”Ina Sardauna? Where is the Sardauna?” Nzeogwu shouted, pointing his gun at him but the man kept shaking his head asserting no knowledge of the Sardauna’s location.
“If you won’t tell me where your master is, I’ll kill you,” Nzeogwu screamed at him in Hausa.
“Okay, okay,” the man replied fearfully and led Nzeogwu to the annex of the building. Three other soldiers followed Nzeogwu while Waribor and the rest returned to the staging area where the guns were manned.
As Nzeogwu approached the adjoining rooms the man was leading them to, he heard screams and cries of women and children.
“We will not allow you out there,” the Sardauna’s eldest wife, Hafsatu, daughter of Mallam Abbas, the Waziri of Sokoto, spoke defiantly.
“But I have to go. They are here for me not for you. You have to be strong. I have to go out there,” the Sardauna pleaded. The other wives, with their children, were rattling their prayer beads in the midst of sobs.
As the Sardauna turned to go, Hafsatu held him firm in a tight embrace and wouldn’t allow him move. Zaruni, the Sardauna’s head of guard came in and alerted the Premier that the soldiers were approaching the annex but promised to defend the family with his life and that of his men.
“Zaruni, I know you must do your duty but my safety is in God’s hands,” the Sardauna said.
“No, you can’t die, you won’t die,” Hafsatu screamed in Hausa.
As she was crying, they heard gunshots outside. At this moment, Zaruni drew his bow and stood guard before the Sardauna and his family. With another sound of gunshots from his SMG, Nzeogwu kicked hard at the doors with his boots, which flung open and on sighting Zaruni, shot the poor guard who dropped dead at once, with his bow and arrows.
In the midst of the dark and screams of the women and children, Nzeogwu shouted, “Where’s the Sardauna?” But the women would not allow him move. Even the children were clinging to their mothers.
At last, the Premier managed to wriggle himself free from his wives but the eldest, Hafsatu, held on to him as he spoke.
“I am Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and the Premi…” With those words, Nzeogwu shot thrice at him; a bullet hitting his jaw, his wife, Hafsatu and his babaringa which penetrated his lower abdomen and lodged in his spinal cord.
The Sardauna and his wife fell with a loud thud to the screams of the women and children at the loudest decibels. It was music to Nzeogwu’s ears. The mission had been accomplished. He had satisfied his blood lust and his enraged eyes were returning to their former calm state. He blew the whistle to signal the end of the mission. Operation Damisa had finally come to an end.
As he approached the gate, he met Waribor and his men of the Charlie Company.
“Did you get the man?” Waribor asked.
“Yes, I got him,” Nzeogwu answered assuredly. He turned to the rest of the soldiers after he had got out of the gate and spoke triumphantly, “I have been successful, he’s dead.”
With that, they packed their remnants, got inside their landrovers and proceeded to their next mission unchallenged leaving the Sardauna’s residence in a glory of its former self. It was 2:45am and the harshness of the harmattan had just begun.
Source: A Carnage Before Dawn: A Historical Novel On Nigeria’s First Coup D’etat by Ayomide Akinbode.