Tunde stole a glance at his rear-view mirror, as he habitually did, and noticed flashing blue and red lights in the distance. “Another money-miss-road convoy,” he thought to himself. Thankfully, there was no irritating scream of a siren. “At least, these ones seem to have some decency”.
The convoy closed the gap quickly and soon, he was able to make out the vehicles involved. A black Toyota Landcruiser led the way, followed by an escort – a white Ford Ranger pickup with a handful of armed police officers. The VIP – whoever he or she was – would be in the lead vehicle, Tunde concluded, as there was no other vehicle in the convoy apart from those two.
A crawling, danfo bus that moved like it had smoked bad weed fixed itself in the middle lane of the three-lane highway leading from Ojota bridge in Lagos towards Alapere on to Oworonsoki. As his car approached the bus, Tunde chose the slow lane for his overtaking maneuvre, as the convoy took the fast lane on the other side of the road.
As Tunde passed by the danfo, he took a quick look at the driver of the rickety bus. The haggard man at the wheels looked like one without a care in the world. In a sane world, the crawling danfo would be on the slow lane and not forcing other vehicles to overtake on the right. It likely wouldn’t be on the highway at all, in the first place. It looked like a moving coffin. But this was Lagos.
A Federal Road Safety patrol car he had passed some metres behind would be of no use with this either. FRSC officers were often more interested in stopping private cars for checks and fines than in enlightening drivers of public buses or even checking their vehicles. This rickety bus had driven past them after all without their intervention.
At Alapere, traffic slowed down a little as moving vehicles squeezed themselves into two lanes, thanks to the beehive of danfo buses that took over the inside lane at the bus stop. The lay-by that was completed weeks ago had not been commissioned yet and was still cordoned off. So, the pesky danfo buses continued to constitute a nuisance at this spot. Tunde was back on the middle lane now.
A black 2011 Toyota Corolla with flashing hazard lights zoomed past on his right, then quickly coasted all the way from the inside lane to the left towards the silent convoy making its way towards its destination, wherever that would be.
“Why the hurry?” Tunde thought. “You don’t want to get involved with a convoy that had a truck of trigger-happy police officers as escort.”
But the Corolla seemed to be in a hurry and the driver clearly had a death wish, because he drifted in between the Landcruiser and the escort vehicle.
Was the driver of that car mad? Who does that? The afternoon was rent with the loud screaming of the escort’s siren as a warning to the offending Corolla. And it was then that it happened.
They Shot Him!
The distinct staccato sound of automatic gunfire broke out and as his reflexes kicked in, Tunde saw the Corolla’s rear windshield shatter into a hundred thousand pieces, glistening and casting reflections of the sun in a million directions.
“They shot him! They shot him!” Tunde was hit by a wave of shock and rage. “How could they have shot him?! For what? What the fuck!!!”
By this time, he had swung his car to the far right as far away as he could after avoiding a multiple crash. A number of other drivers panicked and rammed into one another. He watched in shock as the escort vehicle lost control, swerved and flipped over in the middle of the road. It rested completely upside down. The road behind was instantly blocked off as vehicles screeched to a halt to avoid ramming into the Ranger.
Ahead of him, he saw the Corolla on the tail of the Landcrusier and heard more gunfire. Realisation dawned on him. The escorting police officers had not shot at the Corolla. The gunfire had come from the Corolla and taken out the armed escorts first. This was a hit. Damn. He pulled the car over immediately. No point being caught in the crossfire. He had already been lucky this afternoon.
He heard a screech and saw the Landcrusier swerve and roll and then come to a halt just before Ogudu junction. Gunfire continued to pour out of the Corolla as it pulled up. The bigger vehicle was now stationary and on its side. The Corolla stopped, a man jumped out and fired repeatedly into the SUV before jumping back into the smaller black car.
All was silent as the little black car disappeared down the road towards Oworo.