The Deaf Mute

The untold story of a man who died for a crime he didn't commit.

๐‡๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐š๐ซ๐ž, ๐ญ๐ข๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐š ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ค๐ž, ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ง ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐›๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ญ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‘๐„๐€๐ƒ๐˜ ๐“๐Ž ๐ƒ๐ˆ๐„ ๐…๐Ž๐‘ ๐€ ๐‚๐‘๐ˆ๐Œ๐„ ๐˜๐Ž๐” ๐ƒ๐ˆ๐ƒ๐โ€™๐“ ๐‚๐Ž๐Œ๐Œ๐ˆ๐“.

Youโ€™ve been accused by Dora, the one you love.

She knew youโ€™re Chukwuma. She knew you both grew up together. She knew you were that same little boy she loved hanging around with all the time when you were kids. Now, she looks at you with contempt and hate. She sees you as a murderer โ€“ who killed her beloved mother and husbandโ€“toโ€“be. Youโ€™ve tried to explain to her the best way you can. You cried. Your throat constricted, and unshed tears stung your eyes.

She doesnโ€™t understand you, neither does she get all your explanation because youโ€™re deaf-mute โ€“ โ€˜a deaf and dumb person.โ€™ Ebe-be i-bei โ€“ yei! you demonstrated using sign language. Your hands are moving fast; your heart is pounding. She glared at you. she doesnโ€™t understand your sign language either. All the evidence she needs lies before her very eyes โ€“ a gun in her hand, her mother and her fiancรฉ laid dead on the ground in the pool of their blood.

She picked up her phone and dialed a number; you have no knowledge of what she was doing. Your mind told you she was up to something, but you didnโ€™t care because you were innocent. You dropped to your knee and sobbed, unable to control your pain and fear. You held her feet, wetting them with your tears. She kicked you and swung at you with her fists. You felt the pain, but you couldnโ€™t fight back. You embraced her, looked into her eyes, and tried to tell her you were innocent โ€“ she wonโ€™t understand. She spat on your face and broke the embrace. Youโ€™ve been accused by Dora, the one you love.

Her phone rang. She grabbed it and headed for the door. You looked at her again, confused. She opened it, and seven men dressed in uniform entered the room holding guns, batons, and handcuff with them. You fidgeted. Innocent you. You were handcuffed. โ€œAm I now a criminal?โ€ You asked rhetorically amidst tears, your voice only heard in your head. You were taken to the police station for questioning; Dora accompanied, ready to do anything for justice. Youโ€™ve been accused by Dora, the one you love.

They made you sit on the ground while you were being interrogated. You watch their mouths move, but you donโ€™t understand them. You speak up, Wo-ebhi-eih! โ€“ they donโ€™t understand you too. โ€œThis guy is trying to fake this thing.โ€ One of the officers who questioned you said, frowning at you. You donโ€™t understand him, but still, you continued demonstrating with your hands. A hot, resounding slap landed on your cheek. You shrieked in agony. Youโ€™re deaf and dumb, but they donโ€™t believe it โ€“ they called it an act of pretense. They dragged you to the cell, almost naked. Your body is covered with sores from the strokes of the cane you received.

They tortured you first before believing that you werenโ€™t faking it โ€“ you are deaf and dumb. โ€œThis guy just murdered two people. Heโ€™s dangerous,โ€ said the officer who brought you to the cell. He threw you on the floor of the cell and locked the gate. It was as if youโ€™d been thrown into a lionโ€™s den. Two cellmates charged at you like they were going to devour you. They had this fierce look. They were the captains of the cell. โ€œGuy, dem say you kill people?โ€ One of them asked in English, Pidgin, dragging you up. You stood, sniffing like a child without help; your wound ached. You donโ€™t understand what they said. Your face, innocent as ever. โ€œNo, be you we dey ask?โ€ You saw his mouth move, but you still didnโ€™t get what he said. Your body ached, and your strength failed. โ€œTaaa!โ€ came slaps from two of them. You screamed. You saw nothing but black. Your tears began to flow again. You demonstrated the last strength you had. Screaming at the top of your voice. โ€œNa deaf and dumb, oh.โ€ One of them said. โ€œThis guy dey pretend!โ€ said another. You still didnโ€™t understand them.

They stripped you of the only thing you had on you โ€“ your pant, leaving you naked. They kicked and hit you numerous times, yet you couldnโ€™t fight back. You were weak and would pass out anytime. You screamed in pain continually until an officer came to your aid. โ€œStop it!โ€ The Officer ordered. โ€œWe didnโ€™t ask you to kill him!โ€ They stopped. You could feel a hand raising you up. You felt the hand dropping you on a cold floor. You shivered yet laid on the floor, debilitated.

Youโ€™ve been accused by Dora, the one you love. Deep in your pain, you remembered the good old days when you and Dora played together in the field. You were eight years, and she was eight too. You both looked good together. Aside from your mother, she was the only one who had shown you love. You grew up in her motherโ€™s house as a servant boy just like your mother, a maid in the house. Your mother was an orphan who lived on the street. She ran out of her guardian's house as a result of the maltreatment she faced.

She wasnโ€™t married, but she got pregnant because she was raped twice by a goon. She had no one she would call family. She came to Johnson's family a year before you were born, pregnant with you. She vowed to serve the family if only they would take care of her and her unborn child.

A deal was struck, and they took her in. They gave your mother an apartment. They fed her and took care of her needs until you were born. You owe the Johnsons everything, especially now that your mother is late. Your mother died of cancer. Mrs. Johnson tried her best to save your mother, but she died anyway. You know that. This isnโ€™t her story but yours.

Weeks after your motherโ€™s demise, Dora, being the only child of her parents, joined her father in Abuja. The house became boring. You were left with the gateman, the new maid, and Mrs. Johnson. It took time for you to adjust to the changes without your mother or Dora being around.

Youโ€™re a servant boy and nothing more. You remember nights you were starved. You remember days you were beaten for what you didnโ€™t do. Currently, youโ€™re facing the same thing โ€“ suffering from a crime you didnโ€™t commit. Youโ€™re used to it. Itโ€™s been fifteen years since you last saw Dora. Mrs. Johnsonโ€™s Seventieth Birthday was coming up, and you were happy; youโ€™d see Dora again. Poor you! On the day of the event, Dora came back not as a little girl but as a young lady with an hourglass body shape โ€“ unnaturally thin waist, bigger than usual hip and bust, fine eyes, and soft lips. You were amused by what you saw. Dora is back!

You waited for her to come inside. She did. You were astonished to see her with a guy holding her by her hand โ€“ wealthily dressed. You felt heartbroken. You wanted to cry, but you just couldnโ€™t. Life has always been unfair to you. Itโ€™s fifteen years now, and Dora has moved on with her life. Sheโ€™s 24 now, and so are you. Sheโ€™s set to get married to a rich fellow, but you are just a servant boy. Sheโ€™s Dora, the one you love. She walks past you without saying hello or waving. You felt it, but you smiled. You thought, โ€œMaybe she doesnโ€™t recognize me โ€“ โ€ You tried to talk to her, but she was always busy either with her fiance or on a call. You summoned the courage and approached her before the party started. You smiled at her. You held her hand and tried to explain to her that youโ€™re Chukwuma, the boy she knew.

She pushed you away and treated you like trash. She slapped you when you tried to tinkle her as you once did. Itโ€™s sad, isnโ€™t it? You wore a sad face. โ€œChukwuma, itโ€™s well.โ€ You shrugged off the thought. You canโ€™t reject yourself. The party is over. The merriment continued.

You were pressed and needed to take a leak. On your way to the restroom, you saw Frank, Doraโ€™s husbandโ€“toโ€“be. You donโ€™t know what he was doing, but you saw him hide a gun in his suit. Frank was up to something, and no one knew about it, not even Dora. The sight startled you. Who do you inform? Who understands you better in the house? Dora? No, sheโ€™d slap you again if you talked to her. Yes, thereโ€™s one โ€“ Mrs. Johnson, she crossed your mind. You slammed the restroom door, forgetting what you came for. You ran to the gateman, but he was too busy. The maid wouldnโ€™t let you finish your demonstration. It bored her. โ€œMrs. Johnson,โ€ Your mind called out once again. You ran upstairs like a mad man. Everyone who saw you made jest of you, but you didnโ€™t hear them; they had no idea that danger lurked around. You saw Mrs. Johnson heading to her room to get changed. โ€œBeiiโ€ฆ eihhh!โ€

She heard your voice and turned. โ€œWhatโ€™s it?โ€ She stopped and asked. You raised your right hand above your chest, touched your beards; you joined your index and middle finger together and pointed straight to her chest. This is you telling her that Frank had a gun, but she doesnโ€™t understand you. She patted you on the back and moved on without heeding your warning. You felt disappointed once again. Youโ€™ve failed. Why canโ€™t you talk like everyone?

Turning to take your leave, Frank walked passed you with a smile, heading in the same direction as Mrs. Johnson. Shit is about to go down! Your instincts tell you that. You followed Frank without his knowledge. He entered Mrs. Johnsonโ€™s room. You donโ€™t know what might be going on there. You took a peep through the door hole; Frank pointed his gun at Mrs. Johnson. You saw Mrs. Johnson begged, but you donโ€™t know what to do. You donโ€™t know who to call. โ€œYou need to fight and save her โ€“โ€ You broke into the room. Too late!

Frank shot Mrs. Johnson. She laid on the ground, her eyes wide open, a bullet lodged in her forehead and blood gushing out. He aimed at you. You were fast enough to grab his hand. You struggled to take the gun from him. The struggle continued for ten more minutes. He raised the gun and fired; you stood to your ground, holding his hands firmly. Everyone downstairs heard the sound of gunshots. Some came running upstairs to know what happened, including Dora.

Youโ€™re a strong man. You overpowered him; you grabbed the gun; your hands on the trigger โ€“ youโ€™ve no idea. โ€œTuuaahhh!โ€ came the sound from the gun. He dropped dead. You didnโ€™t do it deliberately. You shivered. The door swung open, and Dora stood the one you love. Her eyes widened in shock. She hates you now! Youโ€™ve been accused by Dora, the one you love.

Itโ€™s been days since you were taken under custody; no one showed up as an eyewitness to prove your innocence. Mr. Johnson is a man of influence. He does everything his daughter asks him to do. Every night, Dora wept in her motherโ€™s room, and this ached Mr. Johnsonโ€™s heart. He wants you to pay for everything youโ€™ve done โ€“ even though it costs you your life. โ€œHe should die the same way he killed Momma and Frank,โ€ Dora told her father. Dora wants you dead.

Youโ€™ve been accused by Dora, the one you love. Now, she wants you dead. Mr. Johnson sees you now as a traitor. An ingrate who stabbed him in the back. Heโ€™s ready to do whatever it takes to get rid of you, even if it means buying your life with his money or bribing the judge. Youโ€™ve faced trial twice in court, and judgment has been passed.ย  โ€œ๐–๐ข๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ž๐Ÿ๐ž๐ง๐๐š๐ง๐ญ, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐ญ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž, ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ž๐Ÿ๐ž๐ง๐๐š๐ง๐ญ, ๐‚๐ก๐ฎ๐ค๐ฐ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š ๐„๐๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐ ๐ ๐ฎ๐ข๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ซ๐๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐Œ๐‘๐’. ๐‰๐Ž๐‡๐๐’๐Ž๐ ๐„๐ƒ๐„๐“ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐Œ๐‘. ๐…๐‘๐€๐๐Š ๐Ž๐Š๐Ž๐‡. ๐‡๐ž'๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ ๐ ๐ฎ๐ข๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐›๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ก ๐›๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฌ๐ช๐ฎ๐š๐.โ€ The Judge rapped his gavel sharply. You were accused by Dora, the one you love, and now she wants you dead.

You donโ€™t know what theyโ€™re going to do to you. They tied you a stake. Well dressed in your best outfit. โ€œCall in the Pastor!โ€ An officer requested. โ€œMr. Nwajesu,โ€ called another officer. โ€œItโ€™s time to pray for theโ€ฆ.โ€ โ€œItโ€™s well,โ€ I cut in. I walked up to you. Youโ€™d no idea you would die, but you just smiled. I watch you signal me with your hands. โ€œIโ€™m innocent.โ€ I bowed my head and wept. I know youโ€™re innocent, but Iโ€™ve no say in the matter. All I could do was pray for you โ€“ thatโ€™s the only help I can render at the moment.

Mr. Johnson and Dora waited anxiously for the โ€˜fusillade.โ€™ โ€œMen! โ€“โ€ Three gallant police officers marched forward, holding their rifles firmly. โ€œOn a scale of 1 to 3, aim! โ€“โ€ They pointed their rifles at you. You squirmed. The order came from the superior, โ€œFire!โ€ The men pulled the trigger. The bullets penetrated your chest. In pain, you still smile. Everything is going blank. โ€œAim!โ€

They raised their rifle the second time โ€œFire!โ€ The bullets penetrated you again; like burning coal, you felt the pain and let out a loud scream. Shaking like a leaf. Your eyes are flooding with tears. โ€œFire!โ€ The third time.

You bowed your head; your eyes closed in death. You died before the one you love. You were accused by Dora, the one you love. She wants you dead, and now you are dead. Damn the phrase, โ€˜Truth will always come to light!โ€™ Chukwuma, you had no witness, but God is your witness. The tears you shared are your witness. You were an unfortunate one, but now, your soul today rests in God's bosom.

๐…๐จ๐ซ ๐‚๐ก๐ฎ๐ค๐ฐ๐ฎ๐ฆ๐š ๐„๐๐ฐ๐š๐ซ๐, ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ.

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