The Nigerian Navy has pledged to collaborate with the police and other security agencies to ensure peaceful conduct of the February 25 and March 11 elections.
The chief of the naval staff, Awwal Gambo, said this during a meeting with navy commandants, commanders and flag officers at the navy headquarters on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Gambo said adequate preparation was key to election success in any part of the world, including Nigeria.
“You are all aware of the dynamics of the nation’s security and political environment. Therefore, continuous reappraisal and adjustments are necessary, particular on strategies and tactics by the military for a smooth exercise,” said the navy chief. “The service and several other agencies will be required to perform various tasks in line with our respective mandate and statutory responsibilities to support the NPF, which is the lead agency.”
Mr Gambo said the support was necessary, especially in distributing election materials and safeguarding vulnerable areas.
“Search and rescue, dispute resolution in communities, restriction of unlawful movement and other lawful tasks within the riverine communities, which is our domain, and which have diverse and so much difficult terrains,” he stressed.
This, he added, must be executed professionally towards the successful conduct of the elections.
Mr Gambo directed senior naval officers to ensure adherence to the rule of engagement and standing operational procedures, including safety measures, urging them to sustain awareness and sensitisation of personnel on professional conduct during the entire period.
“I urge all the commanders to ensure personnel under you are in possession of copies of the rules of engagement booklet in their breast pockets to facilitate quick reference whenever they are in doubt,” said the navy boss.
He added, “Enforcement of law and order throughout the exercise and beyond in collaboration with NPF, sister services and other security agencies is not negotiable at all.”
Mr Gambo expressed optimism that with adequate preparations by the umpire and security agencies in safeguarding election materials, the nation would witness peaceful elections.