Prove your humanity

By Zaynah McAdam

Dear Bana,

It is sad that you wouldn’t get this. But I wouldn’t live with myself if I didn’t reply to your letter. Yes, I received it, and my uttermost shock of getting a letter from you almost matched the intensity of the sadness I felt after reading it. The more the reason I had to reply it. My best friend Bella thinks I’m nuts! Sitting here writing to someone who isn’t in our world, instead of enjoying the romantic thriller movie over popcorn like she is, especially since it’s our day off from work. However for me, this letter is a chance for me to bid you farewell, an act of friendship and fondness, that of which we never got to explore to our fullest. I remember vividly the love and companionship that we shared. Happy moments they were, and I am glad I got to experience it all with you. That is why I have NOT forgotten you. I have always waited for the day we would meet again.

Just like you were sure the prison guard would get the letter to me, somewhere deep down within me I know you will view the content of this letter. I wonder if you will read it as many times as I read yours. I felt pain in my heart every time I did. An atrocious end to such a wonderful man. You were right; Billy was quite shocked when you shouted out your plea to him. As a High court judge, he was used to difficult cases, with long and no doubt dramatic court proceedings. Plus I had promised him a run for his seat. You wonder how I was involved? When you packed your bags and left for the Navy- your dad never stopped pushing you to join it until you did even though it broke your mama’s heart- I joined the school of law at UoN, University of Nigeria. Five years later I started practicing and it took me three years to start my own firm, Zole and Advocates. Billy envied my success in the Private Law world since he had joined the government courts. He was a class ahead of us in primary school, you don’t remember him, neither did I until we met in Law school.

I had no knowledge of where you were or how you were fairing until I got a call from Billy gloating over how he was going to be the judge in your case. That was when I appointed the best of us to represent you in court. I could not myself since I would have been emotionally involved with the client, you. Nevertheless, I brought everything I had to the table. I researched thoroughly, interviewed everyone I could and prepared all there was to use in court. I had planned to save your life and freedom if it was the last thing I did. So yes, Billy was shocked, but it was more from the fact that you gave up easily without a fight rather than what you had shouted boldly at court. I hadn’t planned to let you see me before lest I jeopardize the strong case we had built for you, but after your plea of death to Billy, I had to see you! That‘s when he chose to use his powers against me. He issued strict orders that you should receive no visitors nor food and water till the next day.

So no, I dint find out about your story on the copy of Guardian of 19th September that had Senator Okubo accused of stealing seven million naira, but way before that. I was completely stupefied to find what choice of ‘work’ you had turned to. Who would have thought, in a million years, that Bana Igodegbo of Adaora village would become an armed robber. What happened with Monica must have hit you hard. You were the most thoughtful and kind.. How do I know about Monica, you ask? After I opened my firm, I came across your name during a case which involved the Ministry of Defense. I asked around and was directed to your place. That’s where I met Monica, who was your fiancé. She wasn’t a good chap, that girl. Saw me as a threat and told me things I wouldn’t want to repeat. She then warned me to stay away from you. I dint want to break no family so I did. But during the investigation on your case, I found out that you weren’t happily married with kids, that she had broken off the engagement, aborted your child and ran away with the chief’s son. I would throttle her if I saw her.

What you dint know is that Monica had one brother, dismissed as Sergeant for looting one of the neighboring camps. Yes, Sazan was Monica’s brother. He must have taken pity on you for what his sister did and convinced you to join his gang. You were most vulnerable then; you had lost your job, your fiancée, and your child.

I agree theft and squandering of riches has been done by many, still is and will be for a long time; on different professions in every facet of our lives. But joining them and claiming that you are doing nothing different from the rest doesn’t help the situation. And guess what; Black is also the colour of the precious Obsidian and Tourmaline gems, the colour of the people of Africa the most fertile continent, and the colour of the sky at night, to let us see the sparkling stars and the bold moon.

I held my composure quite well, but teared up after everyone left at your funeral. Yes you had a funeral, that I made sure. After your death I claimed your body. Your pretty sculpture lies comfortably on your tombstone, right above your boldly imprinted epitaph, just like you wanted. Dear, the world isn’t bad, the people in it are. Tell Jimba I did shed a tear to honor him, in fact two.

Well my time is almost up. I have to rush to get this letter to the post office before they close up. Only thirty minutes left to… oh no, I don’t have any address, and you are no more. But I will keep it. Show it to my children and grandchildren; as we go on with this arbitrary battle. We will beat them, or die trying.

Goodbye my dear friend.

With Love,