Lucky Lawal, the PM News reporter who had an altercation with the Lagos State Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police Ngozi Braide, has written to the Inspector General of Police alleging threat to life and defamation of character by Ms. Braide.
On February 28, in a story published by SaharaReporters, Ms. Lawal anonymously disclosed that the police spokesperson threatened her at the Police Command when she went there to confirm a story.
On March 2, it was learned that Ms. Braide had been queried by the police for a previous incident in which she had allegedly fought with a superior female officer, identified as Cynthia Ibeama, over a parking spot.
The Lagos Police spokeswoman, apparently angry at reports of that brawl, in which she may have been indecently exposed, reportedly told Ms. Lawal in the February 28 encounter that members of the media were peddling lies about the incident.
“Miss Braide went on to call me all sorts of names and accused me of blackmail,” she said. “She went on to order me to leave the office but I told her that
I will not leave because the Lagos State PPRO's office is a public office and does not belong to her. At this point she got up from her seat and charged towards me as if she wanted to fight me. I still stood waiting to see what she will do next. She walked towards me and she said, ‘Take your dirty body out of my office. This is my office. You and your friends can go on to say all things and blackmail me. I don't care.’ At this point some journalists held her and prevented her from fighting me."
In her complaint to the IGP, Ms. Lawal reiterated those elements, saying they were published and confirmed by people who were present when the incident took place, stressing that she had herself already left the premises.
Listing several questions she would like the IGP to ask of Ms. Braide, the reporter said, “Sir, I would be glad if you can investigate this matter promptly as I am scared for my life and that of my family because if DSP Braide can lie on the pages of newspaper about me, then one cannot say what she can do next as she is very desperate.” "
Ms. Lawal was not the only person that faced death threats from the Lagos PPRO Ms. Braide, on March 2nd 2013, a twitter handle @sexuwant believed to be used by one of her associates threatened bodily harm against the publisher of SaharaReporters as follows:
TO: THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE
LOUIS EDET HOUSE
INTIMIDATION, THREAT TO LIFE AND DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER AGAINST MY PERSON BY THE LAGOS STATE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER NGOZI BRAIDE.
I would like to call your attention to the above against my person by DSP Ngozi Braide. My ordeal with Ngozi Braide started on the 26th of February 2013 after the parade of suspects at the Lagos State Command, Ikeja.
I went to the Oduduwa Office of the PRO with other journalist to ask her comment about the parade and why she kept my colleagues; about five of us waiting at the Police Command Ikeja the day some newly promoted police officers and me were decorated with their new ranks.
The five journalists are Messrs Ebele Boniface Of The Nation Newspapers, Emmanuel Udoh Of Compass, Mr Joseph A Photo Journalist With P.M News, Osuji Of The Source Magazine and my humble self.
Immediately I entered her office three other journalists were seated, Emmanuel Udoh Of Compass, Otulu Of Daily Independent And Osuji Of Source Magazine. I said, “My PRO, you asked us to wait for you at command and you did not turn up and immediately,”Ngozi flared up and threw caution to the wind, she allowed her emotion to take total control of her. She charged at me calling me a blackmailer, shouting and saying she did not call me, she said I am a woman like her wanting to bring her down.
All my efforts to make her see reason proved abortive. She called me different names, hurling insults and abusive words on me. She left her seat and charged at me and at the same time ordering me out of her office.
Other journalist and policemen prevented her from assaulting me. I was shocked and lost over her abusive words which is not expected of a lady and more so a PRO of the LAGOS STATE POLICE COMMAND. She threatened to deal with me in a way I would never forget in my life .She called me a dirty body and also openly accused me of sleeping with junior police officers, an accusation she had laid before a colleague of mine.
Sir, to put the record straight, when sometimes in January this year, DSP Ngozi Braide was involved in a dirty scuffle with another woman officer a CSP at the command ,it was barely some minutes when I left the command when the public fight took place.
The show of shame was witnessed both by the police and civilian visitors at the command .It was an open thing; it was not hidden .I later read about it on the internet and was also told by some colleagues and policemen who witnessed it.
After confirming the story from a reliable source I send a text to the Force Police PRO Frank Mba to comment about her attitude to my copy editor Mr. Moyo Fabiyi and attached his phone number. The below is the text sent on the 22nd of January via my MTN LINE 07065******
".Gd morn'n sir ,hw're u doing sir?i wuldve send dis msg since friday but i've been down.tank God i'm better.Sir, this is the only country i see dat tins are nt working d way it shuld.Hw dare a Police Image maker(LPPRO) who is suppose 2 stqnd out as a symbol dat command respect,someone who evry Police officer and d general public shuld wnt to emulate will stoop as low to engage in a public disgrace wit anothersenior officer who she suppose 2 respect,a big shame.We're xpectn ur in reation on it,we also dont wnt ur intergrity 2 b dent cause we see u as a decent and respectable Police officer.
For ur in4mation,there're pictures to proof.Pls send ur reation 2 my copy Editor Mr Moyo Fabiyi-0703 *****:" The story was first published on Internet by Eagle online, a male reporter as the correspondent, there a lot of people copied it before she or some other person started begging the Editor to remove it.
Sir, Ms Braide reported me to a colleague that I sleep around with junior police officers. It was this same colleague of mine whom for reasons known to him that DSP Braide also claim openly that he told her I was the one who brought the story of her infamous fight to the newsroom: Why he did that is best known to him. DSP Braide's fight with the woman CSP over parking space was open which a lot of people witnessed and her reason to vindicate herself by trying to use me to white wash her sins and uncontrolled emotions is a clear case of intimidation and show of power.
Immediately after her attempt to attack me in her office, I called my editor; I called the CRAN president, Christopher Orji and other colleagues and reported the incident to them. The next day, I went to the Commissioner of Police CP Umar Manko and reported DSP Braide to him and he promised to speak to her. To my surprise and dismay, DSP Braide granted an interview that was published in the Vanguard Newspaper of the 9th of March 2013 page 14 to 15 in which she wrongly and falsely stated what happened between us.
In that interview, she said I came to her office sometimes ago to extort money from her based on the story that she fought at the command Ikeja and that a case has been instituted in the court. Sir Kindly read the excerpts of her interview here attached. In an interview with Saturday Vanguard, March 9, 2013, the Lagos State Police PRO, Mrs. Ngozi Braide, was asked: 'There have been several reports against you in the internet. Would you react to some of these allegations about you fighting in public and other negative things?' And she answered:
'I am going to answer you.
It is so unfortunate how people would wake up and want to run somebody down. There is this scenario that happened to me two weeks ago. One lady came to me and said she has a scandalous story against me and that I should give her N200, 000 so she wouldn’t publish the story, that the story is very bad. She alleged that the case is in court and that she even has pictures of where I was fighting in the public during the period of President Jonathan’s visit to the Police College at Ikeja. Itold her that I was not in town during that period. She said that my breast was open in the pictures she had. The funniest thing was that the reporter said the thing happened in January and she called just two weeks ago. How come she was the only person who has the story? I told her that any story that can lead to stripping naked and soiling of clothes must not be an exclusive that people must have heard of it that I was not around the day she said the incident happened. So, I told her to go ahead and publish the story that I don’t have money. She said that it was a very bad story. I quickly called her editor. I told her editor that this is what I am passing through. The editor sympathized with me and told me that he was going to take care of it. You know, when she said that, I was provoked and my voice went up high, I was like, which story was that? I was shocked, the Crime Writers Association of Nigeria president came in with two other journalists. You can verify that. Whatever I am telling you now, you can verify that. I knew this lady personally. She is a freelancer for one newspaper. She came to me a week after that incident because, my office according to her, is a public office. So she just walked in and started asking me why I don’t invite her for parades again.
You needed to see the manner this girl just barged into my office. I was discussing with three people and she just walked in. I can even mention the names of the people that were with me when she walked in. She said that I am not behaving the way other PPRO behaved, that I have done two press briefings without inviting her. I told her that if I want anything , I would talk to her editor and not her. After trying to defraud me, she still expects me to invite her for press briefings. So, I told her that if I want to call anybody for any parading, I would call her editor to send somebody who would not want to frame me up. She said that the office is a public office and she hit her hands on my table. If you go to some of these online media, they reported all these things I am telling you. She even put the name of the newspaper she is freelancing for. Three other journalists who were there when the whole thing was happening pleaded with her that she should leave the office for me. She came to provoke me so that she can use the story with which she wanted to extort money from me. So, she fleft the office and after she left, her editor called me and apologized on her behalf.
The next day, I started receiving calls that I was fighting in the office. I didn’t fight. Go to the command, carry out the investigation yourself. Start with my commissioner and every other person in the Lagos command. Nothing like that ever happened. As you leave my office now, go and find out yourself. I was shocked when I heard that. I said, is this what this world is turning into? The internet has gone so bad that anybody posts whatever he/she wants on the internet.
Let me tell you, from the way things are going, in the next 10 years, you would see every citizen of this country having a blog on the internet.
Other blogs just collected the story and kept escalating it without verifications. Nothing like that happened. For me to fight to the extent of tearing my clothes and going naked? People must have seen that and nobody saw it. It is a very big lie. She even said that I brought out a dagger to stab her. Let me tell you something, I am not angry with her. She has succeeded in making me stronger. They should know that I was not elected or appointed to this office. I pass through interviews where I met many officers from the command. If you look at my profile, you will see that I have achieved a lot in this career. I have passed through many commissioners. They were like my direct supervisors. And they will tell you about me. I know what to do and when to do it. I went for promotion course in Jos in 2009. We were over 2000 and I came second and I was called out and appreciated. Nobody wrote the exams for me. I was there for two months studying and I did very well in the exams. Then how can someone come here and say that I came here because, I have something in common with a commissioner of police and she was bold enough to mention the commissioner’s name? That was what she went to the Internet to put. The voting that brought me to Lagos was strictly a state voting. It was not a Federal Government voting. It is so unfortunate that somebody can put that online.'
Sir, these are questions DSP Braide should answer.
1. Did I ever call her or meet with her to tell her anything about her open altercation at the Lagos State Police Command Ikeja? If I did as she claimed, she should state when and how?
2. Did She call my Editor Mr. Odey? When and what did she discuss with him?
3. She said the CRAN president with two other people were in her office immediately after the incident, let her proof it because I called the President on phone and he told me that they resolved this issue with my colleague and why is she coming up with it again? Please sir, she should tell the world if she ever reported the alleged extortion to my office or the CRAN president that I ever tried to extort or blackmail her.
4. DSP Braide said I came to her office a week, a week after what incident?
5. As a police woman, she claimed I came to her office to extort money from her yet she did not arrest me?
6. Why is she just announcing it on the pages of newspapers?
7. She said the lady said the case was in court, could she please tell us which have the case or cases?
She kept on hammering on my being a freelance, could she please tell the whole world whether it is a crime to be a freelance? Has the lady, Chioma Gabriel she granted the interview been staffed or a freelance?
My being a freelance journalist is my choice and when I am ready, I can get a permanent job with any Newspaper in Nigeria and in the world because I have the expertise, integrity and the qualification.
8. Thank God she said people and journalists were in her office when I went to see her. So is it in their presence I demanded for the N200, 000 she said?
9. Why would I even extort money from her over her open fight in the public? A thing that was well known and already on the Internet? Ask the online editor about the story and who and who begged him to remove it before he left only the headline, date and when I started demanding for money.
Sir I am a very reputable and responsible reporter and I have covered the crime beat for years. My integrity is well known and I appeal to you to do a random interview on your officers and men at the command and even ask my colleagues if they have any dent on me.
To prove my innocence, I would like you sir to bring DSP Braide, and let's face each other; let her say it to my face that I demanded money from her.
I am very disappointed that a highly placed officer, a PRO for that matter would stoop so low to fight and now has the guts to lie on the pages of newspaper.
I am however not surprised at her gimmicks to exonerate herself by lying to the world, as this is common with people with scandals to always accuse Journalists of blackmail and extortion.
Sir, I would be glad if you can investigate this matter promptly as I am scared for my life and that of my family because if DSP Braide can lie on the pages of newspaper about me, then one cannot say what she can do next as she is very desperate. I await your prompt response on this matter.
Thank you sir.