US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terrence McCulley
The United States and Nigeria Tuesday commenced a counter terrorism simulation exercise aimed at strengthening the country’s capacity to respond effectively to terrorist attacks and insurgency.
The exercise, which was organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in conjunction with the American National Counter-terrorism Centre, focused on the use of vital assets like independent protective devices and chemical pollution level detection instruments in the event of terrorist attacks.
Speaking at the opening of the joint exercise at the State Security Service (SSS) Training Institute in Abuja, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terrence McCulley, said the programme would help to identify national capabilities, identify gaps and value needs among others.
He said terrorism is not peculiar to Nigeria and as such the country should see the need for a collective effort to fight it and stamp it out.
“Terrorism issue is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is a collective problem that requires collective action. The US intends to find out where there are gaps so that it can help in making the West African sub-region and indeed the world a safe place to live in,” he said.
He said the issue of terrorist insurgency has become a collective problem of the entire West African sub-region, adding that the terror activities are currently being experienced in Mali and other countries within the region arising from the in-flow of weapons used in the Libyan war.
“In recognition that we are all in this together, we have seen in West Africa in the last five years and certainly in Nigeria issues of insurgency by terrorists. We have also experienced terrorism activities in northern Mali, “ he said.
Terrence assured that the US government will standby the Federal Government in its war against terror as well as other negative vices that threaten peace and orderly co-existence of humanity.
The Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammed Sani-Sidi, while declaring the exercise open, said emergency rescue exercise has become necessary now that terrorism is on the rise in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region.
He said the agency’s coordination and response mechanism will be sharpened to provide prompt, efficient and effective response emergency occurrences.
Sani-Sidi said the aim of the simulation exercise was to help reduce the untold hardship people go through the loss of their loved ones and the dislocation of their means of livelihood when emergencies occur.
He explained that the collaboration with the American National Counter-terrorism Centre will provide the opportunity to practice articulated scenarios based on table-top simulation exercise to enhance the country’s capacity in confronting the challenges of national development.
Participants at the simulation exercise were drawn from a cross section of the security agencies, particularly those engaged in anti-terrorist insurgency.