By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT— COMMANDER, 2 Brigade, Port Harcourt Barracks, Brigadier-General Koko Essien, has said that the military will provide security during the general elections in Rivers State.
Brigadier-General Essien, in his maiden briefing with journalists, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, said soldiers would be involved in the elections in accordance with the provisions of the law, stressing that the army had been meeting with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on the issue.
He said: “We are holding meetings with INEC. We have the duty to support the Police. How many gunboats do the Police have to escort electoral materials? Where the Police is weak, we will strengthen them. All we will do will be based on the law.
“We have a mandate to support the elections with security. We will provide security to INEC on land and on water as may be appropriate and constitutional. We will do everything to ensure people are safe to vote.”
Brigadier-General Essien called for partnership between the media and his Command to avoid misinformed reports.
“We need to synergise to help the state. We need partnership. The press should please verify information around our operations. We had reports last week on our exercise that was misreported in the media.”
Brigadier-General Essien, who is also Commander, Sector II of the Joint Task Force, JTF, Rivers State, said that his command had re strategized to deal with the problems of cultism, kidnapping and other challenges of insecurity in the state.
“Rival cult groups have been at each other’s throats. There is an increase in kidnapping. We are strategising to deal with the situation in the state,” he said.
He appealed to people of the state to feel free to come out to vote for the candidate of their choice at the general polls.