U.S. Counterterrorism Training Prepares Nigeria’s Emergency Response Professionals (October 3, 2015)

CounterterrorismTraining2 Abuja, Nigeria – Today, the U.S. government’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA) conducted a mass casualty exercise to culminate a yearlong training program with Nigeria’s emergency management agency and other security and health agencies on emergency response and management.

The exercise, ATA’s largest in Nigeria, included 200 participants from the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Red Cross, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and medical personnel.  The exercise enhanced everyone’s ability to plan effectively for and manage a mass casualty critical incident.

Speaking at the event, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Maria E. Brewer said, “By bringing together all of your various agencies, with outside experts in the field, we could achieve new innovations, greater cooperation, and build upon many of the skills you already possess.”  Mrs. Brewer also expressed the U.S. government’s condolences for yesterday’s twin bomb blasts in Abuja, further emphaCounterterrorismTraining1sizing the significance of this training and emergency preparedness.

NEMA Director General Muhammad Sani Sidi said, “The capacity building program provided by the Antiterrorism Assistance Program of the United States is coming at a very good time—coming at a time when all hands must be on deck to defeat terrorism.”  He added, “There is a need for the security agencies and the Nigerian actors to step up their game in order to counter these threats.”

As a $1.5 million program worldwide, ATA has trained NEMA in critical incident management courses and progressively enhanced Nigeria’s explosive ordnance disposal capabilities through courses, seminars, and equipment grants.  ATA has also trained senior hospital personnel and mid-level, first-line, emergency response personnel to include police, firefighters, emergency management technicians, and specialized law enforcement units on management of mass casualty incidents.