'I am saying you and this schoolboy are criminal partners,
'It's not true, officer.'
The sergeant began to search for his evidence among the displayed books and magazines. At first, he found
Then, acting on an impulse, he made for a knotted polythene bag placed under a bench. He undid the knot and emptied the contents on the ground. There it was!
Another B and B English textbook for J.S.S. One. The one Yomi had earlier sold to Uncle T.J. Holding up the textbook, the sergeant said authoritatively. “This book is stolen from the same school. This
is a clear evidence that you have an accomplice in the school who steals for you.'
"That's not true, officer,' Uncle T.J. said
condemnably. I mistakenly bought that book for my daughter instead of the one recommended in her list of books. Since I had put her name on it and the bookseller would not take it back, I decided to sell it as a secondhand book.'
'What is the name of your daughter?'
"She is Omolara'
'I am Olatunde Johnson. My father is Johnson
That means your daughter is bearing Omolara Johnson,' the officer stated rightly.
'Yes, officer,'he quickly added. 'But you can't find any name on the book. I had cleaned off her names as soon as I learnt of my mistake and decided to sell it.
The sergeant opened the book and flipped to a page he possibly had crammed. It was one of the inside pages and it had the name of the owner written in bold letters.
He showed it to Uncle T.J.
‘You can read, can't you?' the sergeant askeominously
Uncle T.J. gave a shudder seeing the owner's name.
'How come this boy did not complete his job before page? He asked himself.
Uncle T.J. was now clammy with sweat.
handing the book to me? but I looked through the book myself when I took it home. God! Why didn't I see this page? He asked himself.
Uncle T.J was now clammy with sweat.
Can you, please, read out the name there?' said the sergeant hauntingly, still displaying the book before Uncle T.J.'s popping eyes. Seyi Kelani,'Uncle T.J. read out. I am sure it's not the same thing as Omolara Johnson.
'It is not, officer, 'Uncle T.J. surrendered. Please, I beg you, officer, forgive me. It will never happen again,
he pleaded, prostrating himself.
The scene had now attracted a vast crowd
of onlookers. The look on the faces of the people was that of pity for Yomi who was now crying hysterically. The
same look also wore hatred for Uncle TJ.
'Yomi will follow me to the police-station,' said the sergeant conclusively. Impassively, he brought out
handcuffs and put Uncle T.J.'s wrist in one of the rings and clamped it and Yomi's wrist in the second ring and clamped it. He whisked them away.
Sergeant Buraimo took time to secretly call Mama Leke on phone. He narrated to her the whole scenario, pleaded for sealed lips as usual and booked appointment
with her at the office of the principal of Beacon Comprehensive High School.
Mrs. Williams, the school counsellor, drove into the school compound in her Mercedez Benz car. She was returning from an official duty. She looked apparently disturbed behind the wheel. She alighted and instead of heading for her office, she made straight to Mrs. Redford's office. She met Mrs. Redford seated in her office.
'Your student, Yomi, is in police custody,' Mrs. Williams disclosed and took her seat.
'Police custody? How?' Mrs. Redford said, flabbergasted. 'I have just sent him home to come with his father,” she added.
“I saw him handcuffed together with an elderly man and a police detective hustling them to a parked car and they were driven away. They were alleged of being
accomplices in the theft of books,' Mrs. Williamsnarrated.
To the police station, of course,' said Mrs.
'So, what do we do now?'
"We have to inform the Principal about it,' Mrs. Williams suggested and shook her head sympathetically.
'So, Yomi is the thief in my class'. Mrs. Redford Williams, I have sinned against some innocent souls.' day is for the owner. And that the dare-devil armed rob-
bers who later face firing squad after being caught and prosecuted started with the stealing of petty things.'
"To where?' said absent-mindedly. She added remorsefully, Mrs.
'Sinned? How do you mean?'
Mrs. Redford began soberly. 'Since I was made the class teacher of J.S.S. 1A, I had been frequently disturbed with cases of theft. There was hardly a day or
a week that something would not be stolen. And each time I had the opportunity to be with them, I counselled
them on the deleterious effects of stealing. I often told them the saying that every day is for the thief but one