This is a story that depicts the painful and tearful happenings in our contemporary Nigeria.
Kate, Kelly, Ebi, Toby and Kola are all victims of circumstances. The society which was full of corruption, bribery, evil and unemployment turned them to arm robbery. The gang used Kate to lure Mr. John Okonta (the manager of Meridan bank) so is to provide the necessary information about the banks vault. Mr Okonta chooses death instead of revealing the bank secret. Kola, a police man who is a member of the gang was able to get information from his colleagues who also work in the bank. The arm robbery attack to the Meridian bank brought down to them.
Sergent Obong , a patriot policeman was on bent on bringing down the culprits to book. He alongside with his fearless colleagues was able to tackle down the arm robbery gang. Toby, and Ebi was killed. Kola was assassinated by a Eleya commissioner of police so as not to expose his deeds and that of the governor of State. The dice is cast as Kate and Kelly were unaware of what is happening. They were arrested and jailed without a defense counsel. Later on, they were sentence to life imprisonment despite the pleas of human activist lawyer.
The novel has a complex plot.
Kate, Kelly, Toby, Ebi and Kola are arm robbers gang and were on a conclusive plan to attack the Meridian Bank. In order to get information from the manager about where the bank keep the tauts key, they sent Kate.
Mr. John Okonta the bank manager of the Meridian bank was given an appointment by Kate who described herself as Rose. On reaching the place of appointment, he was surprised as he saw gangs of youths. He was told to give them information where the banks keep the vaults key. It was either he complies or his family’s life will be at stake. The gangs leader Kelly told him about his home his wife, his brother and sister who are at abroad. Meanwhile, John Okonta has been having scandal with his assistant Mr. Nduka, who wants to usurp him, his prestige and dignity has been flawned after his wife reveal his secret love escapes with Jane her best friend.
However, Mr. John Okonta called his lawyer Mr. Udeh Eket. He was to prepare his will. He sent a letter to him through a messenger stating his desire and to look after his wife John killed himself through over dose drugs and died. Mr. Nduka did not attend his burial. So he was to be made the new bank manager. So, Kelly and his gangs are to look for another source on how to rob the bank.
Kola, a policeman who was also a member of the gang was sent to get the information; he got the information through corporal Lami, a garrulous colleague who works as a security agent in the bank.
Kelly’s gang attacks the bank but unfortunately, Mr. Nduka did not give them the vault key. He was killed and they were able to get only paltry sum of money, the police came at the robbery scene and at the process corporal Shehu was shot death. On his dying bed he wisper to Sergent Obong. “That boot I have seen it before it belongs to Kola”. But before the gang attack the bank Kate was having a bad feeling about the operation.
Moreover, Sergent Obong has to unveil the robbers few weeks after the bank operation, he traced Toby and Abi and came out with concrete information. Toby and Abi was shot dead whole Kola was arrested. Unknown to Sergent Obong, Kola was being sponsored by a higher commissioner.
Commissioner of Eleya police state command phoned the Governor to know if he can use his influence to let Kola out. But he was told to eliminate him. The commissioner attacks the prison where Kola was kept and he silenced him. On leaving he came in contact with Sergent Obong. As he ran inside his car, Sergent Obong threw grenade inside the car and the car got burn along with the commissioner and his faithful driver who knows all his secrets.
Kate and Kelly was later arrested the day they got married, their house was put into a gony inferno. Inside the prison, Kate was rape by a prison warder. This result to pregnancy. Later Kate’s child died during childbirth.
Subsequently, after a year, a human activist lawyer came up to their case. After the hearing. The presiding judge still gives them his decree. They were sent to life imprisonment, the plea of human activist lawyer was thrashed out.
- LANGUAGE: The language is precise, concise and simple to understand, the author makes use of Standard English
- POINT OF VIEW: The author makes use of third person point of view (omniscient) he knows all.
- IRONY: The title of the novel is an irony. Kelly and his gang are not the men behind the mask rather men behind the mask are those who abuses the power the masses donated to them, those that lout the coffers of the nation and give peanuts to the masses”.
- SETTING: Place- The setting of the novel is in Nigeria.
- BACKGROUND: It has political and social background.
- TIME: it has modern timing.
- Theme of crime: The five friends mentioned in the novel were involved in arm robbery, they attacked the Meridan bank and at the process Mr. John Okonta and Mr. Nduka died, they themselves severely faced the consequences.
- Theme of unemployment: The five friends were standard because of unemployment, the next option they had was to involve themselves in Arm Robbery.
- Theme of death: Some people died at the process of the robbery, some like Mr. John Okonta the bank manager died because he choose dying than giving the robbers the vault key in that case he was killed, Tobi and Ebi the armed robbers were also shot to death.
- Theme of corruption: All the things that happened in the novel were as a result of corruption.