Interviews

‘Why I celebrated my birthday with orphans’ – LPPRO, NGOZI BRAIDE

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ON Tuesday, March 25, 2014, Lagos Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Ngozi Braide added another year.  The day the brilliant female cop didn’t allow to just pass unnoticed as she celebrated it with the motherless babies, the moment she described as fulfilling and exciting.

ENCOMIUM Weekly was at Braide’s office in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos on Friday, April 4, 2014, where we interviewed her on her birthday and sundry issues.

NGOZI BRAIDE

NGOZI BRAIDE

On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, you added another beautiful year which was celebrated with the motherless babies and the less privileged.  How does that make you feel?

It’s a good feeling to see yourself ageing successfully.  I believe everybody looks up to growing old and not dying young.  So, every year you see yourself adding another year, and you’re still okay, no health issues, you’re supposed to be happy and grateful to God.  So, I felt so happy about it.

What age did you celebrate actually?

All I know is that I celebrated my birthday.  That one you’re still asking of is what I don’t know because you know yourself (laughs).

Okay, how was the day celebrated?

It was celebrated with the less privileged and orphans.  On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, I was at Mile 12, where I visited a motherless babies’ home owned by the Catholic church.  I also visited other places, including Modupe Cole before I came down to Heritage Home at Anthony Village, Lagos.  I was really touched by my findings in all these homes.  I left that Tuesday because I wasn’t feeling too well. I had to return on Friday, March 28, 2014, to celebrate with the kids there.  But within the short time I spent with them on Tuesday when I first visited the places, I was able to take a study of what they really need for their upkeep in those homes to make these children happy.  And that was exactly what I did that day before I went back on Friday, March 28, 2014.

What was the significance of that?

The idea was borne out of the correlation between what we do as police and what the orphanages also do. It’s just like the school and the police.  These kids are at orphanages today because we have the operators who have passion for kids.  If they are on the streets, I don’t know what would have been their fate. Leaving them on the streets, definitely, would have contributed to crime rate because most of them will take to different forms of crimes and criminalities.  So, the people taking them out of the street, giving them food and taking good care of them need to be commended.  What they are doing has a correlation with what we’re also doing as law enforcement agents.  I discovered that the hood also serves as reformatory for the kids as well as socialization arena.  I also discovered that most of these kids, except the very little ones, also go to school.

The day I got there, I saw few of them but the operators of the place told me the other ones had gone to school.  I felt happy to hear this.  That means they are really contributing to the well being of those kids that have been abandoned by some people.  And in turn building a better tomorrow for them.  I discovered that these orphanages also help in policing since some of the kids who are supposed to be wandering the streets of Lagos are taken into these homes and catered for.  And as a woman and a mother, I understand what it means for a child to live without a mother. I have always been so passionate about kids let alone those without their parents.  When you begin to listen to their stories, you will really be touched.  Some of them were dumped, some were born by teenage girls who couldn’t even identify those responsible for their pregnancies.  Some were born and instantly dumped in cartons and their mothers will be nowhere to be found.  That’s why you see a lot of kids with deformities. I just said no, I need to come back again and give to these kids whatever I have, and also commend the operators of the homes who had chosen to do this on behalf of all mothers.  They should be applauded.  In fact, they deserve so much from the public, parents, especially mothers.  People can just take out their time and visit these places.  Even if they don’t have anything to give them, they should just visit the homes once in a while and spend time with the kids. I think that alone will go a long way in making them happy and also in forming their character and perception of life.  Maybe, that was also the reason I also went there to celebrate with them.  And I thank God they were all happy seeing me in their midst.  They all came out and danced with me.  They were really excited.  Some were even telling me they would like to become police officers in future.  I was also happy that they were happy.

NGOZI BRAIDE

NGOZI BRAIDE

If these children were not there, what would they have been?  A lot of children are under the bridge, in motor parks, some of them have no parents.  Some of the criminals we parade don’t have parents.  So, that’s it. People should always remember the orphans.

What were the items you donated to the kids?

I may not be able to tell you everything. But I bought bags of rice, cartons of baby food, cartons of noodles, Indomie, beverages, toiletries and all that. I can’t remember all, I only know I touched almost all the important things they need if not all.

How much would you say you spent on the event?

I would not be able to tell you how much I spent because whatever I might have done wasn’t to receive praise from the public or any individual.  I did it because it’s what I am supposed to do.  My happiness is that I affected the lives of those kids positively in my own little way.

Are you fulfilled doing that?

Yes, of course.  I was more than fulfilled because most of the things I donated to them are the things they need.  So, if people are coming that way, they won’t even miss anybody.  And they will be happy.  Some of them are also leaders of tomorrow, and they should be well taken care of.

Would you say there is tendency to continue this way with the motherless babies or was it just for the sake of your birthday alone?

This is something I see as a new passion that has come into me apart from the fact that I still have very strong passion for kids.  And after my visit that day, I decided I will always go from time to time.  Then, if there is anything I will have to do, I will do it for them.  So, it’s not just for my birthday celebration alone but a continuous thing.

Now that you have added a year, would you say there are some things you can’t do again?

For now, I don’t just know because it’s just like yesterday.  So, I won’t be able to say there are things I would not do again because I am still in my 30s.  Then, maybe when I clock 40, I can now answer the question perfectly.

At your age now, would you say God has blessed you beyond imagination?

Yes, God has done so much for me.  There is nothing I prayed to Him for that He has not done for me.  I am happy and fulfilled for what I am today. I give God all the glory for that.  But on account of the fact that human beings are insatiable, I will continue to ask Him for more.  To be honest, I am so grateful to God for bringing me this far, and I will be ever grateful to Him.

Let’s talk about another thing, how would you assess the crime rate in Lagos State now?

I believe you’re also there to assess the situation as far as crime rate in Lagos State is concerned.  We are all aware of the fact that crime rate is low at the moment.  I can’t start telling you that, it’s like scoring myself.  But so far so good, the state is relatively calm.  Just as the Commissioner of Police, CP Umar Manko said when he came in, he said it can only get better and will continue to get better.  Last year, there was serious reduction in crime rate, but this year is definitely going to be better.  To be honest, I would say crime rate is down now.

What’s the state command still doing to ensure Lagos is perfectly safe?

We’re not sleeping.  Every day, we come up with new security plan and strategy because we can’t use one method for a long time.  You keep on changing.  So, we’re going back to the drawing board to re-strategise, then add and remove to ensure we get very good result from our efforts. So, we have tight security plans on ground to ensure safety of lives and property in Lagos State. And let me tell you this, there is one incident that has never happened since the new CP came in, and that’s the case of bank robbery.

In about two months, you will be two years in office as Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, how would you assess your performance so far?

I can’t judge myself. I can only say I am trying. I can’t say I have gotten it all right. I am trying and I will continue. Maybe at the end of the two months, I will be able to say one or two things about that.

Was there any specific challenge you have faced as a woman since you occupied this seat?

I don’t think so.

That means you have been able to cope?

Yes, but it wasn’t easy at the initial stage. There wasn’t much but the truth is that the office is full of challenges. If you sit out there you may not understand the pressure. But then, I have been able to weather all the storms. I give God all the glory.

 –           TADE ASIFAT

 

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