“Can i have your passport please?” another Police asked.
“I stood up and walked to my room; two of them followed me.
I brought down my bag and picked out my International Passport from it, handed it to him and stood where i was.
“Who owns this place apartment?” He continued.
I pointed at my chest, indicating that the apartment was mine.
After going through my documents, one of them started to tell me why they came as if i didn’t know already.
“The Polizia arrested some men in San Remo last night. They said you are a human trafficker and that you bring girls from Africa. Is that true?” He asked.
“That is not true” I said.
He continued. “Miss Maria James, a man who was among those arrested, said he knows you and that you are his girlfriend. He said he took one of your girls and ran away to put her in school but you sent bad people to kill him. His name is Solomon, do you know him?”
“I don’t know any Solomon Sir” I maintained my stand.
“Then get ready, we are going to San Remo right away” He said.
At that moment, my heartbeat increased. The truth was that i was guilty of everything they said about me. I knew that it was a matter of time before i got connected to all the things they said i did. The evidence was enormous. It was almost impossible to wriggle away from the net Zuby spread on my head. He was smart enough to know what to tell the Police to believe him. He had Ngozi as witness which i was sure he must have brainwashed enough to see me as the devil. He also has my phone number; My pictures were in his phone.
The only way out was if he decided to tell the Police that he lied against me. I knew him as a good man who would even attempt to help me because he really cared but it was impossible to know the extent which things has gone up there in San Remo.
“Tell your Sister to get ready too, she is traveling with us” The Police man said finally before i went into my room.
Fatimah was there, she heard what the Police man said, there was no need to repeat it for her.
We both wore our clothes without taking bath. We didn’t know if the Police would have allowed that.
Inside the speedy Police vehicle, we headed north that early morning.
We didn’t eat anything except the biscuit we were given inside the vehicle.
Over five hours later, we arrived at the San Remo Police headquarters.
The Police got down to business immediately. The thugs were the first to be presented to us. I denied knowing them and fortunately, they didn’t know me as well; their contact was Aunty Philo.
When Zuby was brought to where Fatimah and I were being held, i nearly cried.
He was as casual and indifferent as if nothing was happening. He was free, not on hand or leg cuffs, he just walked inside the place we were seated, followed by a young beautiful Police Woman.
“Hello Sweatheart, how was the journey to San Remo?” Zuby asked me, I ignored him.
“You devil, i asked you to follow me out of that dump, now look at the problem you have put Everybody into” He said to Maria who also kept quiet.
I had managed to tell her some things to answer if she was asked certain questions. We were seated side by side on our way to San Remo. We had the opportunity to address each other in Edo language and on several occasions, we were told to shut up by one Police or another.
A social pro bono government lawyer was seated bedside Fatimah and I. Zuby was told to sit opposite us.
First of all another Police officer started to ask if I knew Zuby; i denied.
The same question was asked Fatimah and she also denied knowing who Zuby was.
The strange lawyer sitting beside us has told us to keep quiet if we were asked any question we didn’t want to answer; she reminded us that we could only be judged by what we said.
“This man told us your name and your address. That means you two know each other. Is that right?” The Police asked me. I kept quiet entirely.
“Officer, there is no need running around this case, it is not complex. She has my phone number in her phone and i have hers. You can check it out because she is never going to admit knowing me” Zuby said.
I looked at him scornfully. How could he be selling me out to the Italian Police in such horrible manner. He was supposed to be his sisters keeper. He was our brother from Africa and he was right there telling the Police everything that linked us together. I didn’t know he was that heartless.
Fatimah even saw what was happening and started crying.
Tears were forming around my eyes as well.
Our lawyer had suddenly stood up and declared that the questions were over. She spoke in Italian that the two young African girls were being intimidated by the Police.
We were told to stand up and go into another room.
We didn’t know what happened with Zuby when we were taken away. That was the last time i saw him.
I was so angry with him that i nearly told the Police that he hide money in his belthole. If not that it would implicate me, i was ready to tell the Police.
They would have simply asked how i knew there was money there since i denied knowing who Zuby was.
I believed Zuby planned his way pretty well. It still baffled me how he managed to capture the thugs with the Police instead of him being captured. He was the one being pursued and not the other way round.
I was sure that since he saw I, together with the thugs being detained, Zuby was going to walk out freely into the streets and live his life happily.
I didn’t know what was to become of us. I didn’t know if they were locking me up or allowing me to go. I didn’t know if they were sending Fatimah back to Nigeria or whether the free lawyer was able to talk them into granting her asylum.
My life was simply being damaged right before my eyes by the combination of Team Zuby and Team Philo. To me, it didn’t matter who did what, the only thing i could see was that Zuby and Philo contributed in what was happening to me in Italy at that moment.
I was about to start living without hope.