While speaking at the inauguration of a Dog Breeding Centre and an Ultra-Modern Mounted Troop Stable on Thursday in Abuja, the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Solomon Arase, revealed that in order to procure and maintain foreign dogs in the past few years to enhance security, the Nigerian Police has spent over N600 million.
The IG noted that the police had failed to fully utilize the limitless anti-crime opportunities which super-abound in the Force Animal Branch and as a result, so much money was being wasted on the importation of dogs and other animals from foreign countries that hardly adapted to the policing objective of the country, asserting that it is not sustainable considering the current economic downturn. He said:
“My experience as the IG points to the fact that the immeasurable anti-crime opportunities which abound in the Force Animal Branch have remained under-utilized, while the Force continued to rely on importation of dogs and other animals to advance the attainment of its mandate.
“In fact, records show that the Nigeria Police Force has spent over N600 million in the last few years just on the procurement and maintenance of these foreign dogs. This is certainly not sustainable, especially in the face of current dwindling resources.”
According to him, establishing the facilities was an aspect of the long term strategies focused at re-instituting police primacy and and making it fall in line with the best world standards. He also revealed that the sole aim of instating the dog breeding center is to supplement the technical and human assets of the police and other agencies of security in order to address the current security challenges facing the country and to assist the police acquire a local capacity to breed police dogs as well as give support to other security agencies in the country.
The IG further stated that the dog breeding center which “is projected that at optimal breeding capacity, it can produce well above 200 dogs per year,” has the potential to breed and supply police dogs to the entire West African sub-region, adding that the facility would also breed puppies for the public on commercial basis “with the intention of evolving the center into a self-sustaining dog breeding center, as practiced in other policing climes.”
The Inspector General, who alongside the Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, conducted an inspection of the veterinary equipment, which includes the official Bingo dog food for the center, said that with the facility, the Police Force would be able to depend on itself make to locally bred police dogs in a cost-effective way, saving the nation some foreign exchange that would have been used for the purchase of dogs from foreign countries.
The Police chief said with the initiative, the Force would soon be counted among countries with “professional K-9 ability,” adding that the dog facility was fashioned after the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, reputed to be the global leader in dog breeding. In his remark, Abdulrahman Dambazau, lauded the initiative saying the projects were timely considering the current security challenges facing the country. He said,
“What the police have done has provided opportunity to build capacity and generate employment. “The K9 project is a good idea to combat the security challenge in the country. Dogs can detect bombs and also identify those carrying explosives; the Nigeria Immigration Service can benefit from it in terms of cross-border security. The police should ensure the nation gets maximum benefits from this facility.”