We are ready to provide security for INEC – Navy

By Post Nigeria February 9, 2015 20:58

We are ready to provide security for INEC – Navy

The Nigerian Navy in preparation for the 2015 general elections has pledged to deploy troops on the nation’s waterways to ward off hooligans and political thugs from snatching ballot boxes and escaping through the coastal area.

Rear Admiral Henry Babalola, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, on behalf of the Navy, made the pledge on Monday in Port Harcourt, and assured that the deployment of such troops would be at the request of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Expressing the Navy’s readiness to provide security for INEC officials, voters and election materials, Babalola stressed that the provision of security would be done based on the standard of military operations.

The Admiral specifically promised that if INEC makes the request, the Navy would assist the commission to transport both sensitive and non-sensitive election materials to coastal communities.

He also disclosed that one helicopter and patrol boats would be used to ward off any ship carrying weapons with the intention of arming militants during and after the elections.

“We will standby to assist INEC to provide security to transport electoral materials to riverine areas, when we are called upon.

“We will standby to create an enabling environment that will allow voters’ to lawfully and legally come out to cast their votes.

“Subverting the electoral process starts from when thugs import arms and ammunition to cause problems and so, we are deploying one helicopter to join the Naval flying unit here and patrol boats to ward off ships bearing arms to come and arm the militants.

“It is a trying moment for our nation. So, the idea is that at the end of the day, we will be on top of the game to create a conducive atmosphere for the election to take place,” he said.

The Naval boss responded to speculations on military participating in the voting exercise by saying they would be allowed to vote, but not in their military uniforms but will not be allowed to wait at the centre after casting their votes.

Babalola explained that the military remains non-partisan and will not hesitate to penalize any of its personnel that join in political campaigns to influence the result of the election.

He also pointed out that the navy would soon take delivery of three warships aimed at giving a boost to the fight against oil theft and piracy within the nation’s territorial waters.