Hang No Clothes Here is a tale a Nigerian policeman who gets thrown, unwittingly, into an international turf war between two major international drug cartels, battling to maintain footholds in the Nigerian environment and engaged in a bloody competition to maintain the Nigerian route for peddling narcotics to European and Asian markets.
The story is set in Abuja in 2011 and is narrated by John Braimoh, an assistant superintendent of police, who becomes involved in a seemingly noble cause corruption case—the cover-up of the killing of five ostensibly deviant youths in Abuja, Nigeria, in which his closest friend and colleague, Dennis Omoruyi, and four other officers are deeply embroiled. The killings attract the attention of Nigeria’s human rights and civil society organisations. John is summoned to testify before a panel of the most senior officers of the Nigeria Police Force, the Force Disciplinary Committee (FDC) which, bowing to pressure from civil society groups and the families of the youths, commences an investigation into the incident. An unknown element issues death threats to John and his family, intent on goading him to reveal the truth to the FDC, going as far as shooting at his family as they drive to church. John lies to the FDC. Perhaps to reduce the heat it receives from the scandal, John is transferred by the Nigeria Police authorities from his station in Abuja to Lagos. Within his first week in Lagos, Junior, John’s eldest son is murdered. John swears to avenge his killing by every means necessary.
In the course of his quest to avenge his son’s death, coerced into acting as a spy for the CIA which manipulates his being posted to the Nigerian senate, with the core aim of detecting how much international narcotics gangs from Latin America have infiltrated that institution. As he moves deeper into the murky world of sleaze in Nigerian politics, British intelligence also blackmails him into acting as a spy for them, eager to receive just about the same amount of intelligence as their cousins across the Atlantic. He is forced to report on Dennis whom the foreign intelligence services believe to be a local henchman for the narcotics cartel. Braimoh is understandably torn between loyalty to his friend and doing the right thing, he being a religious man, although with a less than glittering past. At the end of the novel, John finds his son’s killer.
The novel interweaves various subthemes into its narrative such as class clashes, the misunderstanding between Africans and Nigerians resident on the continent and their counterparts in the diaspora, racism, homophobia, Black Nationalism, the causes of the Boko Haram crisis which currently afflicts North-eastern Nigeria, abortion and a variety of other social subjects.
About the Author
Bolaji Olatunde’s Hang No Clothes Here is his second novel. His first novel, Straw Dogs, was published in 2011. He also writes plays and short stories which have been favourably received. His play, Sacking The Potter, was shortlisted for the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Drama Prize 2016. Bolaji Olatunde currently lives and works in Abuja, Nigeria.