Mike had always been a smooth talker; the kind of guy people say can sell snow to Eskimos and so when I heard about his horrible passing, I was not too shocked.
I mean, if you live by the sword, dying by it shouldn’t surprise anyone. Granted the manner of death was also something sha, still, I would say Mike had it coming.
How did I meet Mike?
We went to school together and when we finished, while the rest of us were writing letters of applications, seeking jobs and all that, Mike was making deals. He had already been doing deals when he was at school. He was already driving a car even while we were in school. He was that kind of person.
After working with a micro finance house in Lagos, I got a higher paying job with a big bank and had to move to Abuja. That was how our paths crossed again and by this time Mike was already an established Abuja big boy, donning Babanriga and slippers and always having his phone glued to his ears.
And in some sense, he was living big, girls, drinks, friends who laughed loud and long and always pressed phones… Mike was living in a three-bedroom apartment at Wuse2, he drove a 2016 Camry and knew many high ranking government officials. In fact, you would always find him at the Transcorp Hilton, either at the lobby or restaurant area; that’s where he liked to have lunch with his so called business partners.
Now, like I said, I don’t really know the kind of business Mike did; I know he got government contracts and sold them off to buyers. If you know Abuja well enough, you would know that is the kind of deals many of the so called big boys do, to date. I also know that on a few occasions, Mike had scammed some people. He sold off the same contract twice!
And he wasn’t afraid when one of the contractors came chasing after him to get his money back.
The man came to Mike’s house one-day screaming and threatening to have Mike arrested and jailed! That time, I had came to stay with Mike just for a weekend. I was so scared by the man’s anger!
My friend was unperturbed, he just told the man to chill and to stop embarrassing himself. Mike asked him to wait for his money, that he didn’t like dealing with grown men who cried over chicken change.
“How much was this ‘chicken change?” I asked.
“N25million,” he told me!
A few days later, when i asked Mike about the man and his money, he told me he had sent him his money!
That’s the thing! See me, who could barely manage N200k salary, had a friend who could write a cheque of N25million to someone!
There was another occasion, a grown man with grey hair on his head, broke into tears over a business deal gone wrong with Mike. The man said Mike had scammed him of all the money he got from his gratuity! I didn’t bother asking how much, I knew it would run into millions for an elderly man to burst into tears!
One more thing, Mike’s phone was always buzzing, always ringing and here’s the thing, his phone was on permanent vibrate, so every time you were around him, you would either constantly hear it buzzing or it will be glued to his ear.
So, what happened to Mike?
You know, despite the fact that Mike lived like a big city boy, he was still very much a village boy at heart. I mean, despite the fact that I didn’t even belong to his circle of friends, he still welcomed me, he still listened to me when I tried to warn him about the threats he was getting, the kinds of shady businesses he was doing that led to the threats.
He told me that once he made enough money, he would stop what he was doing…
The truth is, he couldn’t stop!
Love for more money eventually destroyed him; he must have offended some people; he must have cheated some people out of their money or out of a deal. That is the only explanation to what happened to Mike.
Thankfully the day they came for him, I wasn’t there with him; I was at work, though it was a weekend. I went to the office to pick up something if not I would have been around Mike because I had few friends in Abuja at that time and it could get boring if you don’t know your way around town. Moreover Mike was always welcoming.
Anyway, I was told that he was at a supermarket, and that when he got out, three men were waiting by his car; they took his bag of stuff and forced him into his car. Two sat behind with one in front. They made him drive. Those who saw them said they came armed with guns and didn’t even hide them! It also happened that they had another person in a car parked behind Mike’s car. So, as they forced him to drive off, the other car followed.
They drove to a secluded part of town, maybe they beat him, tortured him, I don’t know but they poured fuel on him, pushed him into his car and set him on fire, while he was still alive because there were people who saw them…passers by and people selling close by!
Did he deserve to be killed like that? No!
But he must have taken someone’s sweat, stolen someone’s life’s saving and the person felt that killing him was the best way to settle scores.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande)