Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Ahead of 2019 general election, the Nigerian Navy has put its platforms and personnel in good stead to provide logistic support for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in movement of electoral materials and staff to coastal areas in the South-south states.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command (CNC), Rear Admiral Saleh Usman disclosed this at the weekend when he led top naval officers to inspect naval formations in Delta State.
Usman, who was accompanied by the Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship Delta (NNS Delta), Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, said the inspection was to assess the readiness of the naval officers and platforms for the 2019 elections considering the coastal terrain of his area of responsibility.
He said the coastal areas in the South-south â€œhave always being a major problem for the INEC in terms of timely distribution of election materials as well as movement of electoral officers.
â€œThe essence of my visit to our areas of operation is to check orderliness. You know we are getting into the election period. We must make sure all our platforms are ready to support INEC and any organ of government.
â€œOne of the major roles of the Navy is to support the government. We do not wait for any organ of government to come asking before we get prepared. So, we always get prepared well ahead and carry out feasibility study before any call from the headquarters,â€ Usman said.
Usman said all the naval bases under his command â€œare fully ready for the national assignment next year as well as continued with its traditional role of safe guarding the waterways.â€
He reassured Nigerians that the military would do its best to ensure a free and fair election in 2019 devoid of any intimidation either by own personnel or miscreants.
He said: â€œI can assure you that nobody should have any fear for the coming elections. We are ready to make sure that the environment is safe for everybody.
â€œWe are fully ready, all the armed forces operating in the Niger Delta are ready to support government to ensure a free and fair elections where nobody will be molested, where everybody will have freedom to cast his or her vote without fear.â€
Usman was accompanied by senior naval officers on inspection of NNS Zaria, NNS Donna, NNS Bomadi and NNS Okpoku, all naval ships anchored at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Warri.
He also commissioned the newly built Naval Hospital gate as well as sick bay at Naval Air Support, both located at Effurun, Delta State.