By Molly Kilete, Abuja
Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase yesterday, said police has spent over N600 million on the procurement and maintenance of foreign dogs in the last few years.
Arase made the disclosure at the inauguration of the Police Dog Breeding Centre and Ultra Modern Mounted Troop in Abuja, yesterday.
“This is certainly not sustainable in the face of the current dwindling resources,” he said.
Arase said so much money was being spent on the importation of dogs from foreign countries that rarely adapted to the country’s policing objective.
He said the projects inaugurated were funded within the budgetary provisions of the Force Animal Branch.
Arase said the Force Animal Branch had remained under-utilised while police continued to rely on importation of dogs and other animals for its operations.
He said the centre was built to aid the police acquire capacity to locally breed police dogs as well as support other security agencies in the country.
Arase said if effectively utilised, the centre would save the nation some foreign exchange that would have gone into procurement of dogs from foreign countries.
He said the centre had the capacity to breed and supply police dogs to the entire West African sub-region.
“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,” he said.
The IGP said with the initiative, the Force would soon take its pride of place 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.
“It is projected that at optimal breeding capacity, it can produce well above 200 dogs per year,” he said.
He said the establishment of the facilities was part of the long-term strategies aimed at restoring police primacy and aligning it to best global standards.
In his remark, Interior Minister, Abdulrahman Dambazau, said the projects were timely considering the current security challenges facing the country.
Dambazau said Nigerians deserved a police that was competent and reliable. He said the projects would not only reduce spending but would also provide job opportunities for other Nigerians aside from the police.
The high point of the occasion was a display by police dogs and award presentation to Dambazau and the chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro, among others.