New Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Lagos State Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Ngozi Conchita Braide, is the first female spokesperson for the command. She assumed office on Monday, June 11, 2012 and has promised to deliver despite the volatile nature of the state.
ENCOMIUM Weekly visited the pretty and brilliant cop in her Oduduwa, GRA, Lagos office on Friday, June 15, 2012, where she granted us an interview on her career, the new posting and much more.
Congratulations on your new appointment.
Thank you, very much.
How does it feel being the first female Police Public Relations officer for Lagos State Police command?
It feels great. I am happy, I feel honoured to have been given this opportunity to compete with my male counterparts all over the federation. I don’t really see it as anything big because I know I am equal to the task. I am very much equal to the task.
During our training, we were given equal opportunities. There is nothing like gender discrimination. Whether you’re a man or a woman, we are all equal. We go out together, we come back together. We do everything in common with our male counterparts. I just don’t see it as a big thing but I am very happy to be honoured as the new PPRO, Lagos State Police Command.
What was the office you held before your new appointment?
I was at the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) that was my last posting. I started working there since 2007 till I got my new posting but in November 2011, I was seconded to the Office of the Inspector General of Police monitoring team, that’s on special duty. I was there till I was posted to Lagos as PPRO.
When exactly did you enroll in the Nigeria Police?
I came into the force in 1996 as a Cadet Inspector of Police and I passed out in 1998. I did my one year attachment in Ekiti State. The attachment is like you’re still learning the job or just on National Youth Service. I was there for one year and after that I was posted to Interpol, that’s International Criminal Police Organization, between 1999 and 2003.
During that period, I was attached to Organized Crime Division (OCD). I was in Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Academy (ATF), Atlanta, USA where I obtained a certificate in International post-blast investigation, that’s in May 2000.
Which other areas have you served?
I successfully participated in two United Nations peace keeping operations. I was in UNMIK Kosovo in 2000 where I worked in various crime investigation units and eventually headed the Domestic Violent Unit. Also in Liberia in 2006, I was appointed head of Finance Unit of the United Nations Police in Liberia.
In Liberia, I earned a commendation for devotion to duty and hard work. During my service in INTERPOL, I was attached to Organized Crime Division (OCD) just as I said. Later, Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) between 2003 and 2007 and Special Fraud Unit (SFU) in 2007 till 2912. While with SFU, I was attached to Commercial Fraud Unit and rose to become a sectional head, Oil and Gas Fraud Section. Those were the places I served before becoming the PPRO, Lagos State Police Command.
Which other professional course did you attend apart from the one in ATF?
I have attended a lot of courses both within and outside the country including Psychotraumaology, Debriefing and Diffusing, that’s in Switzerland, 2001. I also did a prosecution course at the Nigeria Police Detective College, Enugu in 1999 and few others.
Putting all of these together now, how would you describe the experience?
The experience has been wonderful. It has been nice, it’s good. I am a happy to be a police officer. If there is anything like reincarnation, I won’t mind coming back as a police officer because this is a job that will make you know it all.
You see investigation as part of life, I have been in investigation for like 12 years if not more. It’s a job you see yourself as Jack of all trade and master of all. You sit in the office and see professionals from different walks of life coming to you with different problems which you’re expected to provide solutions to.
For instance, you’re not a doctor, you didn’t study medicine but you just see yourself gathering facts in that aspect and before you know it, you will come up with something relevant. Then, people will now begin to ask you ‘Are you a doctor?’
A banker will come, you analyze the problems in the banking sector without being a banker. A journalist like you will come too, we analyze things together, we put heads together. What happens is that you read people’s psychology to proffer solutions to their problems.
It’s a job that exposes you to the world. The experience has been wonderful. I don’t regret being a police officer.
What are the challenges so far?
I don’t think I have ever had any challenge since I started my career. Maybe, I will have one here, I can’t tell.
Okay, in terms of the joy, the benefits and all that?
I don’t know how to answer that question but all I can say is that I am very grateful to the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian government. I am just happy to be a police officer.
When was your hardest and saddest moment as a police officer?
Maybe when you’re trying to investigate a crime and the suspect goes around, gets a lawyer to write against you when he discovers that the crime will land him behind the bars for years. And why is he doing this, it’s because he wants to pervert justice.
I had encountered this with one very big person who I won’t like to mention his name. he took a loan facility from a bank and the bank now bought some things for him. The person went ahead and sold those things with a forged document. Already the things have been registered in the bank’s name. then, I was in the Special Fraud Unit, I just went with my team and we arrested him. He was now crying like a baby, crying for help. I now told him, my hands are tied.
The person later wrote a very malicious petition against me, alleging all sorts of things. My boss had to invite me to defend the petition. He was mad at me, got annoyed that I did all these and you couldn’t tell me without knowing that the man was only lying just to make a way for himself. But I defended it, I told him the truth, the man was only trying to pervert justice, he wanted to divert our attention so that the case will linger for a very long time. The DIG just told me, “you’re doing a very good job, please continue with what you’re doing”.
In this kind of a situation, one feels so bad that some people will want to frustrate your effort because they think they have one powerful person or the other.
Now, that you’re the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Police Command, what are the things you want to change?
I am going in line with the Commissioner of Police and Inspector General of Police’s vision. New police, new image and so on. In the past, our image was dragged in the mud, I am going to work in line with the vision of creating a new image for the police in Lagos State and beyond.
You’re not the first PPRO that would tell us this…
(Cuts in) But I am the first female Public Relations Officer for the command. So, just keep your fingers crossed and see how it goes.
Lagos is a very volatile state, prone to all sorts of crimes, what do you intend doing to bring down crime rate in Lagos State?
As a journalist, I believe you will agree with me that crime rate in Lagos State has gone down drastically. The new Police Commissioner, CP Usman Manko is equal to the task but we also need the cooperation of the public in the area of information. If the public fail to co-operate with us, we won’t have enough information to act on.
We are not magicians, we operate based on the information we get from the public. If you know where criminals are hiding and you don’t tell the police, you may be their next target. We are friends of the people and they should also see us as their friends. It’s not done anywhere in the world where the informant’s identity is revealed, we are friends of the public and they shouldn’t nurse any fear at all.
When you see some people around you, using exotic cars without any visible means of livelihood, you have to inform the police. Our own duty is to step into investigation concerning the information you give us. What I am saying is that there should be a very strong synergy between the police and the public and I am here to make sure it works.
I make my phone numbers available, you’re free to call me at anytime, I will pick your call.
Do you feel intimidated having a lot of male colleagues around you?
I don’t feel intimidated at all. If I know what I am doing, you can’t run me down. You can only mess me up when I don’t know what I am doing. Out of all my staffers, there is only one woman. In Special Fraud Unit, with my rank as a Deputy Superintendent of Police, I was made the sectional head of Oil and Gas Fraud Unit, they knew I could handle that position that’s why they gave it to me.
They didn’t say this is a woman, so let’s give it to a man. The position is a very sensitive one, if they realize you’re not qualified to be there, they won’t give it to you whether you’re a man or a woman. And in some places I had served, I was made to lead because they knew I have the leadership qualities.
What are the starling qualities that have helped your career so far?
I know I am very firm, hardworking. I am dedicated to my duty and I don’t tolerate indiscipline. I will also want to advice women, they should be strong and hardworking because you’re a mother today and by tomorrow, something happens to your husband and you’re weak.
How are you now going to take care of the children? Gone are the days when they say women education ends in the kitchen. So, we women need to be very strong, dedicated and hardworking.
Management of information between the police and the public in a state like Lagos may not be that easy, haven’t you been feeling the heat since you came onboard as PPRO?
No, I am a professional. I was properly trained. Management of information is part of my duty. I am equal to the task.
Tell us a little about yourself?
You know my name already, I am Ngozi. I am from Okigwe, Imo State. I graduated from Lagos State University (LASU) where I bagged my Bachelor of Arts in English. I like sincerity, honesty, I don’t tolerate certain things including lies and all that. I like truthfulness. I am a very sincere person.
*This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on June 19, 2012