Maximum security prison,
OJ – Episode 1
Unruffled by the uncertainty that loomed just ahead, Olakunle Johnson embraced the first day of his new life with arms wide-open. He was agreeably the calmest person on the bus.
He had a small scar close to his left eye, one that reminded him that his past held many sad tales. He stood at about 6.1fts, wore curly dark hair, dark eyes and lovely dark skin.
He looked at the other individuals on the prison bus, all of whom seemed so lost and frustrated, the chains on their hands and feet mirrored their hopelessness. Each man was confined to one section of the bus. Most of them had been condemned to spend the rest of their lives behind bars, locked away for crimes that ranged from armed robbery to murder.
The guards looked fiercel; they held automatic machine guns and looked ready to pull the trigger at the slightest provocation.
Olakunle’s gaze didn’t cross any other person’s.
He just looked from the roof to the metal floor of the ‘Black Maria’ but didn’t say a word.
A total of twenty-four prisoners were being transported to the prison on that day. They had two armored vehicle escorts and about twelve military personnel. The bus moved quickly leaving behind miles of used road. The bus came to a halt after its journey from the holding cells and as each man alighted, the ugly aroma of fear and confusion filled the air. It appeared as though Olakunle was the only person that didn’t perceive it.
The prisoners filed out and were made to stand in rows as they listened to the prison rules. The prison warden was a stern looking man; he wore his pot belly proudly, stood so close to the ground, one could barely see him behind a table. He carried a face that was as round as a soccer ball and he smelt of stale sweat yet he didn’t seem to care.
You Are Reading: OJ – Episode 1
He stood before the prisoners and introduced himself, “you will address me as Mr. Warden, is that clear?” there was no response, Mr. Warden wore anger on his face then yelled rhetorically, “Are you deaf? This is my prison! When I ask a question, I need an answer, is that clear?” the response was quick and in Unisom, “yes sir!”
He announced the rest of the rules after which he began a roll call. He called each prisoner by name and allocated a cell, “Olakunle Johnson”, he stopped and took a second look at the name, he whispered to the hearing of those at the end of the hall, “this lost soul has serious issues” then turning to Olakunle, he announced in vernacular, “OJ you go stay for inside private cell, make you carry yourself go Aso Rock” then he gave a deafening grin, pleased with himself as though he had just won a prize.
OJ entered his cell resolved to accept all it offered- a cold floor, a hard bed and a horrible smell. He didn’t bother to find out who had paid to have him kept in a private cell.
He thought to himself that if the private cell, a twelve square feet room occupied by ten inmates, was in such a deplorable state the general cell would be far worse.
He walked to the far side of the cell and allowed his gaze to wonder through the tiny window of his small cell. There was some happening to his. His senses were heightened, he found himself processing information so fast, something was different but he couldn’t remember how he came to become that way. He wasn’t in a hurry to speak a word, not even a ‘hello’ to his cellmates. He needed some time alone and although he was looking at life imprisonment for the crimes he had committed, it didn’t seem long enough.
“Dem talk say that OJ guy don chop witch” whispered Mohammed in a strong Hausa accent.
The other cell mates didn’t grace Mohammed with a response.
You Are Reading: OJ – Episode 1
Mohammed was slim and tall, the scars on his hands, neck and face revealed that he had suffered many misfortunes. He looked gentle and calm but was betrayed by his quick tongue. Mohammed had seen the inside of many prison and he always had a tale on two about them.
He walked up to OJ in an attempt to be ‘friendly’, he introduced himself and explained that he had stayed for two years in Kuje and Kirikiri prisons each, and then five years in Stone Bridge Prison. He explained that his journey to jail began when he exchanged hot words with a neighbour.
What started as a hot argument soon became a battle of blows. About 20 days later, the person he fought with died. Five days later he landed in Prisons. The worst part was that he was fighting the deceased because of a cow.
He explained that the first time he entered prison, he had never imagined that the prisons were as deplorable as he had met them, but he thanked God that he was held in the private section of the prison.
Mohammed ended his tale but OJ didn’t say a word, he stared at Mohammed with eyes void of emotions. Mohammed became scared and he retreated with his tail between his legs, most likely thinking about the reason for the emptiness he saw in OJ’s eyes.
He joined the company of the other inmates at the far end of the cell. Emeka, one of the inmates, could not hold back his amusement.
Emeka had an Igbo accent; he was about 6ft, had a lovely dark skin and was very handsome. His dark curly hair almost made him look like an Arabian, and, he made a deliberate effort to tell everyone that cared to listen that he had become a ‘church boy’, a ‘changed person’, a ‘born-again’. He never imagined that a short rest at the bus stop would land him in prison.
You Are Reading: OJ – Episode 1
He had a “good job” as a front desk officer in Ikeja, Lagos, he enjoyed all the perks that came with working for a global company. On the home front, he had not only moved into his own apartment, there was a woman in his life and they were madly in love. However, Emeka’s joy came to a brutal end when after a hard day’s work, he decided to withdraw some money at the ATM which was intended for buying food.
Feeling stressed out he stopped to rest on the side of the roadside. A little girl came to ask if it was okay to seat beside him, a request which he gladly obliged, and before he knew it, a crowd had gathered. Next thing he knew, he landed in court where he was accused of attempted kidnapping.
Two years three months after that incident, he was not convicted yet he was one of the over 315 inmates awaiting trial behind the high walls of Stone bridge Prison. It seemed like the prison life had made Emeka become very religious, he was always carrying a bible and praying quietly.
OJ wore silence like a robe and looked intently into the emptiness outside, his silence scared his cellmates. The cellmates became tired of the deafening silence but it was Mohammed that decided it was time to bully the new guy and although the other cellmates objected, Mohammed went on with his plan; it was, after all, a prison tradition.
As he came closer, OJ turned in his direction, revealing the scar close to his left eye, without looking up to see their faces, he said in a cold voice, “I destroyed my entire family in one night, I killed my father as though he was an animal”, he spoke each word emphatically and deliberately, almost giving each equal veneration and stressing the degree of damage he had done. After a short pause, he continued, demonstrating everything he said, “First I tied him up, and, I stabbed him until life left his body. I wasn’t moved by his tears and I didn’t need a reason for my action. I didn’t think twice about it. I just felt like killing and they were there”.
Then he lifted his head, without the slightest hint of fear, looked into Mohammed’s eyes, then he looked at the other inmates one by one. In a low voice he said, “that night I butchered them all, I saw them beg for death to come quickly. I don’t give a damn about you guys, if you want to try me, you better be ready”, he paused briefly then continued, “I will show you the grave in many different ways and just before you eventually go, you will beg for death to come quickly” then he turned around and continued to gaze through the window, looking blankly into the emptiness outside as though he hadn’t spoken a word.
…. To be continued.