“It’s bad. It’s really bad”
It’s been four days since Leona read those lines from a message Deji sent to her and what a crazy four days it had been. She had to act normal around her boss whom she was sure was onto her and her brain was scattering. She had never felt so hopeless in her life.
“Your boss was in my office yesterday” Deji had said when Leona called him back. “They want me to program a virus into some SIM cards”
Leona tried so much to be calm but her heart and hands were not listening. They shook as though there was an earthquake happening within. “What kind of Virus Deji?” She asked.
“Well it is not a virus per se; but that is the only way I can explain it to the lay man – or woman in your case” Deji answered, with a little bit of dry humor tone.
“You can still joke abi?” Leona shot back, feeling a wee sense of relief. Of course that vanished as quickly as Deji continued talking.
“When activated, the radiation levels of the host phone is amplified to infinity and will cause an explosion” Deji paused. “Leona! are you there?”
“How can I not be?” Leona replied “And you have agreed to do this?”
“Yes I have” Deji answered “I am in a tight spot”
“What do you mean by that Deji?” Leona asked not knowing what she expected the answer to be.
“These are powerful men” Deji started “And they have threatened to harm my pregnant wife.” His voice shook as he spoke.
“Oh no” Leona gasped “I am so sorry to hear that.” There was a brief pause.
Deji spoke next. “Leona how did you know to reach us about this? Why did you pick three of us?”
Leona knew the details were long and there was no time to explain. “I promise I will explain when this is over Deji”
“You mean when you people have accomplished your plan?” Deji shot back angrily.
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?” Leona didn’t realize her voice was raised. “DEJI! Are you implying…”
“Save it abeg!” Deji interrupted
There was another brief pause before Leona spoke calmly “Deji I know you are scared. I am scared too. If our bosses know this call is happening, I don’t know what they will do to us. If I had anything to do with this, what would be my gain in letting all of you know? Come on”
Deji breathed deeply “I am sorry Leona” he started. “I am stressed and I know you are not involved. I said No o. I said I will quit my job but your boss…”
“Go on?” Leona didn’t know when she had stood up and started pacing her rom. “My boss did what?”
“He knows me Leona” Deji said “he knows my whole family and that is how he has trapped me”
“I don’t follow Deji” Leona was clearly confused.
“My mom is Hausa and she doesn’t relate with her family on the count that she married a Christian” Deji was leading somewhere and Leona listened patiently.
“As fate would have it” Deji paused “Shit! I can’t believe this is happening”
“What Deji?” Leona was reaching her suspense limit.
“Your boss is my uncle… My mom’s immediate elder brother” Deji was sounding hopeless.
“Oh God!” Leona gasped. She thought back to the night she almost got caught. They said they needed someone they could leverage on…someone who would keep his mouth shut. That someone had turned out to be Deji.
“So you see Leona” Deji continued “I will install the software on those SIMs”
“We have to do something to stop this” Leona had summoned some courage “Can it be deactivated once installed?”
“Well, there is the prime and there are clones” Deji said. “The clone SIMs can’t do anything except the prime asks them to. They are harmless on their own. So the person whose phone houses the prime SIM has to activate the clones”
“So how many SIMs are you programming? And how many days will it take?” Leona asked.
“Total of seven” Deji replied “One prime; six clones”
“How many days will it take?” Leona asked again
“I have to go for now” Deji rushed “please call me tomorrow around this time”
Deji did say in about 3 days he would be done although he didn’t know where the SIMs would be sent to or how and when they would be used, Leona had made out a cheque to Conquerors’ Domain following her boss’s orders and she had made few calls to Emeka and Malaud. Still with no headway as to solving the mystery.
As Leona sipped her coffee in her kitchen that Saturday morning (4 days since Deji told her of the SIMs and software). Her mind took her back to the night she had to sneak under her table to avoid Alhaji; and how she went into his office the next day to find out more.
She had resumed rather early and making use of her opportunity to tidy files in his office, she hoped to find anything that would lead her to making sure their plan didn’t work. She didn’t search long when she found a piece of paper.
It didn’t say much but it started her on the path of who to talk to. She quickly took a screen shot of the paper:
Her company had a farm in Nassarawa state which was close to Abuja and that is where most of their food was grown. They had a lot of labourers there.
Leona shook as the sound of her phone ringing brought her attention back to the present. She looked down at it and exhaled as she answered.
“Hello Sir” Leona said. Trying to hide the worry in her voice.
“Yes Leona” came Alhaji’s voice “Please go to the office and pick up a parcel from the gateman” It wasn’t unusual for Leona to be given impromptu tasks on a Saturday. “Then Abdul is waiting to take you to the farm”
“Okay Sir” Leona answered. She was Alhaji’s favourite staff as she never complained when she was given tasks. A salary of N500,000 monthly and free housing also helped.
“Are you sure you are okay Leona” her boss asked “you have not been your self of recent”
“Oh sir I am fine” Leona said quickly “I will get right to the office”
About three hours later, Leona was approaching the farm entrance with a somewhat heavy parcel. She couldn’t figure out what it was nut it’s dimensions were about that of 4 egg crates stacked ontop each other. She was too busy thinking about people dying in Abuja to care about a farm delivery.
“Madam” a calm Hausa accent called out “How body?”
Leona smiled as she got out of the black Range Rover which had brought her from Abuja.
“Malaud” she said “I don’t know if I am fine jare; but it’s good to see you”
“Madam no worry too much ooo” Malaud said smiling “See dis life? Worry no dey help ooo”
“I know malaud; but how I go do? If oga dey plan sometin wey bad”
“No worry madam” Malaud assured “Allah no go gree”
Leona smiled again. “Thank you Jare; Oga said I should give you this” With that Leona handed over the parcel to Malaud.
He grabbed it with excitement and said “Finally”
What is in the parcel “Leona found herself asking”
“No mind me madam” Malaud said casually. “E suppose be the phones wey him talk say him go give us”
***TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK***