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Dear Muna by Humble Ogbonna

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From My Prison Cell,

Lubwa Prison.

22nd April, 2022.

Dear Muna,

I hope this letter meets you well. This is my very first letter to you since my incarceration almost a year ago. I am really sorry for not writing to you earlier. I couldn’t write to you because of situations beyond my control.

I hope the home isn’t too lonely for you. Does Mama come to visit you often?

At the time of writing this letter I am fine although there are a few bruises on my body sustained as a result of the hard labor we are being put through.

The first few weeks here were scary. I was placed in solitary confinement for four days. My cell was almost totally dark with a little window many feet high that allowed some air and sunlight into the tiny cell. I could neither see nor speak to anyone and I thought I was going to lose my mind.

The guard who brings food to me just pushes it in through the little opening under the cell door. The food brought is not fit to be called food as it is mostly half-done and watery, but what can I do. Even though I am serving a life sentence, at least I need to eat if I am to live.

After the fourth day, I was transferred to cell F9. That cell housed the worst criminals; those on death row. I couldn’t understand why I was placed in that cell since I wasn’t on death row.

There were seven inmates in the cell. All of them committed murder. The leader, Alpha Z, had been on the government’s most wanted list for the past eight years for various offences, most notably for the gruesome murder of Senator Maki’s son who was schooling in Ghana.

My first day in that cell was terrible. I was stripped, beaten and bound at first. Every day I had to fan the leader and every other inmate. It was excruciating to be forced to witness their homosexual acts right there in the cell.

I can only express thanks that Alpha Z specifically ordered them not to come close to me for that. Sometimes I’d have to sing for them and dance or else I’d be beaten to a pulp.

The guards couldn’t do anything since they were even afraid of the inmates in that room. No one dares question their acts.

After a week there I was finally transferred to the cell from which I am currently writing this letter to you.

I know you long to hear my own side of the story and I am going to do just now, but first I really do hope that you are in good health. Were you able to get the treatment for the uneasiness you often felt in your throat?

Are Mama and Papa doing well too? What about your parents, are they fine?

I remember that Sade, your sister, was about to go for her compulsory service before I was arrested. I hope she is done with it, and I also hope she had gotten a good job afterward.

Dearest Muna, I know how bad you must have been feeling this past year because I hadn’t written and because you hadn’t heard my side of the story. Once again I apologize for that. Here is what really happened:

If you remember the last time we had a discussion in the sitting room, I told you that I am feeling uneasy working with Mr. Balogun and that I’d leave the company in a few days. Well, I never explained the reason for my uneasiness to you because I didn’t want you to get scared since I had the plan of leaving the firm already. Little did I know that he had other plans for me.

It all started when he asked me to go on my usual bi-monthly trip to Kenya for the company before my arrest. Whenever I go for the trip, I only go with a briefcase which I hand over to the business partners over there and then sign a document stating that I had met with them and delivered the “papers” to them.

I had never seen the content of the briefcase neither was I allowed to open it, so I felt it was paper documents stuffed inside for his business partners. I wondered however that documents could be sent online over the internet instead of having someone physically carry it over many miles to be delivered.

Well, since that wasn’t my business as I was only asked to deliver them, I did so without questions. On that particular day, however, while trying to hand over the briefcase to me it fell from his hand, the lock got broken and the content spilled.

I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw: several vital human organs spread out on the floor. I was shocked! I had been used as a trafficker of human parts without being aware. My strength immediately failed.

“Well, now you’ve seen it” was what Mr. Balogun could say. I felt useless and worthless and told him that I was no longer interested in working for him.

The next thing he said was “If you can’t beat them, you join them.”

I replied that If I can’t beat them, I’ll leave them rather than join them.

I made up my mind to leave the firm and never return again but he begged me to remain for at least two days until he could get someone to replace me. If I had known I wouldn’t have accepted. It was that day I had the discussion with you about my uneasiness working for him.

I never knew that he had planned my downfall. He probably saw me as a threat since I knew his secrets. He might have been afraid that I would report to the police. If only I had known.

The next day he asked that I accompany the secretary to check on the firm’s new site that is yet to be completed. We signed the movement register indicating that we were both going to the site but once outside she received a call from Mr. Balogun. She told me that she had been asked to quickly check on something else and so she won’t be able to go with me which meant that I would need to go alone.

I headed to the site unsuspectingly and monitored the progress. I stayed there for two hours before leaving.

On my way back, I was stopped by the police. Other cars were going unchecked but mine was stopped. It was then I began to feel that something wasn’t right.

The first thing the policemen asked me to do was to open my boot and since I had nothing in there I obliged.

When I opened the boot I saw the secretary laying there, dead.

I didn’t know how she got there. I knew it was Mr. Balogun’s doing to get rid of me. That, my love, was the beginning of my trouble.

I never committed that crime. It was all part of his plan to eliminate me.

See, as I write this letter to you I am not sure of living to see the next day. Mr. Balogun is bent on exterminating me. I had survived attempts on my life on two different occasions in this prison yard. The first was a stab which luckily the prison guard was on hand to avert. The second was food poisoning when I had gone to use the toilet.

Mr. Balogun has insiders here that are ready to do his bidding. I was only permitted by a generous guard to write this letter. This might be my last letter to you even though it is actually the first.

I miss you so much that my heart is breaking into pieces. I wish these things never happened. I had looked forward to having a special wedding and spending the rest of my life with you. Sadly, that wasn’t meant to be.

Muna, I don’t know when Mr. Balogun’s men in here will finally get my life. I think it will be earlier than I will ever hope to get a presidential pardon. So, it is with heavy heart that I want to say the following Muna; PLEASE MOVE ON.

Do not wait for a good-for-nothing man like me anymore because I may never come out alive. Please find love elsewhere, get married and live happily.

I know your parents would have told you the same, here I am telling it to you again, even though it hurts me to say it but that is the reality on ground.

As I look into my bleak future, staring at death each day, living every day like it would be my last, the love and memories we share are deeply engraved in my heart and I would cherish those moments until my last breath.

I love you, Muna, but it is my wish that you move on and find happiness away from my hopeless situation.

Send my greetings to my parents and tell them that I love them so much and that if it is the will of the Almighty we might meet again.

Yours sincerely,

Zuby.

 

Written by: Humble Ogbonna

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