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The Miscreants in Zion International College (ZIC) were severally warned. They engaged in all sorts of gross misconduct. They contravened the school rules on several occasions but were not discovered until one day when their cups got filled. Then what Thomas Mark told them became clear, it is extremely good to be good". Unfortunately for them, they clutched at straws, chased the wind and shadows, yet failed. God wanted to sanitize the mission school, which had been the heart's desire of Thomas Mark. He opposed all misdeeds, rebuked and counselled by Virtue of his position as the Senior Prefect. Despite all this, he whom the gods want to kill, they first make hard of hearing as the miscreants paid deaf ears to Thomas's advice. Eventually, they reaped what they sowed in a very painful way.
I recall the events that started the story of the miscreants as if it happened just yesterday; they were deeply etched in my memory.
I recall the events that started the story of the miscreants as if it happened just yesterday; they were deeply etched in my memory.I recall the events that started the story of the miscreants as if it happened just yesterday; they were deeply etched in my memory.
One fateful Saturday night, the food/hostel Master, Mr. Donald, was coming back from a meeting of his town union in Bembe, He was whistling for he was happy that an agelong feud between two warring factions in their town union had been reconciled as both sides agreed
to sheath their swords and embrace peace. He also whistled to keep himself company. The road to the teachers' quarters in Zion International College (ZIC) was a lonely stretch and the darkness which engulfed that area did not help matters at all.
Soon, he hit his left foot on a stone and cursed under his breath, Goose pimples came all
Over his body. He recalled that it was a general belief that hitting one's left foot on something usually signified a bad omen. He however shrugged off the belief and tried to instill courage in himself. However, the sense of premonition, of danger lurking in the dark, persisted. Mr. Donald
chided himself for benaving like a frightened doddering old woman while at the same time shoring up his confidence with the fact that he had walked on that stretch of road countless times in many years.
"Stop there, you jerk! a harsh and guttural voice suddenly ordered out of the darkness. Mr. Donald blinked his eye like an owl, trying to recognize the voice.
"If you move, I shoot you! the voice bellowed as a petrified Mr. Donald tried to run for his dear life. Immediately, a strong hand covered his face while others overpowered him. Mr. Donald was like a helpless chicken.
"NoW, you mercenary beef, where did you keep the money students paid for their feeding
which you took and made them to be eating poor food.? a gruff voice asked Mr. Donald. A deadly blow and a kick were given to him. At the same time, one of the assailants was busy tying Mr. Donald's eyes with a thick black cloth. Mr. Donald gave a painful grunt. "SSsh don't make a noise or else you say your last prayers, preparatory to joining your ancestors, a menacing voice threatened and Mr. Donald received hot slap on his mouth that left a salty taste of blood on his tongue.
"You starve students like Mark Twist in the workhouse in order to enrich yourself. May you rot in hell with your ill-gotten wealth," another voice uttered.
"Shoot him!" a steely and deadly voice wounded. People believed that he was attacked by armed robbers until he recovered and narrated his ordeal.
The whole school was in shock at the turn of events. The Director, Mr. Daniel was especially aghast. He did not know that he was training some hooligans in the name of students. Being a strict disciplinarian, he called his teachers for a meeting on how to nip the ugly development in the bud.
"My dear colleagues, you all can agree with me that an ugly precedent has been set in this school. From the look of things, the dastardly attack on Mr Donald, our colleague, can only be the handiwork of student cultists. We cannot allow cultism to thrive in this school, because it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Anybody can be the next victim. It may be you or me. We have to nip it in the bud; we have to bale this water while it is ankle deep otherwise, it will grow
into a hydra headed monster that will be very difficult to kill or stamp out". Mr. Daniel said.
The other teachers voiced their opinions and later they generally agreed that no stone should be left unturned to fish out the miscreants who would be severely punished to serve as
deterent to others. They also agreed to set up a body called Operation Restore Discipline (ORD) charged with the duty of investigating and treating every case of indiscipline in the school.
The principal and some teachers invited me, Thomas, the Senior Prefect among were other prefects and school functionaries and questioned us closely to find out if we knew anything about
the people that attacked Mr. Donald. We were ignorant of their activities because they had
operated with utmost secrecy. The principal urged us to keep our eyes wide open and our ears to the ground in order to find out the actors behind the ugly drama.
We tried our best but it yielded nothing even the detective efforts of the school's security yielded nothing. There was an uneasy calm in the School, One morning, the Director addressed the Students on the grave consequences of cuitism.
He stood on the platform and surveyed the students especially SS1.and SS2 students with stern eyes as if to fish out the culprits but each student looked as innocent as a baby.
"It has come to our notice that some of you have started forming bad gangs which unleash terror and mayhem on their percelved enemies in this school. I want you to know that
this school, Zion International College, has a long history of academic excellence. I and my
teachers will not fold our arms and allow a few hooligans and ruffians to drag the name of this
prestigious school to the mud. We will definitely not allow gangsters and ragamuffins to hold the whole school hostage and disturb learning by
enthroning a culture of violence and lawlessness.
And violence example is the dastardly beating of
Mr Donald by some unscrupulous miscreants".
At this stage a loud wave of murmuring arose among the students. The principal had to
ring a bell before silence could be maintained.
"I have to advise you all to avoid cultism because it is evil. Those who indulge in it thrive in
evil, Wickedness and violence. Shun cultism because it does not pay and you are not born with it. Cultists live in fool's paradise because they have sold their birthright for mere porridge and can never have peace. Instead or enoying good life, they live in perpetual fear, insecurity and danger. If you want success in school, keep away from such cruel, callous, devious miscreants for they are heading towards ruin and destruction. Maintain your unique identity as a child of God without associating with evil. Cult
members are like the grasshopper which was decaying but started boasting that it was
emitting oil. At the twilight of their lives, you will see that they have reaped what they sowed.
Most of thenm will either die in the process or end up with nothing to show for their exaggerated lifestyle. Once again, I remind you that this
school will not tolerate cultism in any form. He who has ears let him hear; a word is enough for
the wise", the Director concluded.
Being a deeply religious man, he ordered that a hymn in Ancient and Modern be sung. It
went like this:
Dear Lord and Father of mankind
Forgive our foolish ways
Reclothe us in our rightful minds
In purer lives thy service find
In deeper reverence strain.
Breathe through the heat of our desire
Thy coolness and thy brain
Let sense be numb, let flesh retire
Speak through the earthquake wind and fire
O still small voice of calm.
As we sang the song that day, it took on a deeper meaning. For the next two weeks, the school was calm with everybody behaving in a
disciplined and orderly manner. Even the senior students who used to be stubborn and
recalcitrant refrained from their willful disobedience and obeyed us. This, coupled with the fact that our detective mission did not find out anything awkward or suspicious, therefore lured us into a false sense of security.
We were then caught napping when the miscreant struck two weeks later. It was on a saturday morning when I got a terse summoned by the principal and members of the Operation
Restore Discipline (ORD). I answered the summons wondering what had gone amiss.
Immediately I saw the stern and granite faces of the principal and the members of the ORD, I knew that something was terribly wrong. They all looked grave and it appeared to me that they held me responsible for whatever had gone wrong.
Wishing that the ground would open and swallow me, I stood with trepidation, facing their accusing eyes.
"You mean to tell me, Thomas, that as the same Prefect, you don't know the movement of those you are leading? The principal was the
first to fire this shot. I stood twisting my fingers because I did not know what to answer since I had no idea what he was talking about. Then, Sir Robinson dropped a bombshell.
Thomas, do you know that the Games and Social Activities Master was attacked last night in
his house.. his own house?"
"Yes, attacked probably by the same miscreants that attacked Mr. Donald, Sir Brent said in a rueful tone.
The Director and members of the ORD charged me and my lieutenants to intensify our detective work by putting our ears to the ground to fish out the miscreants. I slowly went back to
the hostel, feeling like somebody who had failed in his mission. Later, I mustered courage and
summoned all the prefects and school functionaries and narrated to them what that Mr. Daniel and the members of the ORD had told me.
We decided that all hands should be on deck to fish out the undesirable elements behind this
spate of violence in the school. We even decided to act as spies in order to ferret out the culprits. It was later that I got the details of how Mr Ramon, the Games and Social Activities Master was
attacked. He was sleeping peacefully with his family when the night marauders came.
Who's inside this house? Open the door or we kill you!" a steely and menacing voice had
ordered and a loud kick at the door followed. Mr Ramon had jerked up from sleep and as he
hesitated, wondering if he heard the voice correctily, it came again, this time more insistent
and authoritative. Mr. Ramon got up with legs that shook like that of an old man suffering from palsy and the door. It did not occur to him to call the police or any of the teachers for help. A blinding torchlight was pointed in his eyes while he felt the muzzle of a gun in his ear.
"Your set and that of your wife" ordered a gruff voice that Mr. Ramon dared not disobey. As he gave his wife's handset to the assailants, his wife woke up and Mr Ramon signalled her not to
shout or make a noise when the poor Woman saw five masked figures, all dressed in black.
"Come on, lie flat on your face! one of the figures said and he pointed a gun at the terrified
Woman. Mrs. Ezeadi obeyed quickly.
The other four figures started beating Mr Ramon and told him not to make any noise unless he was in a hurry to join his ancestors.
"You skunk, you bougnt low quality jerseys for the students instead of the high quality ones you were given money for. Besides, your claim that armed robbers took the money you were taking to the market to buy new boots is false. You have diverted the money to your pocket, thinking that nobody will know. Now, tell us where the money is", growled one of the
figures as he held Mr. Ramon's throat in a vice-like grip.
"Honestly, I didn't touch a single penny......."
Mr. Ezeadi began.
"Liar! Bloody liar!'" One of the figures cut him short.
"In addition, you have been so strict in preventing guys from befriending the chicks. You
are hereby warned in your own interest to desist from such or you'lI regret it, the figure holding
Mr. Ramon's throat warned in a deadly voice.
Before poor Mr Ramon could reply the figure gave him a thunderous slap that sent him
sprawling to the ground. Blows and kicks rained on him until he passed out. Immediately, the
masked figures vanisned into the dark night.
We, the prerects tried our best to find out the culprits behind this ugly drama but we could not. The Director invited external security operatives to help the internal security operations get at the root of the matter but it yielded no result as well. Everybody was mystified by this deadly group that operated with
utmost precision and secrecy. The Director however was not daunted in his efforts to stamp
out the group. He believed that one day; they would make a slip which would lead to their capture.
"Everyday is for the thief but one day is for the owner," he consoled himself.
While our indefatigable Director fought tooth and nail to sniff out the students behind the violence in our school, I did not relax. I called the members of the students Christian Movement
and told them of the need to go into serious fasting and prayers So that the miscreants would
be fished out. We did a seven day fasting and prayers, trusting God for an answer. After this,
we kept our fingers crossed, hoping that the culprits would be unmasked to put an end to this
horrible nightmare. A few days later, Mrs Joy Giwa, the Guidance Counselor, was attacked.
She was coming back from the village around 7pm on Sunday when she noticed that some
strange figures were trailing her. She increased the speed of her vehicle, trying to smother the
panic rising in her. Just as she thought she was clear of her assailants, some masked figures
blocked her way when she was about to take the route leading to the school. Visibly shaken, sh
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