The atmosphere in the court room was tensed, hostile and unbearable. Everyone looked at me with disdain and disapproval. Mitchell would take a glance at me and nod her head to the both sides of her shoulders, and then lay it down. Each person in the court room wore the look of hate. For a moment it felt like they were all talking to me at the same time, and I could distinctively hear them.
I’m disappointed in you…. How could you do this…? Nicole! Were you planning to poison me too?.......... hahahaha… look at her… she is finished now……….
The voices gushed into my head like a flood and the faces of my co-workers flashed through my eyes - they stared horribly at me. Their eyes did all the talking; they spoke with a ghostly voice to me.
Mrs. Maria Banks was the presiding judge over my case.
Miss Nicole Smith, can you tell this honorable court the reason you poisoned Mr. Jide, before I commence judgment?
Silence encapsulated the room and it chocked me like poisonous gas. For a moment it felt like I was going to die.
Don’t you have anything to say? The judge asked keenly again.
Then I cleared my throat carefully, took some air in to calm my nerves down and started;
My name is Nicole Smith, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Ogunsayo. I am the second child in the family. My senior sister was Bella and Nifemi is my younger sister. My dad died while we were young, and my mother took over his business empire. She managed it diligently with hard work and prayer. Her earnest desire was to give us the best education and prepare us for the great task of overseeing dad’s business……………..
Tears rolled out of my eyes like hot drops of water from a whistling kettle, and then I lost control of my voice.
Ev…..ery….thin…..g moved fine and we embraced little fear for our future, not until Mr. Adebayo Jide came into my elder sister’s life.
Bella was in 200 level in the famous Obafemi Awolowo university, Ile Ife, when I visited in April 2009; that’s six years ago. Mum had suggested that I pay her a surprise visit after processing my admission in the prestigious university of Ilorin. It was then that I got to know her boyfriend, who today is my boss, Mr. Adebayo Jide……
Surprise and shock swelled on Jide’s face. There was humming here and there in the court…
……………The next time I visited Bella, she told me about her pregnancy for Jide, I was stunned and shouted at her.
How could you do this to us, especially our mother, she will be extremely disappointed. I told her.
Worst of all… Jide maltreated her (tears dropped from my eyes uncontrollably)…. Frequently, I hear of how he beats her even in her condition, up to the extent of starving her, I cried every night in my bed with the knowledge of what my sister was going through….. She was heartbroken.
I paused momentarily to dry my runny nose with handkerchief….when I looked up; the court room was silent and every eye was on Mr. Jide. And the Judge said…..”Continue my dear”.
She wanted to put to birth first before telling our mother and also giving Jide enough time to arrange and discuss with his family, she made me promise her not to tell anyone. I was more worried that all my effort to make her realized her mistake proved abortive. I clung to my shell, hoping and praying things will get better very soon.
One faithful afternoon, I had just returned home from lectures, when I received a call from someone who said he was a doctor at God’s Hands Hospital in Ile Ife. He said my sister was in a critical condition in the hospital. On receiving this news, I prayed earnestly that her situation will not be as bad as the doctor said. I feared a lot, not for myself but for my poor mother. It was a Friday, so leaving immediately wasn’t a problem.
On arrival to the hospital, I learnt that Jide had beaten my sister, resulting to the loss of her pregnancy. The damage, the doctor said also affected my sister. The sight of my sister on the sick bed was terrible and sent chills down my spine. She abided in coma for three days. On learning that my sister was sick, mum rushed to the hospital from Lagos and fainted as she saw the ghostly body of Bella…… clears throat.
My voice lost its tune, and then I broke down in tears… although telling the emotional story of how I lost the two most important persons in my life was not bearable, I knew I had to summon strength and pull it on.
Then I continued coarsely with tears. Two days later, B……be…lla unfortunately exited to the peaceful and quiet side of life. Her demise had a great toll on my mother, and she also d…died two days after Bella’s burial……
As I narrated this scene in the court, it felt like everything was happening all over again. The memories of when the pastor said: dust to dust and ashes to ashes - played very fast in my head.
Mr. Jide had this gloomy look on his paled face as he stared with lusk and fear. But there was this remorsefulness that shone through his face.
After their demise I vowed never to forgive Jide. He did The Unforgiveable. I kept my tabs on him and when I finished my degree program, getting an employment in his company was the best available option of getting close to him.
And with anger I continued: it was I who sent the photoshoped picture of him and another lady to his fiancée. The contract with Philips electronics never failed, I referred them to my dad’s company, of which my sister is managing. I wish him death.. I want him dead. He does not deserve to live.. he is a murderer..
I got this impulse to run out of the dock and pull out his eyes, but the police officers standing next had me restrained.
That’s enough, said the judge. I will commence my judgment now.
Jide stood up and pleaded with the court that he will want to talk with the Judge, and then the court went on recession for five minutes. When the recession was over the judge had this to say:
I have handled many cases in my live but this particular is one of the most emotional I’ve ever had. I have spoken with Mr. Jide and he has withdrawn all charges against the accused. And for a minute he will like to talk to Miss Nicole. Go ahead son, referring to Mr. Jide.
Nicole, I’m sorry. He said and went on his knees. Please, find it in your heart to forgive me; I know I’ve wronged you and your family. I was still very young and lustful, and didn’t understand so many things then. I’m ashamed of myself. When I realized my mistake, I searched for Bella but got no word of her. I longed so much to see her and apologized for all the bad things I did. I thought she travelled out of the country and every day I still long for her and our baby, not until you said they were no more.
I’m standing before this court to pledge twenty percent of my wealth to Nicole and her family. Although this will not bring back your mother and sister, it will certainly show how penitent I am.
Jide cried profusely and took his seat.
This is my judgment. The judge commenced. Miss Nicole, what you did was out of passion for your loved ones. Sometimes we do a lot of odd things for the people we love. But it must not be forgotten that you took laws into your hands and that is unconstitutional. You will go on public service for three months. You will join LAWMA to help keep Lagos clean. Failure to do this will lead to a possible imprisonment for twenty years.
Mrs. Kambili and Nifemi ran and hugged me with tears streaming out of their eyes. Mrs. Kambili was released from detention after I confessed to poisoning Mr. Jide.