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Sheila Sanda
Apostle Damian sat in his office, counselling two pregnant teenage girls. By the sides of the teenagers were two huge bags and other small bags containing their personal effects.

Apostle Damian raised their hope, promising them that now that they have approached Daughters of Hope Foundation to seek succour, all their problems would be solved. He shook the hands of both girls and encouraged them to feel at home, his face lighting up with a huge smile.

He was still smiling when Edna walked in. The smile disappeared from apostle Damian’s face but on realising that Edna was alone, the smile returned. He had nothing to worry about . Edna was just an imbecile.

“Edna,” Apostle Damian called her in a patronising manner. “What brought you here?” The two pregnant teenagers carried their luggages and disappeared through an inner corridor to the back of the building. Apostle Damian watched as Edna ignored his questions, grabbed a seat and sat down.

“What’s going on with you girl?” Apostle Damian asked, thinking hard. Was Edna missing again? Had she raced her way back to his place like she did in Nurse Theresa’s traditional maternity home. He was not comfortable with her. Something about her signified bad omen. Nobody had heard of Nurse Theresa for six days and nobody knew what happened to her. The traditional mid-wife left her home without contacting anybody and the neighbours said she and her husband had travelled. And they told no one? Apostle Damian did not see Edna as a threat but something told him all was not well with Edna’s visit.

“Hello…,” greeted a familiar woman and two strange women that just walked in. Apostle Damian’s fears were confirmed. This was the woman who bought the twins that Edna gave birth to several years ago. Was it a mere coincidence that both the real mother and the surrogate visited at the same time.?

“Hello madam. How may I be of help?”, Apostle Damian inquired.

“Mummy, he is the man that harboured me during my pregnancy,” Edna blurted out.

:Who harboured you? Who are you?”asked Apostle Damian feigning ignorance.

“. You harboured me, you took me to nurse Theresa’s nursing home where I delivered but fate made my own mother the buyer of my children.”

“You must be mad! Imbecile,” Apostle Damian said loudly.

“Yes,” Mrs. Achebe said standing up “She was an imbecile. Nurse Theresa tried to make her an imbecile in connivance with the likes of you. But by the grace of God, Edna is okay, to God be the glory.”

“Who are you and what are you talking about?”, asked Apostle Damian as the two pregnant teenagers returned to him to make an inquiry. Apostle Damian tried using an eye contact to communicate to them to leave immediately but the girls didn’t understand. They stood looking at him sheepishly.

“Apostle Damian James,” said the two other women moving closer. “You are under arrest for illegally harbouring pregnant teenagers and selling their children at birth to unknown individuals. You have the right to remain silent as anything you said shall be used in evidence against you.”

“Shiit!”, Apostle Damian swore. But looking at the guests again and realising that they were only women, he pushed them down and tried to run. One of them got up immediately and brandished a gun. She shot into the ceiling and Apostle Damian stopped. The women who were under-cover policemen took him away in hand-cuffs. It was when he got to the station that he realised that Nurse Theresa was being held for child trafficking.

Mrs. Achebe smiled broadly. Hers had become a mission accomplished. Now, it remained one more person to go for. Pastor Patty Mcwizu.

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The premises of ‘All Saints Glorious Assembly radiated with pomp and pageantry as the congregation awaited the special visitors. After the visit of some important personalities who came in a convoy three months ago, more important people had started worshipping in the church and the premises was always littered with choice cars and very important personalities. Patty Mcwizu’s name travelled far and wide and more women got pregnant after prayers in her church. Patty Mcqizu became an over-night success story, a super-star and a role model. Women thronged her church and sought to serve her because of the miracle of her eight children. She acquired wealth and dressed like a super model.

Pastor Mcwizu was set to celebrate the third anniversary of her octuplets and she wanted to celebrate it in style. She gave out invitations to as many prominent people as possible. The only thing that worried her was the fact that the invitation cards sent to Apostle Damain’s ‘Daughters of Hope’ were returned and Apostle Damian was said to have travelled with some of his key staff. Pastor Patty Mcwizu had wondered breifly why Nurse Theresa who had been ordained a Prophetess in her church decided to travel at the same time with Apostle Damian. She concluded they might have been working together on some projects.

Pastor Mcwizu decided to go on with her own project. The early arrival of Mrs. Achebe and her daughter Edna lightened her spirit.

“What about the twins?”, she asked Mrs. Achebe.

“Oh, they are with my relatives who visited,” Mrs Achebe responded feigning a smile. Patty Mcwizu’s glance focused briefly on the two women who came with Mrs. Achebe.

“They are my friends. They need babies too. So, I brought them to come and see.”

“They will not only see. They will experience the miracles too,” Patty Mcwizu assured them with a most assuring smile as she marched regally towards the altar.

Mrs. Achebe walked with her visitors to the front seats marked reserved and settled down. She also offered conspicuous seats to her female companions who sang and prayed along during the service.

They clapped with the congregation, danced with them and marvelled at the testimony of Patty Mcwizu’s octuplets as the Pastor narrated how she had each baby with its own placenta in what was supposed to be one pregnancy. The congregation went wild, praising God and dancing as Pastor Mcwizu’s sonorous voice rang through the auditorium. The octuplets were presented to the congregation one after the other and the congregation cheered and praised God.

Mrs. Achebe gave a special number, thanking God about her twins, narrating how she passed through the eye of a needle to acquire the twins whom she revealed were the most important things in her life. She almost let the cat out of the bag but quickly realised the danger in doing so. Her female companions smiled at her near-blunder.

When Mrs. Achebe went to the Police to narrate her story, she had alleged that she was deceived into believing she was pregnant and almost believed she was the biological mother of the kids. The DNA revealed her genes were in the blood samples of the twins but a higher percentage of Edna’s gene revealed that Edna was their true mother. Even the traces of her late husband’s gene were in the twins blood sample and that gave a strong credibility to the fact that Edna was the biological mother of the twins. Edna had gone as far as revealing who the father of the babies was, a young undergraduate who came to spend a long vacation in the neighbourhood. Her claim led to his arrest and his blood sample equally revealed he was the biological father of Edna’s twins. Mrs. Achebe rendered her ‘testimony’ without qualms. She was happy for several reasons: her daughter, Edna had recovered miraculously from a strange imbecility that possessed her. Now, she was normal and ready to return to school and above all, she was able to recover the twins her daughter had. Mrs. Achebe finished her testimony with another song rendered in Igbo language. The congregation sang along and danced and some even sowed ‘seed faith’ on the twins.

At the end of the service, Mrs. Achebe led her visitors to Pastor Mcwizu’s private office. Pastor Mcwizu welcomed them and offered them seats. The nannies taking care of the octuplets brought the children and kept them in the waiting room. Patty Mcwizu urged that the children be brought into her office.

What happened next was too fast for her to comprehend. The men who visited some weeks back claiming they were looking for fruits of the womb barged into her office branding handcuffs.

“Pastor Patty Mcwizu, you are under arrest for trafficking in children. You have the right to remain silent as what you say now may be used as evidence against you.” the women that came with Mrs. Achebe quickly began to take the octuplets away. Mrs. Achebe carried one and Edna helped them. The nannies were ordered to bring the rest of the children and they were driven away in a white police van.

 

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