History was made in the Nigeria Police Force , last Friday, January 14,2022 when a couple, Mr Patrick Kehinde and Mrs Yetunde Longe, was decorated alongside 15 other officers , with the rank of Commissioner of Police, by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, at the Goodluck Jonathan Peacekeeping Centre, Force headquarters, Abuja.
The couple made headlines in the news, significantly for being able to weather the storm together for 29 years as a couple and still counting, in a profession that is characterized with records of divorce among Police couples: be they of the Rank and Files, middle cadre or at the officers cadre.
Findings by Saturday Vanguard revealed that they are not the first course mates to be married in the Police. But unlike the Longes, most of the marriages hit brick wall, either due to accusation of infidelity occasioned by the deployment of either of the couples to other parts of the country, or complaints of over-inflated sense of self worth, especially against the women.
In other cases , some of the police women had to quit the noble profession for other areas of interest in order to keep their marriages intact.
For instance, Saturday Vanguard gathered that 15 other women were enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force as Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police, with CP Yetunde Longe , in March 1990. But eight of them left the Force midway, apparently due to the challenges of the profession, one of them is a senior Commissioner of Police, while three others (among whom Yetunde ) were among those promoted. The other three are still Deputy Commissioners of Police.
In this interview with Saturday Vanguard, Lagos State born CP Yetunde Longe, who was the immediate past Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of the Lagos State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCIID Yaba, where she left indelible marks, revealed how she met her husband and the magic wand that has sustained the union for 29 years counting.
“We met at the Police Academy , Wudi, Kaduna ,in 1990, as Cadet ASP. We were course mates. We first became friends before anything else. After the academy, we were still dating. Then, one day, he told me that his parents wanted to know me and he took me to them. Later they said they wanted to meet my family.
By the glory of the Almighty God, this is our 29 years together as a couple and we are still strong together.
Coping with deployments
“Fortunately for us, we were together in the same state when we were much younger. We were in Lagos State. While he was at the Force CID, I was at the state command. Later, he was posted outside Lagos . He went up and down: to Plateau, Delta, Niger, Anambra, FCT, Oyo and Rivers states Police commands. while I was at the Lagos State Police Command.
“He was posted to other states like every other policeman , who has his family stationed in a particular state while he goes and comes back. I believe our union has been blessed like that. He goes and comes back. When he was outside, he would come back to the house and it has been like that till date.
Managing marriage, children and carrier
“Like any other home, it is God that helps to raise children. I usually bring my work home because he is my partner one and if I have challenges, being in the same profession, he assists and if I have any experience, we share it and he gives me advice.
“But I don’t bring the authority that comes with the job home. He is my husband and he has to be the husband of the house, while I have to be the wife. Mind you, as wives, we have a way of wrapping our men around our arms and getting what we want to be done. But that must not rule out the fact that he is the head of the family. He is the husband of the house while I do my duty as a wife.
Encourages marriage between officers
“ I encourage marriage between male and female police officers. Police job for a woman is challenging . Men who are not in the Police may not understand why a woman Police will not stay at home in the night ,or why she has to go back to work in the night or stay 24 hours at work. But when you have a partner that does the same job, he will know that your excuse for not coming home is not because you are trying to be funny. It makes a woman Police excel in the job , as he will understand her because they are going through the same thing. He too will be like your champion, your fan and he will be clapping for you, encouraging you to move on , like every other woman either in the same profession or elsewhere.
‘ Yes, there were times when people would want to pass through my husband to prevail on me in some cases. There is one thing you have to know , that we are all Nigerians and as such, Nigerians will do anything to get to you. But it is even easier if you have to pass through my husband because he knows the rules and regulations guiding the job. Definitely if you have to pass through him, he would have told you that this is what is possible and what is not possible.
“He is in a better position to tell the person whether what he is asking for is doable or not because these are laws of the land and what we are guided by when it comes to decision making.
Tips to lasting home
“Number one is to hold on to God. Number two, as wives humble yourselves. First and foremost we are Africans. And we have to humble ourselves as women. Again, we have to tolerate each other, accommodate each other, relate with each other and allow each other to grow. But the first thing is God because he comes first in everything ..
Commitment to duty
“ We intend to rededicate ourselves to the service and the nation. Once we do that , people will see the Police that they envisioned, the police that are ready to save and protect the citizenry.
Reveals spouse’s striking quality
“There are cases where some men may not want to encourage their wives , especially if they are at par with each other. But in my case, my husband is my number one fan. And as a fan can go the extra mile for the star they worship, that is who my husband is to me and that is what I love about him.
He encourages me. When I feel reluctant to do a thing, he will say ‘Yetunde , other women are doing it , so , you can do it. He allows me to shine . He stays behind me and allows me to shine.
Challenges of the job
“ The challenges are peculiar . We have been able to tackle crime and criminality. But it is not easy because when you are doing the right thing ,there are people that will not want you to do it. But we just need to deliver justice and deliver it on time because justice delayed is justice denied. Being able to deliver it on time is one of those things we envision for the Nigeria Police . To ensure we protect the lives and property of the citizenry and at the same time, to ensure justice is delivered. That is the most important thing.
Advices civilian women to join the Police
“I encourage young women to be police officers. They can be whatever they want to become in the Police. Gone are the days when they say women should stay behind, they should come in and ensure that their impact is felt, not only in the Force but in the society at large”.
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