It is day five of our six-day tale and Sisi Eko is facing up to the reality that her Dubai trip may not happen after all.

But first things first: thanks for coming back. If you are joining us for the first time, I’ll quickly bring you up to speed: The Ransom Letters of Sisi Eko is a short story told in six letters. It is also a good-natured duel for a copy of my novel, Diaries of a Dead African, which will go to the best guess as to the endgame that will be revealed tomorrow. By midnight tonight I will review the comments and decide who came closest to predicting my endgame. So far we have… 55 comments. Yes, I’ll start another serial next Monday if we hit the 100 mark. If you haven’t made a prediction… or if your current prediction has been rubbished by the latest letter, do jump into the fray! Thanks for your opinions so far. As usual, I am setting out Ransom letters 1-4 below, to save you a few clicks.

***
Day One

Dear Mr. Bomb,

Thank you for your letter. Don’t worry, I’m not mad so I won’t go to the police. The bribe I paid them 2 years ago for my stolen car which they never recovered is still vexing me. I will keep this to myself. Please take care of my darling husband. He likes to eat soft eko in the night, if you can manage it. By now he must have told you about his injections. I know you may not believe him but it’s true: if he doesn’t take his anti-clot injections every night he will just die on your hands – and me I am not going to pay any ransom for the dead body of my husband o. I’m telling you now. It is true that the injection is extremely expensive, and I know you may not have budgeted for it when you were planning this kidnapping, but you have to spend money to get money, not so? So please let me know what the ransom is and I will pay it. My husband is a good and a faithful man. We don’t have any children and he is all I have. As you instructed, I will stroll down Tosin street at exactly 9 pm, wearing a yellow headtie, and I will give this letter to the first beggar boy that comes carrying a yellow bowl and calls me ‘Ashawo’. But please now, can you choose another password next time? I don’t see the point of being insulted for nothing’s sake.

Mrs. Ashiru Koton

***

Day Two

Dear Bayo de Bomb,

Sorry o, I wasn’t trying to make fun of your nickname. It is just my lack of experience of things like this. Please forgive me.

About this kidnap business, is this ‘5,000,000’ naira or ‘50,000’ naira I am reading? I think the zeros are a bit too much. Didn’t you know I am just a housewife? Or don’t you people do any research before kidnapping somebody? Anyway, me I also read newspapers as well. The Surulere businesswoman they kidnapped three weeks ago, is it not one hundred thousand naira that they paid? My husband is an ordinary civil servant and you are asking me for five million! I know that the Surulere people took three months to negotiate the ransom down, but look, I don’t have three months. And with the cost of anti-clot injections, you yourself don’t. Look, the truth is that I am going to Dubai this very weekend and my ticket is non-refundable, so just tell me your ‘last price’. Me, I am offering to pay fifty thousand naira. Please. I don’t have the kind of money that you are asking. If I try and borrow more than five thousand naira my friends will laugh at me. Unless I tell them the truth… first you say I shouldn’t tell anybody, next you say I should bring five million. From where? Does your own housewife keep five million under her bed? Don’t forget that my husband is just an ordinary deputy director in the civil service. Yes he sees a little bribe here and there like everybody else, but it is not the type that you are thinking.

Or do you want me to talk to my husband’s senior brother? He can raise two or three hundred thousand easily. The problem is that my in-law is a senior director at the Ministry of Police Affairs. That is the problem. If I tell him he will just be thinking, Police! Police! That’s the problem. And you know how efficient the police can be when the investigations concerns them personally. – If they arrest anybody, there is no court. They just settle everything with ‘accidental discharge’. I am sending my savings passbook with this letter so that you can see the kind of money that my husband gives me every month. I am not complaining, mark you, because he pays most of my bills. Except that I don’t see the money in cash, that’s all. You know how you men are. Don’t say I’m teaching you your job o, but normally kidnappers will kidnap a child or a mistress or something, not the main man who can raise the money. Anyway, should I send you my trinkets? They are not real gold, but they are very, very pretty (and I know my husband will replace them when he comes back). If you agree, I can pack them up very well and give them to your beggar boy instead of your five million naira.

By the way, Mugu is not much better than Ashawo. I will answer Mugu this time, but for next time, let the password be Sisi Eko. This is not a good home-training you are giving your apprentices, I have to tell you: teaching them to be calling respectable women like me bad names like that.

Mrs. Ashiru Koton.

***

Day Three

Dear Bayo de Bomb,

Hah! Look, I’m begging you on my knees, don’t castrate my husband! Are there not enough women in this world? Bayo de Great, what is really vexing you now? If it is that password of a thing, okay, call me Ashawo! If it is rudeness, ask my husband, this is how Ashiru Koton talks… and if it is that other thing… who will you believe, a weed-smoking beggar boy or a respectable housewife like me? I was wearing a big yellow headtie with buba ati iro. If he saw a ganja-vision that looks like me, wearing green beret and black raincoat and trying to follow him, is that my fault? Am I James Bond to be changing dress in the middle of the road? That your beggar boy must be mad. I don’t know why you should send a ganja-smoker to do a serious job like this! Don’t be surprised if he finally runs away with the ransom!

Anyway, thank you for reducing your ransom to the final, final price of one million naira… And thank you for returning my passbook. Let us leave my Dubai spending money for now. I have told you the ticket is non-refundable. Even my hotel has been paid before I even got my visa. So am I supposed to fly to Dubai and sit in the hotel for 1 week without eating? Will you do that to your own wife? How can you think of that sort of punishment? How much is that chicken change spending money anyway, for you to put your eyes inside it? Despite that you are a kidnapper and I am a respectable housewife, with the things I did to get that spending money, we might still meet in hell! And then you want me to give you the money? Bayo de Great Bomber, let’s leave that chicken-change money for now, please.

But don’t worry. I have seen how to solve this problem. I don’t know how much money my husband has in the bank (you know how secretive you men can be!) but I am sending the cheque I tore from his cheque book, which arrived by post this morning. I have written my name and your one million naira final, final ransom. Let him just sign it and write the letter of authority. I am his wife and even though the money is heavy, the bank manager knows me. (If you go there yourself, you know there are plenty of cameras and police and whatnot.) I am sure I can cash the cheque for you, but you have to ask him if he has enough money there or not. Because I don’t like to go on foolish errands.

And please o, don’t useless my husband for me!

Mrs. Ashiru Koton.

***

Day Four

Dear Marwa de Machete,

Thank you for taking over this matter. And thank you very much for the new password. ‘Sisi Eko’ is a very nice nickname. I don’t know why that your Bomber boy was making so much wahala about giving me a decent password.

I don’t have any extra anti-clot injections at home. My husband buys them at one pharmacy in Ikeja. Ask him, I am just a housewife. I am sorry you had to run out of your house at 2 o’clock this morning to look for injections, but I warned that your doubting-thomas assistant. I am happy my darling husband is well now.

Thank you for the cheque. Why should I be angry that you changed the money to ten million naira. Afterall,you were discussing face-to-face with my husband who owns the money, and I am just an ordinary housewife. The only problem was the alterations all over the cheque. If you want to alter a cheque why couldn’t you look for the same black biro that I used to write it? How much is black biro? The bank manager became suspicious at the blue and black ink we used to write the cheque and refused to pay it, especially when you didn’t allow my husband to answer his mobile phone when they tried to reconfirm the cheque. In fact, when he saw the spot of blood on the cheque he insisted on calling the police. I told him it was red ink, but he said it looked like blood, so I started to scream (I know how to cry very well) and he agreed that it was just a domestic husband and wife matter. Now, just because of your greed everybody’s eyes are red in that bank. There is no point in sending you another cheque because I dare not go back there. That is the problem with you greedy people: by now you should have one million naira in your pocket, and I should have my husband at home, helping me to pack for my visit to Dubai, but no: you saw a cheque that is not even blank and you started adding zeros again. First you sent beggars to call me ‘prostitute’ on the street, now you’ve made everybody in the bank think I am a thief!

You better take the fifty thousand naira I have at home and let’s settle this matter once and for all, before my husband’s injections sends you into debt. (Don’t worry, I will still add my trinkets. As for me I always keep my promises.) You don’t have to make millions and millions on your first job, you know. Don’t say I am insulting you with proverbs but you know that when the trader waits too long for the best price, her tomatoes can become rotten. Since we are talking about food, did you remember what I said about soft eko? It’s not that he cannot eat pounded yam at night, it’s just that I know how many piles operations he has had.

Anyway, I am sending you back the uselessed cheque with all the ‘Refer to Drawer stamps’ – before you start thinking that I have cashed your money and added it to my Dubai money (I know how you men think!). By the way, between you and me, whose blood was that on the cheque? Don’t say I am doubting you o, but please send me a picture of my darling husband. And ask him for me if true-true he had ten million naira in that account? I didn’t know that overdraft can reach like that…

Mrs. Ashiru (Sisi Eko) Koton.

***

Day Five

Dear Marwa de Machete,

This picture of my husband… I have been crying since morning… why did you naked him like that? Even his mouth is double the size it used to be. Look, I’m very sorry if I vexed you. – I don’t even know what I could have written to offend you like this, but whatever it is, I’m very, very sorry. Kai! …But why? What sort of people will flog an innocent man just because of his wife’s sharp tongue? And what did I even write in the letter that could have vexed you like this?

Well, at least his john-thomas is still there.

You people are still behaving like armed robbers. The newspaper said that the Surulere Businesswoman used to play ludo with her kidnappers and eat akara from the same plate with them. And for three months nobody harassed her ‘as woman concerned’! Please now, behave like kidnappers. After all you are not working in Guantanamo. My darling husband is your tomatoes. You must not let him rotten.

To come to the business side of the matter, I think that hundred thousand is not impossible for me to raise. This is what you should have said since, instead of all those million millions you have been calling. Now my flight is leaving tomorrow night and with how my husband is looking now, I don’t even have the mind to go again, even if you release him now. God will punish all of you, true! If you see how I suffered for this Dubai journey! Anyway, my own watches are kpanjo, but my husband has one expensive Rolex that I can use to borrow the remaining fifty thousand. He doesn’t normally wear it except he is going for owambe parties and I have been looking everywhere for it.

Ask him if he put it in his safe. – When we were building our house in the good old days, my husband used to see serious bribes; and EFCC was working well that time, always sniffing around like police dogs. So he use to hide his bribes at his senior brother’s house, which is actually their family house. We still have a room there that we lock up, with a safe inside the wardrobe. It is free from armed robbers because of the mobile policemen permanently stationed at his brother’s gate. Now that his bribe income has dried up, my darling husband doesn’t go there much. Just ask him where he kept his Rolex. If it is in his safe, I will need his combination. Tell him I am not selling his Rolex o! (I know how he will hate that sort of thing!) I am just going to borrow money on it until he comes out.

Hai! Did you flog my husband with wire or koboko? Please send me pictures of his back view. I have to do a vigil for his healing tomorrow and anoint the pictures and burn incense in front of them. I am sending his buba and sokoto, in case you have torn all his clothes in your vex.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs. Ashiru (Sisi Eko) Koton.

***

So here’s the last chance to go on record with an opinion before Sisi Eko’s final letter tomorrow. I’d love to read your thoughts. If we hit the 100-comment milestone tomorrow and you want to stay in the loop on another serial, why don’t you sign up for an email alert, you’ll find a link on the right sidebar. Enjoy the weekend – but whether you are in Afghanistan or Tsotsi-land, do steer clear of kidnappers ;-)!

Related Posts:
Part 1: published on 15th November, 2010.
Part 2: published on 16th November, 2010.
Part 3: published on 17th November,2010.
Part 4: published on 18th November, 2010.
Part 6: published on 20th November, 2010


26 Replies to “The Ransom Letters (Part 5 of 6)”

  1. Ivor W. Hartmann says:

    Hmm, well I guess my previous guess was wrong unless he’s going to extraordinary lengths to be convincing, but with this Dubai trip, the gold watch, and seemingly inept kidnappers, it’s still possible.

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      Ivor, your confidence in the theory that the hubby is behind this kidnapping (in the face of a mouth double its original size) reminds me of the 419 conspiracy where, to persuade the mark, or mugu, it was necessary to punch one of the scammers convincingly. So they attached a hefty bonus to the punch.

      If indeed the husband is a party to the kidnapping, he must certainly be getting a bonus for his bruises

      Reply
  2. Stanley says:

    when she goes for the watch at the safe,she’ld tel her police inlaw who will have to get involved

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      In other words the story will end in a blaze of siren glory?… we shall see! Only a few hours now.

      Reply
  3. Jeannie Brandt-Lietzau says:

    Such a man would have a mistress…..where is the mistress ? Maybe a mistress would buy his way out and the wife could take her trip in peace ;>)
    Mrs. Koton’s concern for her husband seems genuine but so too does her fear that she will not be able to take the trip she has obviously been looking forward to. Seems she has had to go to some lengths to make the trip possible.
    No police….the man took bribes…Hm-m-m-m

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      Finally the M word. Although, why would ‘such a man’ have a mistress? Do mistresses necessarily go with the bribe territory? Maybe readers more knowledgeable than I will know 🙂

      Now- and I am just being a devil’s advocate here – it seems to me that it is the woman who has confessed to some terrible (though unspecified) things that she has done to fund the Dubai trip, which were bad enough to send her to hellfire, and it is the man whose wife described as ‘faithful’… just some devil’s advocacy as I said…

      Where’s the mistress indeed!

      Reply
  4. Yemi Soneye says:

    Mrs. Ashiru Kotu is a good housewife and her husband is quite dependent on her. He requires injections, and eats at impossible hours. She played her role well. But for all of it, she was never appreciated.
    Mr Ashiru Kotun is secretive, selfish and stingy. Her stolen car was not replaced. If replaced, it was with a decrepit one. Her trinkets were worthless whereas he has a Rolex. Her savings passbook can pass for a pauper’s. He alienated her from everything. Yet, he kept having her project the profile of a rich man’s wife. He probably booked for her Dubai journey after seeing other men’s wives. From the societal perception, she cannot ask for loans without being thought of as a joker. The five thousand naira, her ‘friends’ can easily give is to save her from the troubles of going to the bank.
    Mrs. Ashiru Kotun deserved a better life and this she sought for by having her husband kidnapped after reading the Surulere woman’s. Nevertheless, the kidnapping might have been spurred by her husband’s intention of marrying another wife. That will ultimately translate into complete grounding, more so when she bore him no child. He already goes to Owambe parties without her.
    Despite the ‘bitterness’, it was not all about business. Throughout the letters, she was both worried about her husband and the ransom. She shouted when he was treated badly but at the same time incited them to get the truth about his financial status out of him.
    Mrs. Ashiru Kotun is the mastermind. And this is very much evident in her warning against the ganja-smoker, in her thinking up of the cheque solution, in her being thankful that the one million Naira got increased to ten, in her anger that the cheque was not cashable and finally, in her desperation to find the Rolex.

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      @Yemi….Hmmmm. Very detailed analysis here. When you analyse the facts you are spot on, but as to the assumptions and projections… tomorrow shall tell. But you have clearly invested in the Sisi Eko Mastermind Theory, which depends on the assumption that her letters are not just being addressed to her employees or contractors, but being written by way of evidence and to create an ‘alibi’… Barely six hours to the moment of truth

      Reply
  5. Chikodili says:

    Is this a husband’s test of his wife’s love and devotion? Is that what it is?

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      My lips are currently sealed, Chikodili 😉
      But I read you.
      Would take a masochist though, to take beating to prove his wife’s love…

      Reply
  6. KT says:

    The woman knows what we don’t. Maybe her husband was cheating and was kidnapped by the husband of the woman she was cheating with. In any case, the woman knows this. Maybe she even tipped the men off about it in the first place. She is doing all she is doing so that she can get the last laugh, and leave for Dubai for good. She loves him, but she feels betrayed, and she is playing the game to get all she could from the man before leaving his sorry ass. If she wanted him out so bad, by now she’d have called the police.

    No matter where this leads, it was nice reading it.

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      @KT… if I strip out the ‘maybe’s, this is what I have left: ” She is doing all she is doing so that she can get the last laugh, and leave for Dubai for good. She loves him, but she feels betrayed, and she is playing the game to get all she could from the man before leaving his sorry ass. If she wanted him out so bad, by now she’d have called the police.”

      interesting…

      We shall see,

      Reply
  7. Abdul Adan says:

    Interesting. Perhaps the wise thing for them for to kidnap the wife, instead of the man. She needs her husband’s money more than they do. If I were them, I would let him go, apologize to him for what I put him though, and promise to come for the wife at a future date. He is the one who can pay. Patriachy could be the problem here.

    Reply
  8. Abdul Adan says:

    I mean’t the wise thing for them was to Kidnapp the wife fomt he beginning.

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      Hello Abdul,
      there’s an irreverent saying that surgeons bury their ‘mistakes’.
      Well that is nothing compared to armed robbers and kidnappers!
      I would think that the kidnapper who comes unstuck and finds that an ‘asset’ wasn’t yielding might be tempted to invest a final bullet or two and try another abduction. Unless of course there were other ties that made that option not feasible…

      Reply
  9. Sandra C-Williams says:

    Ooo loving the climatic replies and applaud Yemi even thought I still believe the husband is not innocent. Mmm maybe his mistress is his ‘kidnapper’ but he has to make good by injuring himself. As I said before, he wants out but misplanned…. His wife does seem a bit crazy all the same

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      @ Sandra! That M word again. Since I am about to blog the final letter I can disclose that a mistress is definitely in the mix but not quite in the way you and Jeannie intuit.

      Yup, Sisi is certainly a character!

      Reply
  10. Zino Asalor says:

    Thanks Chuma, for this interesting piece. The wife is a riot! I would say that the wife set up the whole thing, probably to punish her husband. I don’t know why but I can imagine her laughing at the picture of him naked with a swollen lip.

    Nice one!

    Reply
    1. Chuma says:

      @Zino,
      You are spot on with the laughing bit, but she didn’t set it up, no. Read on now…

      Reply
  11. Ngozichi says:

    hahaha.. Chuma, this really peaks one’s interest, as well as comical, Sisi Eko is a very intelligent woman o!, I think she is behind the kidnap, to really find out how much her husband has in the bank, or my other guess is she has managed to outwit the kidnappers and they only get paid what she decides to pay them,
    what kind of “yeye” kidnappers are these? they are really amateur and sisi eko will surely run the show, or she is literally running the show

    Reply
  12. Kofi Gbedemah says:

    Beautiful piece! I must say, I’m impressed by Yemi’s in depth analysis of the whole drama.
    In addition, it makes very easy, light AND humorous reading.
    Thanks, Chuma.
    Looking forward to part six.
    Cheers!

    Reply

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