By Kayode Idowu
As part of its continued efforts to deal with contemporary security challenges, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today, 3 February 2020, commissioned another Canine (K-9) Wing in Bauchi, bringing to 2, the number of K-9 Wings under the NAF 057 Provost Investigation Group. Prior to today’s commissioning, the NAF had trained 20 Air Provost personnel, alongside 20 Military Working Dogs (MWDs). The specialist trainings included explosive and narcotic substance detection, waterman-ship, navigation and rappelling. The establishment of the Wing now brings to 40 the total number of MWDs inducted into the Service since inception of the current NAF administration.
Speaking while commissioning the K-9 Wing, which comprises an Administrative Block, Handler Accommodation and Kennel Building, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, represented by the Chief of Administration, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Mohammed Idris, stated that the commissioning was yet another milestone in the commitment of the NAF to opening and expanding new frontiers, towards providing the required secure environment for air operations to thrive. He stated that the NAF, for the first time, undertook the training and enlistment of 5 Special Operation Dogs to further push the options for engagement of MWD in the Service. He attested to the impressive contributions and capabilities that the Special Operations MWDs have brought to NAF ground operations and Base Defence efforts as evidenced during the various counterterrorism exercises conducted by the Service in 2019.
According to the CAS, the decision to situate the K-9 Wing in Bauchi, stemmed from the imperative to have the MWDs directly supporting NAF counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in the North East, as well as integrating them in the activities of the Special Operations Command. The growth in the Provost’s K-9 capability, he said, is equally projected to create the capacity for the Air Provost to be integrated in the conduct of Combat Search and Rescue operations in the Service. “Indeed, the long-term outlook, is to have MWD operations fully encapsulated in the law enforcement, Base Defence and special operations of the NAF as well as in Military Aid to Civil Authority when the need arises”, he said.
Other areas of capacity building recently conducted for Provost personnel, according to the CAS, included the training of 167 orderlies in VIP Protection; training of 140 Provost personnel in Force Protection in Complex Air Ground Environment (FPCAGE), in conjunction with the British Military Advisory Training Team; and the Advanced Detective Course for 30 Provost officers. He said the recent push to make in-roads in the development of the capacity and capability of the Air Provost is premised on the need to have a proactive police force. “Police that would nip threats in the bud and provide the enabling environment for NAF personnel to freely discharge their duties in furtherance of the Service’s constitutional responsibilities”, he said.
The CAS reiterated his charge to all personnel of the Air Provost to develop a strategic foresight founded on the need to be innovative and pursue advances in policing including ideology, models and concepts, in order to effectively meet the demands of contemporary policing. Also, the expectation to be flexible enough to interface and work alongside other security agencies to create a synergistic approach towards law enforcement and security. He also charged them on the imperative to be objective and fair in their dealings in order to gain support from the majority of the public. Air Marshal Abubakar also seized the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for the determined support and laudable efforts in building the capacity of the NAF.
While delivering his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Special Operations Command (SOC), AVM Charles Ohwo, noted that the commissioning of the K-9 Wing was another milestone in the continuous drive to project air power across the spectrum of internal security challenges in the country. According to him, the K-9 Wing would further support measures to sustain the momentum and resolute determination to achieve the end state of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians.
The event, which featured an exciting demonstration of the capabilities of the MWDs, was attended by commanders of collocated NAF units in Bauchi as well as other senior military officers. Apart from the K-9 Wings in Abuja, and now Bauchi, the NAF also has smaller K-9 units in Portharcourt, Yola, Maiduguri and Shasha.
Director of Public Relations & Information
Nigerian Air Force