Standing at almost six feet tall, her intimidating height earned her the sobriquet “London Police.” Retired Commissioner of Police, Lauretta Atinuke Koyi, is an epitome of a woman, who moved from grass to grace in the course of her professional career.
This beautiful retired super cop started her career in the Nigeria Police as a constable immediately after her secondary school education.
The Amazon worked in many police formations throughout her career. At one time, she was Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Administration, Zone Two Police Command Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, comprising Lagos and Ogun states.
She was promoted to the coveted rank of Commissioner of Police in 2006, before she was transferred to Ekiti State, during the tenure of Chief Segun Oni as the governor of the state.
I have no regret joining the police force. I enjoyed the force. Nobody can intimidate me, not even my male colleagues. Rather, I intimidated them with my height and intelligence. I usually defeated them in every examination. I worked so hard. I had passion for the job and I was dedicated
In 2007, she was transferred from Ekiti and made the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Nigeria office of the International Police, popularly called INTERPOL, at Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, where she held sway till she retired from the force, after 35 years of meritorious service to the nation.
Recalling how she joined the police, Koyi says, “It was in 1973. I just finished my secondary school examination and as a young school leaver with an intimidating height, a divisional police officer advised me to join the Nigeria Police Force. He explained so many good things about the job and the bright prospect of becoming a policewoman. I decided to give it a try, because I had not even collected my certificate yet. In those days it usually took about three years before you would be issued your secondary school certificate. But there was a provision in police regulation that if you had a school certificate and you were unable to be drafted to cadet inspectorate scheme, you would be promoted to the rank of a corporal after two years as a constable.
“And that was how I was promoted to the rank of corporal. Then, there was an agitation by some of my colleagues who had school certificates, but not drafted. The police authorities later made arrangement for all those with school certificates for a special inspectorate course, based on educational qualification. I happened to be one of them and that was how I became an inspector. I was a detective for many years. I worked at INTERPOL and later returned to head INTERPOL as the commissioner of police. I made up my mind to enjoy the police job. Happiness is a state of the mind. I’m happy to be a policewoman and I’m qualified to be a policewoman. I enjoyed every bit of the job.”
And because of her wealth of experience as a commissioner of police in-charge of INTERPOL, after her retirement from service, she was appointed a forensic consultant to the Lagos State Government during the tenure of the current Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, as the governor of the state.
The Lagos State Government had then wanted to build a standard forensic laboratory and required an experienced hand to undertake the task of establishing the facility. The lot naturally fell on this retired super cop.
Exploring her connections with the Federal Bureau of Intelligence in discharging this new responsibility, she traveled to the United States of America and later the United Kingdom in her bid to set up a state-of-the-art forensic laboratory.
Though two years after her retirement from the force in 2008, her husband, who she described as “very loving, caring and understanding,” suddenly died in an auto accident along the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, Koyi did not allow this painful incident to shake her faith in God. She believes God has since been so kind and wonderful to her and her children.
The female super cop has four children- three males and a female. All of them are graduates with two degrees each. One of her sons is a lawyer like her. She runs a law firm, Koyi and Koyi & co, but she’s not fully involved in the practice. She says she’s satisfied with just playing the role of a consultant to her law firm.
Koyi says, “I retired from the Nigeria Police Force after 35 years of meritorious service to the nation. God is very wonderful. Now, I’m enjoying the fruits of my labour. I’m a grandmother. I am very comfortable. I’m retired, still I enjoy some privileges. I’m still entitled to a driver and security aide.
“I have no regret joining the police force. I enjoyed the force. Nobody can intimidate me, not even my male colleagues. Rather, I intimidated them with my height and intelligence. I usually defeated them in every examination. I worked so hard. I had passion for the job and I was dedicated. I’m very brilliant, I do my work with confidence and God has been with me all through. The success of any career depends on you. You must be hard working and dedicated.
“I want to advise, especially women police, they should have passion for the job. They should be dedicated and work very hard. They should not be corrupt. No. You don’t have to be corrupt to make money. As you are working, just pray to God. He will never let you down. Whatever little money you realise any day, pray over it and you will see that you will never lack. You can make money through goodwill. That is not corruption. But don’t force somebody to give you money. No. It’s wrong.”
Continuing, she says, “I don’t know about the crop of police we have now. I have seen a traffic warden smiling as he controlled the traffic. He has passion for the job and he is enjoying what he knows best. So, you must have passion for the job for you to enjoy it.”
Also advising female police personnel on marriage, Koyi says, “About three years after I joined the force, my husband wanted to marry me. In those days before a woman police would get married, the authorities must invite the would-be husband. They would ask him some vital questions to know whether he could make a good husband or not. The authorities had to know whether the man was having a genuine job. A policewoman cannot go and marry a criminal.
“The authorities would also explain to the man that the woman can be transferred from one state to another. If he agrees, then the authorities would give them the go-ahead. Now, I don’t know if they are still doing it. I advise policewomen to get themselves husbands. A man has a very vital role to play in a family. I don’t like the idea of single parent or mother. Your life cannot be fulfilled without a husband by your side.”