Concern about the surrender of the Archaeological survey office, and the flight of the citizens of Aniche and its neighboring villages, now compelled the government to order the police to mobilize all resources to find out whatever it was that was responsible for the death of the four men that went into the tunnel.
Mr. Peter Fill, the Inspector General of Police (l.G) after reading the letter from the secretary to the government became a little restless in his office and suddenly stopped at the centre of the room. His head dropped over his chest, and he stared at the rug under his feet, as he stood motionless with thought. He dipped into his pocket and brought a packet of cigarette, and tucked a stick in-between his lips and lit it, as he walked slowly to his seat. He slowly lowered himself into his chair and immediately pressed the button on the intercom.
“Call me Commissioners Dag and Alu and come with them to my office immediately”, he ordered.
Minutes later, the three officers walked into the I.G’s office.
“Sit down, gentlemen,” the l.G. offered, as he, pointed to the seats in front of him. I want to read you a letter from the secretary to the Government.
I am directed to inform you that the government feels very worried about the apparent inability of the police to allay the fears of our people over the tunnel discovered at Aniche. The head of state has therefore directed that the police must mobilize all its resources immediately and find out whatever it is that was responsible for the deaths of the four men who went in to explore the tunnel.
A detailed report of your activities in the tunnel should be sent to this office within the next 48 hours.
Secretary to the Government
“Gentlemen” started Mr. Fill; this is now a challenge to all of us. We must all be prepared now to prove our worth before his Excellency loses confidence in us”.
Mr. Dag. “Sir,!” he answered.
You have to ask Dr. Atugbo to release four of our best dogs.
These dogs will lead the team we shall be sending to the tunnel.”
Now, Mr. Alu: I want you to select a team of forty strong men and five officers to lead them to the tunnel. We must conquer this tunnel now. Get the store to release all necessary weapons required for the operation.”
“Don’t you think that 40 men will be too many for the tunnel Sir?” queried Mr. Alu “I would suggest twenty, since the tunnel is not all that too spacious to accommodate forty men freely.”
“Ok! Lets make the number twenty’’ ;concluded I.G. He took up his pen and wrote 20 on the paper in front of him. He looked up and scanned the faces of the men sitting in front of him. And asked. “How many officers, two, three or just one?’
“I think that two will be enough” suggested Mr. Dag. The Inspector General again, wrote on his paper “to be led by two police officers”
He stamped his right palm about on his paper- laden table as he searched for his box of matches. He felt it under a pile of sheets and uncovered it.
He reached for the cigarette and struck the match, the fan blew out the flame before it reached the tip of his cigarette.
Mr. Alu sprang to his feet, and walked up to the switch box and put off the fan.
The I.G. struck the match again and lit up his cigarette. “Care for cigarette?’ he asked as he waved the packet at the men before him.
Mr. Dag, reached for the packet, drew a stick from it and lit it up standing, and they left for their various offices.
The next day greeted the police headquarters with a tense but gloomy atmosphere. On the notice boards
were displayed names of twenty selected policemen and two officers with a specific assignment of moving into the tunnel at Aniche the next day to explore it and find out whatever it was that was responsible for the death of the four men previously drafted there.
The faces of the men whose names appeared on the boards, bore expressions of melancholy and fear .Others engaged themselves in assuring them that since they had all the necessary weapons, there was nothing to fear.
8:am was the time appointed for the departure of the twenty two men. They had earlier been instructed to assemble at the office at 7.45am for final instructions before departure.
At 7.30am, three early arrivals were already waiting at the office.
Punctuality was one of the cardinal rules of the police force; and everybody was already used to it. Some who did. not want to take the risk of incurring the displeasure of the authorities over lateness made sure they arrived well in advance to any function.
And so before 7.40am, there were twelve men already waiting at the office. Two minutes later, the officers chosen to lead the team arrived. At 7.50am, one late comer arrived, and walked up to the officers to explain why he had to be late. Meanwhile the officers decided to wait till 8am for the remaining seven men to arrive. The ten minutes dragged on and appeared like ten hours At last, it was 8.30am; nobody. The officers could no longer contain their anger. They immediately ordered that the men should be fetched from their houses. The rest waited while a team left with a van for the police quarters to collect the seven men. Twenty minutes later, the team returned with a shocking revelation that the seven men deserted the previous night with their families and most of their valuable property .
Like wild fire, the news of the deserted men of the police force spread. As it spread it carried with it currents of fear and desperation which affected not only the other police men, but also some of their officers. This state of affairs was immediately communicated to the Inspector General, who then ordered that the trip be put off for that day.
That evening saw a top level meeting of the officers of the force holding at the conference hall next to the I. G’s office. The meeting which lasted till 10pm resolved that the only safe strategy to adopt in order to avoid a repeat occurrence of what was experienced that morning, was to take by surprise the men to be drafted to the tunnel, as opposed to the advance publication of their names.
Early the following morning, the trumpet sounded summoning all men and officers to the parade ground. They all soon arrived and took positions as usual. The I.G. was detailed to speak to the entire force that morning. To the surprise of all, the number of the men who turned up for the parade was far below expectation. At this, a roll- call was ordered. Officers were sent to the residential quarters again to check for any who might be staying back. There was no one left in the quarters. At the end of the roll call, and following inquiries and investigation which followed, it was confirmed that a total of two hundred and sixty four men including fourteen officers deserted the police force again the previous night. Before the parade was dismissed, a team of twenty two men, including two officers were being ordered at about 12 noon to enter a waiting van which was to convey them to the tunnel that afternoon. This team comprised entirely new set of people different from those previously chosen. With this team were four of the most active dogs in the force. Minutes later, the vehicle drove off with exchanges of waves between the passengers and those-on the parade ground.