After several hours of interrogation each day, Chucks has been released on bail. Uncle Karim had convinced his wife to follow the rules of the law. Things have gotten more complicated, Jemilah has contacted almost everyone she knows, but no one knows the whereabouts of her sister. In her statement at the police station, she mentioned that her housemaid, Faith was the last person to see Meenarh before her disappearance. Faith, on hearing that the police will be coming to interrogate her, packs her few belongings and flees.
The only witness who would have helped the police with vital information has also disappeared. Jemilah, who is now distributing Meenarh’s pictures on the streets and making announcements on social media, begins to lose hope. She is scared that her sister may have been kidnapped either by Chucks, or by the same people who murdered her parents and siblings.
Meenarh was the last child of Alhaji Bashir Yaqub, out of his four children. He was aspiring to be the deputy governor of his state when he lost his life. He had been a very strict father. He locked his children in the house; he only allowed them to go to school. Every other thing they needed was provided for them. This made his children timid and unexposed. He also prevented them from having visitors. Jemilah and her siblings only made friends in school and on social media. Their mother, known as Hajiya Fatima, was not strict, but was so scared of her husband that she obeyed all his rules; she never had a say in the family decisions.
Being brought up in such home; Jemilah subjected her younger sister Meenarh to such pressure when they lost their parents. Anytime Meenarh talked about visiting a friend or go shopping, she would bring a suggestion that will leave Meenarh with no choice than to stay at home. This is why her friend, Salamatu comes to spend some days in the house once in a while to keep her company.
It’s been exactly seven days since Meenarh has been officially announced missing, the police have not gotten any lead, and Jemilah too has not gotten any feedback from the people she contacted. She is not ready to give up, she knows her sister is alive and in a few days she would see her and apologise to her for treating her like a prisoner, she would give her the freedom to go out with friends and have fun…she says to herself as she prepares to go to the Alfa .
Jemilah’s friend: “When you get there, tell him everything. Don’t lie to him o, tell him all your worries and he would give you the solution…make sure you tell him about your husband’s decision not to have kids too. The Alfa is good at what he does” Her friend had told her when she came visiting.
Jemilah: “Are you sure about what you are saying?”
Jemilah’s friend: “Of course I am. Have I ever lied to you about anything before? This is a man that has been helping me solve my problem for years now.”
Jemilah: “Okay. I believe you, it’s just that I am not used to these things, you know.”
Jemilah’s friend: “Okay then. Since you are not used to this one, I guess you will soon get used to living without Meenarh.”
Jemilah has never believed in seeing a prophet or a Mallam regarding any issues. She knows many of her friends have been doing that to keep their marriage, but the fact that she has never been in a situation that involves life and death did not make her see it as an option. But, this moment, she would go any length to bring her sister back.
She gets to the Alfa’s place after driving on a lonely road for hours. As she drops from the car, she sees a very young boy, maybe in his teens, holding a very long Tsebin and waving at her to come closer. She goes to him and he leads her into the small mosque. There, she is asked to sit on the mat and the boy sits directly opposite her. As he looks at him, she gets a feeling that he is looking into her soul. Then he speaks
Alfa: “Assalamu alaykum Hajiya” he smiles at her
Jemilah: “Walaikum Salam, Mallam”
Alfa: “Jemilah Abdulkarim na your name ko?” the surprise on Jemilah’s face makes her forget to nod her head. “Praise be to Allah say you come today. Your sister no die she still dey alive. But problem dey” He stares at the white piece of paper on the mat in front of him.
Jemilah: “What problem? Is she ok?”
Alfa: “For the Angels list, Allah go call two hundred people wey dey bear her name this month. Your own Meenarh dey the list, her own na tomorrow, if we no do Sadaqaa quickly, she go die!” He announces and looks up to her face then opens a book that looks like a Qur’an and reads. He looks to his right and then begins to communicate with someone. Jemilah stares at the direction but does not see anything. After he is done communicating with the spirit, he turns to Jemilah and continues…
“You no say I no go fit do am only me, because the matter serious. Dem suggest say make you visit Almajiri house, give them Tuwo Shinkafa and any soup, then, goat wey get small blue color near in tail; use the goat meat prepare the soup. Make sure you pray on top the food before you give dem. Insha Allah your sister go carry her leg come house three days after” he assures her
Jemilah: “Thank you, but where do I see a goat with a touch of blue on its tail?”
Alfa: “You go see Insha Allah” he raises his head like he is doing some deep thinking, “Check Wuse market. Or…I go do am for you. I go call you after I do am”
Jemilah: “Thank you, nagode Mallam”
Alfa: “As for the issue of your husband. Put this thing for in food for seven days” he gives her a substance in a white nylon bag. “Make sure say na you go cook am, no give anybody o. Before dat seven days sef, na him go come beg you make una begin make children Insha Allah” he picks up the big book and reads again.
Jemilah: “Insha Allah! …Sorry o, but I would like to clarify something. How am I sure my sister would return? How can you convince me that this would work?” she asks as she opens her bag to give him some money.
Alfa: “No be today I dey help people. Your friend no tell you? Na me work am wey her husband still dey alive. I promise you, if your sister no come back, come do anything wey you want with me…” he sees that Jemilah is about to drop the money on his mat “Haba Hajiya, noooo…I no dey collect money. When you start to see say my prayers dey work, you fit bring something to thank Allah”
Jemilah: “Haba. Nagode Mallam. I’m grateful, but I am yet to pay you for your services. This is for the food the Almajiris will eat. Please take it” she drops the money anyway.
Alfa: “Ok Hajiya, Nagode. May Allah bless you. I assure you, if you do wetin I tell you, na you go call me thank me”
Two hundred thousand Naira is what Jemilah has just given to the Alfa who is about to help her find her sister and make her husband agree to make children.
Is this too much for the task in this present economic hardship? Will the Alfa bring back Meenarrh? Is Meenarh still alive?
Watch out for the next Episode!
…Stay tuned for Episode 12
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