Dogs and horses will be deployed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters and collation centres during the elections, the Force Animal Branch (FAB) of the Police has said.
The animals are expected to help control the crowd at the locations.
Speaking during a meeting in Abuja yesterday with Officers in Charge (OCs) of FAB on their roles during the elections, the Commissioner of Police FAB, Aishatu Abubakar, said dogs and horses were more efficient in crowd control operation.
She said: “We want to use dogs to control crowd because they are very effective. When you are confronted with issues of crowd, ten to 20 policemen cannot do what one or two dogs will do. Once a dog stands, people will behave themselves. Also for the mounted troop, a man on a horse can easily control crowd. So, the animals will be deployed to INEC headquarters and collation centres because that is where we have large number of crowd.
“We also have veterinary doctors to support and ensure that all animals are safe.”
On whether the animals will not scare people away and prevent them from voting, she said: “We expect understanding from members of the public. Our dogs are well trained and they won’t bite indiscriminately. If there is a problem or the dog is suspicious of somebody, that is when they will come close. We expect the public to understand that the dogs and horses will be there to protect lives and property.
“To better reposition the department for efficient service delivery, the branch will be distributing to all its formations across the counter about 500 bags of K9 food, 1000 different categories of K9 operational gears, over 200 veterinary clinics equipment ranging from examination tables, stretcher, surgical, ambulatory and necropsy kits, 2500 variety of veterinary drugs and consumables.
“The Mounted section of the department will be distributing over 600 bags of the horse feed, guinea corn, millet and 500 varieties of mounted operational gears.”
The Deputy Inspector of Police in charge of Operations, DIG Abdulmajid Ali, urged the personnel to be at their best behaviour.
He said: “I want to remind you of the forthcoming election. Your performance will be monitored and we want to see how you will perform and how the items deployed will be utilised and not sold. All items deployed must be utilised and used justifiably because we want the election to be free and fair.”