I bought a one way bus ticket with Linda’s resident permit card to Amsterdam. It was true the bus would take very long to get to Amsterdam but Ngozi didn’t have to change buses anywhere.
There was no direct train to Amsterdam from Marseille; the trains would stop in Gare Du Nord Paris for the passengers to change to the one going to Brussels, Eindhoven and Amsterdam. That was something i didn’t want Ngozi to go through since she was traveling with two bags.
I waited at the bus station until the bus was about to leave, then i gave her 300 Euros to keep for emergencies. I also gave her Precious’ phone number to call her when she got to Amsterdam. I didn’t want Maria to come out from Almere just to welcome her.
I could have easily controlled her from Marseille but i was preparing to go hunting for Fred and since i didn’t know how the entire thing would turn out, i decided that it was better there was a plan B for her.
At 3pm, i didn’t hear from Fred. Unfortunately, i didn’t have the phone number of his friend who contacted him. The only lead i had on them was Fred’s phone number and the address he wrote on the western union receipt.
The issue of phone number was just a matter of switching it off or changing the sim card and contact would be severed between us.
The address on the other hand could be a fake one; people did such things back in Amsterdam, using fake addresses to send or receive money. There was no way those in Marseille could not have learnt the same thing.
Sending or receiving large amounts through western union was risky in Europe. The United States monitored the transactions ever since it was determined that those who bombed train stations in Madrid in 20.. Received funding through western union. Ever since then, people started using fake addresses and fake documents to send or receive money; therefore, the address i had on the receipt wasn’t encouraging.
Anyway, i decided to check out the address.
I stopped a black Cab driver who said he was from Ghana but came to Europe as a kid in 1969 after the Nigeria-Biafra civil war.
Mr. Bako as he called himself agreed to drive me around on hire for the rest of the day if i would pay 200 Euros.
I made sure that Johnson and my younger brother received the money i sent to them before embarking or ‘Operation Locate Fred Osare’ (OLFO).
First, we tracked the address Fred Osare wrote on the WU receipt.
As i feared, the man who lived in the apartment said nobody called Fred lived there. He and his beautiful wife were very angry that someone was sending money with their address. They threatened to go to Police immediately.
I couldn’t stop them since they have made up their minds to go to Police. They were Whites and any attempt at stopping them could convince them that i was even part of the plan to use their address.
Nobody trusted Nigerians anywhere in Europe and unfortunately, it was a stigma we all had to carry around with us whether we liked it or not and whether you were A good or bad person.
I gave the white man Fred’s name and left.
The Police was going to start looking for him as well and it was important that i found him first. He was with my 5000 Euros and if the Police happened to get to him first, i would have no option than to forfeit the money. Though i had a little advantage of being in the French territory since i had French resident permit but as things stood, i had no job. There was no way i could defend sending 5000 Euro in cash to Germany.
My survival in Europe was hugely attributed to the fact that i studied the rules and how it worked; then did as much as possible to obey and follow them.
To survive in Europe, Rules as small as traffic lights must be obeyed because if you violate that, your names would be taken and stored in the database. The next time you disobeyed any rule, your names would me taken once more and added to the database under the same serial number. The entire thing would be piling up until the day you commit the big one, then the Police and the Judge would read out everything you did in the past. Even your lawyer would be defeated in court.
I and Mr. Bako went to a Nigerian joint. I told him i was hungry and needed a good Nigerian restaurant to eat.
I bought food and drink for him while we waited for people to start arriving. It was after 5pm that Nigerians started to come to the restaurant for food.
I had called one Igbo young man to our table and after introducing myself, i told him that i needed someone to send money for me through Western Union.
His name was Edozie.
He said it was the Edo boys that specialized in doing that and that he didn’t have their phone numbers. However, he called an Edo man named Joe whom he said was his Friend.
The Edo man he called said he has phone numbers of three of them.
“Tell him that the money is big and that you need the entire three people” I said to Edozie.
When he received the text message from his friend, Fred’s phone number was there with two other people.
The text message contained six phone numbers, two for each of the person.
Every Nigerian, including the girls had two or more active phone numbers in Europe. That was just the general unwritten rule. One number was usually assigned to families and relatives in Africa while one worked as the business phone. However, most usually mixed the two numbers up. I did such things too because whenever i had to call Nigeria and there was no airtime on the phone number assigned to them, i would make the call with my business phone.
“Mr. Bako, finish your drink and lets go” I said.
I ordered two more bottles for Edozie before we left.
Inside the cab, i told Mr. Bako what happened.
He was angry that a fellow Nigeria did that to me. He said a Ghanaian would never do such thing to his country fellow.
“What do you want to do about it?” Bako eventually asked me.
“I want to track him down. I am just considering whether to use you to do that or whether to use a girl to bring him out” I said.