Helen Moyegbone is a policewoman whose dedication to duty has seen her recently promoted to the rank of an inspector from a sergeant. She was specifically decorated by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris. Moyegbone speaks about her motivation for joining the force, how she got into the traffic section and other issues in this interview with PAULINE ONYIBE. Excerpts…
What motivated you to enlist in the Nigeria Police?
Right from childhood I loved policing. I wanted to be a policewoman. It got to the extent that even when I was outside and I saw policemen on uniform, I would just stand and start watching them, asking myself when I would grow up to put on this uniform. And to the glory of God, in 2002 September 1 precisely, when the police were recruiting, I put in a form and I was accepted. So I was so happy for the Nigeria police to have employed me.
What made you to go for traffic warden?
Actually I’m not a traffic warden. I’m a general duty police officer. But we have traffic section. I was an investigator before I was posted to traffic section. I was posted that section in 2010. And I picked interest in traffic control. So I have to put in a lot of commitment.
Nigerians used to say Police is not our friend, and in those days when people see policeman they would run away; yet you came to like the job. Why?
The thing is that I love the job. I’m a policewoman by calling. And I have a burning desire to serve my fatherland.
There are far more men in the police; do you not feel threatened each time you are in the midst of men, also bearing in mind that standing on the road is seen largely as a man’s thing?
I don’t feel threatened because of the interest I have for the job.
Recently you were promoted. What do you think led to this promotion?
What actually gave me this promotion is my commitment and the love I have for traffic control. And the public sees the commitment I put into this job. That is why I have got a lot of awards. From that came the recognition that led to my promotion to the rank of an inspector.
So how did you feel when you were told about the promotion?
In fact I was so happy. It is not easy for the Inspector General of Police to decorate an inspector. You should know that this is grace from God. To single me out and say I will be the person that will decorate this woman, is a thing of joy, and I will use this opportunity to salute the Inspector General of Police and my state Commissioner of Police, Mr Asuquo Amba.
How do your kids feel about your job and the recognition?
They love it and they are very proud that their mother is a policewoman. Actually I have one biological child and two foster children.
Have they heard about your promotion?
Yes, they have heard about it. And they are very happy about it. It is a thing of joy to them that their mother has been promoted to the rank of an inspector. It is not easy.
You are already back at your duty post so soon after your return from Abuja for the decoration. No break. Is it because of the passion you have for the job?
Yes. I came from Abuja yesterday (penultimate Monday) and I said I’m not supposed to sit at home today (Tuesday). I resumed immediately because mo-torists need me. I have to make movement easy for them.
Have there been challenges in the course of your job that each time you remember it, you feel like quitting the job?
Never. No challenge will make me want to go quit this job. Rather it will give me more strength to do it even better. I read Sociology at the University of Port Harcourt. Sociology has to do with the society, so I have all the ideas of how to deal with human beings and I have been doing it.
Is any of your children aspiring to follow in your footstep someday?
To be a police officer, there has to be interest. If they have the interest, they can join but if they don’t have it, whatever field they have the interest, they are free.
What advice do you have for other officers who found themselves in the police force but are not actually happy doing the work and are not giving their best?
I talk about myself. I did not join the police because I needed money or I didn’t have other jobs to do. I joined it because of the interest I have in serving my Nation. I want to serve my fast therland with all my heart.
Where do you want to see yourself in another five years?
I’m aspiring to go higher. The prayer of every civil servant and public servant is to grow.
Are you not sometimes afraid over the hazards of the job?
I’m not afraid of anything. I see myself as a woman who can do all things with the special grace of God. That is why whether rain, or sunshine, I’m ready to do my job that I’m paid for monthly. I’m ready to serve the people. I’m a public servant not a master to the people.
Have you ever had an encounter that where people wanted to like talk down on you or insult you?
I have had encounters like that but they have got nothing do with me that would make me want to stop doing my job. As I told you, as someone who read sociology, I know the behavior of people in the society so I accept them the way they think. Insult is part of the job. I cannot say because I’m doing my job now, someone insults me then I will not do the job. Definitely, I will offend other people.
How do people react each time they see you doing your job?
People love what I’m doing. That is why I’m a recipient of many awards. Everybody has a talent. Just be committed to what you love doing and you will do it better. As a journalist, you are doing the job better because you love it. I don’t like it (Journalism). But the policing I’m doing, I’m doing it well because I love it with all my heart. That is why everybody should key into what they love doing, so that we can do it better for the betterment of the society. And show commitment because that is the key to success.
Could you recall how many awards you have got so far?
The recent rank makes it the seventeenth of such awards and promotions. Even the Governor has appreciated me. There was a day I was at Kpansia Market, when he saw the way I was doing the job, he fastopped and asked his ADC to call me. I went and he shook hands with me and snapped photos with me. He promised to invite me to the Government House and he did and blessed me. Just because he saw my commitment to my job. So, I will use this opportunity to thank the Governor for appreciating me. It is something that is worthy of praise for the Governor of a state to see a police woman on the road, working and stopped his convoy just to say thank you. It is a thing worth appreciating. That is why I’m using this opportunity to thank the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson. I thank him for appreciating me.
Could you name some of these awards?
The awards include hero for diligent service by Radio Bayelsa, special recognition for diligence by Bayelsa Media, Policewoman of the year, 2016 by Kerewa Comedy Award, award of excellence by Nigeria Bar Association, Yenagao branch, outstanding performance by motor vehicle artisans’ association and valcanizers union of Bayelsa State. Others are recognition of your contribution for meritorious service to the community by Ox bow Lake Club, recognition of service to the public by Nigerian Institute of Public Relation (NIPR), special recognition for hard work by Gesi Publication, patience, courage and dedication to duty by ACP Neme Iwoh, make me proud award by ACP Christy Kuki, hardworking woman award by CPC Peter Ezegbuke, cash award by Bayelsa Today magazine, all school conference award, certificate of recommendation by CP Adeyemi Ogunjimilusi, cash award by honourable Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, IG special promotion.
Who is your mentor in life and on the job?
My parents are my mentor. I also have other people within the police and outside the police. My parents do sometimes call me on the telephone just to tell me to be careful, to do whatever I am doing with the fear of God. And my lecturer is also another mentor. Mr Steve Ojo of the department of Sociology. Mr Samuel Ginikanwa and others. Even my Commissioner of Police (CP), Asuquo Amba is also my mentor. He had given me fatherly advice which I keyed into.