DIFFERENT STROKES

By Chimzi Wami

“The prosecution will want to prove to you with these arguments that the defendant is a conscious killer who hides under the disguise of religion to perpetuate his dastardly acts”. Barrister Akande’s voice was clear and had an undertone of a lingering anger as he addressed the judge. Barrister Akande, a Christian, was the state’s prosecutor.

Yahaya had cease to listen a long time ago. He had escaped to his own world, where his imagination was rife with the fantasies of the seventy virgins Allah had kept for him in paradise. He saw nothing wrong in what he had done. He was sure that the killing of Yvonne, the newly crowned Miss Wazobia was an act of mercy aimed at ridding the world off a symbol of sin.

Yvonne, scantily clad had dared to venture into the holy city of Maiduguri to act as a star guest of the opening of an orphanage by the Hill Granton Foundation. An orphanage which the foundation had seen as a means of catering for the numerous orphans whose parents had been victims of Boko Haram scourge that has taken over northern Wazobia.

Yvonne, whose pet project after being crowned Miss Wazobia had been to offer succor to the numerous deprived children of Wazobia had accepted the foundation’s offer to make an appearance as a special guest of honour.

As a beauty queen she was obliged to be “fashionably dressed”. In the present world, that means dressing sexily which translates to revealing most part of her female anatomy.

Yahaya, had fumed when he first saw her. As a man who prides himself of being able to control his emotions, he had tried to talk to the organizers of the launch.

“Madam”, Yahaya had said to the lady in charge, “this city is a Muslim city. It feels like spitting on Allah for the special guest of honour to be naked in the open”.

“What!”, the last in charge had shouted, “which century are you from?”

“Sorry Ma”, the Maiduguri co-ordinator had muttered, then, shouted at Yahaya to go and take care of the accommodation of the guest as he was mandated.

Somehow, it was Yahaya’s duty to also provide Miss Wazobia’s accommodation. While taking her to her room to wait for the time she’d make her appearance, he had tried to reason with her to dress more appropriately. If she heard him she didn’t show it. She simply acted as though he wasn’t speaking to her.

Yahaya was furious.

“Allah!”, he muttered reverently, “I will never let your name be put to shame in my city.”

“To show that this murder was an act of deep seated wickedness”, Barrister Akande’s voice broken through Yahaya’s reverie, “you have to make a recourse to the murder weapon and the manner in which the murder was perpetrated.”

Yahaya had driven home after making that promise to Allah. Underneath his bed he always kept a well sharpened cutlass; his own protection guaranteed from hoodlums that populate the city. He had taken it, wrapped it with a wrapper and tucked it into his car.

Back at the hotel where the quests were lodged, he had made his way straight to Miss Wazobia’s suite, and knocked on the door.

“Who’s that”? the beauty queen’s Personal Assistant asked.

“It is Yahaya”.
She opened the door, and he entered.

“Where is Madam?” Yahaya asked reverently.

“Any problem? ” inquired the PA.

“I need to see her privately” Yahaya responded.

Being curious, the PA asked for the second time, “is anything the matter? ”

“No o! I have a personal message for her” Yahaya answered and smiled.

His smile could charm even the Devil himself. The PA returned the smile.

“Let me tell her” she said and disappeared into the room where the room where the beauty queen was lying down. After a minute she returned, and ushered Yahaya in.

Two minutes later, one piercing scream from the beauty queen brought the PA to the room. Yahaya was kneeling, his face down in prayers. Blood soaked the bed, the beauty queen’s body lay in the pool of her own blood,  separated from her head. The cutlass dropping of blood was lying on the bed as well.

The PA shouted and ran out to call people.

Yahaya made no move to run, stop her or even hurt her.

When people came in, Yahaya was faraway from the cutlass. He simply smiled, and said.

“I killed for Allah.”

Barrister Akande was talking again, this time urging the judge to sentence Yahaya to death for murder. At one end of the courtroom sat Christians, the anger on their faces almost physical. They expect nothing short of full capital punishment for Yahaya. With mixed emotions, and occupying the other end of the courtroom were the Muslims. To some of them, Yahaya was a hero. To others, he was a misguided Muslim. And there were neutrals who couldn’t understand what was happening.

In his own world, the judge was pondering the appropriate verdict to give after reviewing the body of evidence before him.

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