The following is a story of man’s inhumanity to man. Names of individuals and of places have been changed to avoid embarrassment.

James Dozie is a lawyer in his fifties with a flourishing practice in Awka. He is getting a fair share of the many cases going on. So he has no reason to complain despite the recession which they say is ravaging Nigeria. On this particular afternoon, having had lunch at the Empire restaurant he came out to enter his car but suddenly remembered Bomboy and decided to go and see him. Joe was a distant and older relative he had not seen for nearly two years. Bomboy’s father had been a railway security guard and the title seemed to have taken over as his name. The wife was known as Mrs Guard and his only son as Bomboy Guard. Mr Guard had died very long ago and his wife had also passed on a few years ago. Bomboy, now over seventy years of age, was a likeable half wit who survived by hiring out rooms in the bungalow left for him by his parents. The name Bomboy had stuck with him from childhood and even at his age his behaviour was that of a boy.
James reached the address in Carter Street but there was no bungalow there.  He came out of the car and stared at the three storey building under construction. It was already roofed and workers were on scaffolding plastering the walls. He thought, what happened? Where is Bomboy? What happened to his house? He beckoned to one of the workers. The man came and said he did not know anybody called Bomboy. James turned to stare up and down the street. Then, thoughtfully, he made to enter his car. Then the woman standing outside the next building hurried to the car. She said, `I heard you asking about Bomboy, I mean Mr Guard.’
He faced her and said, `Yes? Do you know where he is?’
She came nearer and lowered her voice. `No, I don’t know where he is. But I know what happened. Bomboy was very good to us, very quiet and nice. We used to leave our children for him to look after every day.’
`He was a day minder? So what happened to him?’
`One day I saw some people bundling him into a car.’
`Yes. They bundled him into a car and zoomed off. I have not set eyes on him since then.’
`When was this?’
`Nearly two years ago.’
`What? Who is putting up this building?’
`I don’t know.’
`Okay, madam, thank you.’
As he drove back to his office he wondered what happened to Bomboy Guard. How could he just disappear? Bomboy was the only surviving member of his particular family. With him gone the family had gone into extinction. He felt sad. He sat in his office staring into space. He had a liking for Bomboy Guard, slim, always neatly dressed, always wearing a facing cap, ever ready with a child-like smile.    
Over the next two days he visited the police stations. Even with monetary inducement he got no information. No such kidnapping had happened to their knowledge. There had been no report about any Bomboy Guard. He wracked his brain. Bomboy had no near relatives in their home town, Nkwo. But he faintly remembered having met one of the mother’s relatives some years ago. So the next day he drove the forty miles to Ukani, Bomboy’s late mother’s home town, to see if any of her relatives knew where he was. Inquiries led him to late Mrs Guard’s sister’s home but he met only a teenage boy in the premises. He said his mother, Mrs Binite, had gone to Abuja. The boy said he had met Uncle Bomboy only once years ago but did not know where he was. He advised James to come back on Saturday and he would see his mother and other relatives. There was a death in the larger family and everybody would be home for the funeral.
James was back on Saturday.  Bomboy Guard’s aunt, junior sister to Joe’s mother, her first daughter, a police woman from Abuja, and four other relatives that included two men were there. They all appeared anxious to see the stranger asking for Bomboy. No, none of them had seen him. They did not know where he was. They advised James to let them know if he found Bomboy. James thanked them for being so nice and walked towards his car. Yes, the open square nearby was full of people sitting and eating or drinking as usually happens after a burial. Mourning a departed is an opportunity for visitors and villagers to eat to their satisfaction. Sympathisers usually come to the family table, drop their pittance condolence money in the tray, and go and sit comfortably to be served food and drinks often worth a hundred times more than the condolence money. The village drunk, every village has one, barefooted in shirt and trousers, was dancing or staggering about near the DJ supplying music. He had a bottle of beer from which he took a swig every so often, some of the beer pouring on to his shirt. James went to his car and drove away slowly. As he turned a corner somebody waved him down. It was one of the people he had just had a meeting with and who swore they had not seen Bomboy. He cleared.
The man said, `I know where Bomboy is!’ He looked furtively left and right.   
James thought, I thought you did not know where he was. He asked, `Where’?
The man said, `Kene’s Happy Home.’
`I heard it is in Ndiuno.’
`What is he doing there?’
`That’s all I know,’ the man said and vanished.
James knew where Ndiuno was. He thought, what would he be doing in Ndiuno? He drove on. Ndiuno was thirty miles in another direction. This whole thing was getting more curious. He had to get to the bottom of this. But that must rest for another day.
A few days later, James drove to Ndiuno, a town larger than Ukani. Enquiries led him to `Kene’s Happy Home’. It was a bit removed from the main town. Being rather suspicious he drove slowly past it, made a U-turn and came back into the main town. He stopped at an eatery and ordered an egg roll and coca cola. The lady running the eatery was quite chatty and friendly. From her he learnt that `Kene’s Happy Home’ was where relatives lock up all sorts of people including mad people, mentally deranged people and others.
As he drove back to Enugu thoughts were chasing each other around in his mind. Bomboy being a half wit would easily fit in at `Kene’s Happy Home’ as long as he was being fed. He did not know anywhere and would not be bothered. Why did these people put him there? There was something sinister going on. He must get to the bottom of it.
So with his contacts in the top echelons of the police he arranged a raid of `Kene’s Happy Home’ on the pretext that Bomboy was a dangerous armed robber and brought him out and put him in the remotest part of his own home town, Nkwo, where two towns people agreed to feed him and look after him with James providing the money.
James now knew the people who kidnapped Bomboy Guard and put him in a mental home which was a crime but that was not his priority now. He had to establish why he was kidnapped. Were they the people putting up the new building where Bomboy’s bungalow had been? He followed up a hunch and went to the Lands Registry. His search revealed that the property was purportedly sold by Bomboy Guard to a Company called Binite Estates whose Managing Director was Mrs Grace Binite. What a world, he thought? How could a woman forge her half-wit nephew’s signature, steal his inheritance and confine him to die in a mental home?
So James took the Binite family to court on behalf of Bomboy. They had not only committed the crime of kidnapping but they had gone ahead to deprive him of his property. As a good lawyer he knew this was a clear case which he would easily win. And his labour would not be in vain. These people had already committed millions of naira to the uncompleted building. Even if he had to complete it himself he would recover his money easily and manage the property on behalf of Bomboy. Threats of dire consequences by the police woman member of the family did not scare him. He knew his way around. His only worry was that Bomboy was badly diabetic. But he would care for him and when he was better he would marry a wife for him. Yes, there were many women who would happily marry him, dim witted as he was. There were many women looking for roofs over their heads and three square meals a day.

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