Efforts to further enhance Nigerian Air Force (NAF) special operations capabilities have received a boost with the graduation of another batch of 20 Military Working Dogs (MWDs) and Canine (K-9) handlers, 5 of which have been trained in a range of special operations skills including rappelling from helicopters as well as tracking of adversary movements and positions in an area of operation. The graduation ceremony, which took place today, 6 September 2019, at the NAF Base Kaduna, would further improve measures for the protection of NAF assets and facilities as well as critical national infrastructure, like Airports, especially in times of emergencies.
The CAS recalled how the NAF had inducted the first batch of 20 MWDs with narcotics and explosive detection capabilities. He noted that the import of inducting Special Operations Dogs in the second batch of training, was to provide the AP with the capacity to conduct specialized policing functions in support of the roles of the newly established Special Operations Command.
The CAS expressed the expectation that the handlers, along with their dogs, having undergone intensive advanced K-9 training for 13 weeks (10 weeks of which were conducted overseas and 3 in-country), must endeavour to add value wherever they are deployed. He emphasised that the Service intends to increase its K-9 holding with the addition of 20 more Special Operations Dogs that would enhance the potential to detect, track and provide early warning of adversary positions while also exploiting the psychological effects of dogs on adversaries. “Thus, K-9 development is projected to be a force multiplier to the operational exploits of the NAF’s aircrew and ground personnel that would enhance the security of Nigeria and Nigerians”, he stated.
He added that some of the dogs would soon be deployed alongside NAF Regiment Specialty to conduct training exercises on some troubled roads like the Kaduna-Abuja and Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Highways as well as locations in the Southwest of the Country. Air Marshal Abubakar also expressed the appreciation and continued loyalty of the Service to the Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, for providing the enabling environment for the NAF to keep discharging its responsibilities despite other contending imperatives.
Among the 20 dogs and handlers who graduated, 10 were trained in explosive detection and 5 in narcotics detection, while 5 dogs were trained for special operations; the first of its kind in Nigeria. The ceremony featured practical demonstration of the capabilities of the Military Working Dogs and their handlers which included explosive ordinance and narcotics detection, tracking and arrest of suspects in simulated built-up areas as well as rappelling of a dog and handler from a helicopter, which was executed by one of the female graduating dog handlers, Lance Corporal Naomi Danjuma. Awards were also presented to graduating dogs and handlers who had distinguished themselves during the course.