Force acquires 20 bomb detection dogs
John Shiklam in Kaduna and Paul Obi in Abuja
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sodique Baba Abubakar, has said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) bases in the country were under threat of attack by adversaries.
Addressing participants at the opening of Base Defence Planning Retreat at the Air Force base in Kaduna yesterday, Abubakar said officers and men of the force had been placed on red alert to prevent any attack.
â€œWe have had an attack on one of our airbases in the recent past and current intelligence reports keep highlighting the possibility of attacks on our bases.
â€œGiven the importance of bases in the airpower delivery matrix, it is not inconceivable to expect our adversaries to target our bases,â€ Abubakar said.
Recently, Boko Haram insurgents attacked the air force base in Maiduguri, Borno State.
The CAS noted that the evolving security environment globally and especially in Nigeria had become complex and most times, unpredictable, ranging from challenges of terrorism, militancy, kidnapping to economic sabotage.
â€œOn assumption of office and with the need to develop a robust base defence concept in view, we carried out a review of the then base defence concept.
â€œThe conclusion was that the erstwhile base defence concept with its emphasis on emplacing static guards at identified key and vulnerable points was no longer tenable and sufficient to respond to our contemporary threats.
â€œConsequently, we introduced a new base defence concept. The new base defence concept is premised on the development and deployment of an air-minded ground defence force, trained and equipped as special light infantry and capable of operating both inside and outside the base perimeter against contemporary threats while leveraging on intelligence and available modern technology.
â€œHowever, recent evaluations of the bases revealed that many commanders and bases are still sold on the old concept and are yet to imbibe and adopt the tenets of the new base defence concept,â€ he said.
The air force boss added that in order to avoid a repeat of destruction of air assets, the British Military Assistant Team (BMAT) was expected in the country to train 300 regiment personnel in order to have reliable and highly skilled personnel that can protect all air force bases in the country.
Meanwhile, in an effort to pre-empt Boko Haram operational strategies, the NAF has acquired a total of 20 dogs trained to detect bombs, arms and ammunition, narcotics as well as other substances.
According to NAF, the dogs were purchased in South Africa, and are to serve as complement to explosive detection devices and strategies to neutralise Boko Haram operations.
The air force authorities have also trained 12 personnel of its Air Provost Specialty in advanced dog handling techniques .
The Air Force Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, said: â€œIt is the first time in a while that NAF personnel would receive special training in dog handling at a reputable overseas institution,â€ the statement claimed.
The development came on the heels of current security challenges confronting the military in completely displacing the Boko Haram sects.
He said: â€œThe NAF recently trained 12 personnel of its Air Provost Specialty in advanced dog handling techniques.
â€œThe six-week advanced dog handlersâ€™ course was conducted at Braveheart Bio-Dog Academy in South Africa as a follow-up to the basic K9 training received at the Nigeria Police Force Dog Breeding/Training Centre Abuja.
Adesanya explained that the training â€œis the first time in a while that NAF personnel would receive special training in dog handling at a reputable overseas institution.
â€œConsidering the security challenges currently being faced in the country, the newly acquired dogs, which have been trained to detect explosives, arms and ammunitions, narcotics as well as other substances, are expected to serve as a complement to explosive detection devices.â€
He added that â€œthe attendance of the advanced dog handlersâ€™ course has further boosted the capacity of the affected NAF personnel and also exposed them to international best practices in the use of dogs for security purposes.
â€œIt is recalled that human capacity development through robust and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance is one of the key drivers of the vision of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
â€œThe NAF Air Provost Marshal, Air Commodore Christopher Dola, represented the CAS at the graduation ceremony of the newly trained NAF personnel in Pretoria, South Africa on May 20, 2017 and has since returned to Nigeria,â€ Adesanya stated.