By Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Ahead of 2019 general elections, the Nigerian Navy has taken concrete steps to put its platforms and personnel in good stead to provide logistics support for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the movement of electoral materials and staff to coastal areas in the Niger Delta.

The Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command (CNC), Rear Admiral Saleh Usman led top officers of the Navy, including the Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship Delta (NNS Delta), Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, to inspect naval formations in Delta State last weekend to assess the readiness of officers and platforms ahead of the crucial elections considering the coastal terrain of his area of responsibility.

The coastal areas in the South-south region have always being a major problem for the INEC in terms of timely distribution of election materials, as well as the movement of electoral officers.

But Usman, who spoke to journalists at the end of the inspection, assured of the support of the armed forces operating in the Niger Delta and their readiness to provide both logistics and security for the 2019 elections.

“The essence of my visit to our areas of operation is to check orderliness. You know we are getting into the election period and we have to make sure all our platforms are ready to support INEC and any organ of government. One of the major roles of the navy is to support the government and whatever it is, we don’t 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”, he said.

Usman said all the naval bases under his command were fully ready for the national assignment next year, in additional to its traditional role of safeguarding the waterways.

 Usman was accompanied by senior naval officers on the inspection of NNS Zaria, NNS Donna, NNS Bomadi and NNS Okpoku, as well as all the naval ships anchored at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Warri.

He also inaugurated the newly-built Naval Hospital gate as well as the sick bay at Naval Air Support, both located at Effurun, Delta State.