Driver PHOTO: Pixabay

Judas left his house in Ikorodu, a suburb in Lagos, three days ago.

He was happy to be away from his family for some days. Freedom from his nagging wife and the depressing reminder of his failure to cater for his family.

At home, Judas was imprisoned by his inadequacy to give his seven children a decent life: his meagre take-home every month as a sergeant couldn’t take him home in peace. His failure to provide had made him lose the respect of his wife. She wanted him to get another job and leave the farce.

Judas was under pressure, weighed down by family responsibilities; he was bitter with society, life had been unfair to him. He was also angry with the system, he had never been posted to a beat that could fetch good returns from unlawful arrests and extortion. So when he was informed about a special assignment in a notable part of the city, he was elated, hoping that it would be an opportunity to make some good money.

Hakeem lived in the same suburb.

He was retrenched from a bank after a major reorganisation. To fend for his family, he became a taxi driver. He
signed up with a ride-hailing app and in no time was making enough money to provide for his family – not well paying as his job as a banking officer, but sufficient. Moreover, the family’s income was augmented by his wife’s
salary as a teacher in a private school.

His target customers were on the island – the swanky part of the city. So, he usually left Ikorodu as early as 4
am to operate on the Island. He got more passengers on the island, trips were frequent and extortion from law
enforcement officers was not as brazen as on the mainland.

Most days, his trips were smooth and without incidents, except on a few occasions when he was unlucky to pick an
infamous Lekki big girl or boy (that’s a story for another day).

Agnes had one dream in life: to be a good housewife. She married Judas not out of love, but a necessity – she got pregnant and her parents insisted that Judas must marry her. It was not a big deal for her, because marriage had always been on the cards; she desperately wanted someone’s son to find her worthy of marriage.

Along came Judas and the rest was history.

After 12 years and seven children, Agnes wanted to turn back the hands of the clock. Marriage was indeed not a bed of roses and hers was all thorns. Penury cut short her dream of being a full-time housewife. She took to petty trading in foodstuffs, which could not yield any profit because they usually ended as a staple for her family. Her first son, Bright, who just got admission into the Rapid Learners Montesorri secondary school in the neighbourhood, was allowed to resume because one of her regular customers who was also a teacher in the school pleaded with the proprietor to give Agnes another one month to complete the payment of the school fees.

Now, before we continue, the school was only Montessori in the name; it did not embody the Montessori school methodologies, values and principles. For the proprietor adding ‘Montesorri’ to the name would enhance its reputation.

Hakeem’s wife, Solape, loved children. Although after 8 years of marriage, she was still searching for the
fruit of the womb – to borrow from a popular Nigerian pentecostal lexicon. Teaching also allowed her to
work with children. Although qualified to teach a senior class, she chose the junior class: 11-13 was a viable
teaching age range for her.

Solape was diligent, kind, and dedicated to the well-being of her students. She intervened when the child of the petty trader in her neighbour was almost suspended because of school fees. Unknowingly to Agnes, the mother of the child, Solape and her husband had agreed to complete the payment if the mother could not come up with the balance.

Judas was on a special assignment.

Before the patrol team left, other officers who had been on previous assignments regaled them about the lucrativeness of the beat. One even boasted that he made his one month salary in one day. Morale was high and expectations were great.

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