To improve the capacity of stakeholders in rescue operation whenever terrorists attack, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has begun a tabletop simulation exercise as a strategy on counterterrorism at the Institute for Security Studies, Abuja.
The exercise which is organized in a conjunction with the United States government, centres on the use of vital assets as independent protective devices and chemical pollution level detection instruments.
NEMA Director General, Mohammed 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 explained that the simulation exercise would identify capabilities and gaps inherent in the preparations of relevant agencies to meet the exigencies of terrorists’strikes.
“Of recent, Nigeria as a nation has had its fair share of this ugly phenomenon that has now made it necessary for us to gather in this serene environment to practice an articulated scenarios based tabletop simulation exercise to enhance our capacity towards facing this challenging phase of our national development”, he stated.
The NEMA boss insisted that as the only statutory body with the task of coordinating emergency response stakeholders, the agency has the responsibility to get everyone ready for any eventuality. He thanked the US Government for all the support it has extended to Nigeria’s national emergency preparedness and especially the National Pandemic Disaster Response programme.
He also disclosed that NEMA has applied for a land upon which to build its proposed Centre for Disaster and Emergency management (CDEM) and that once the land application is granted by Federal Capital Territory, construction work will immediately commence. According to him, the centre will be a coordination point for stakeholders in emergency management both in the public and private sectors.
Speaking earlier, United States Ambassador, Terence P. McCulley said the exercise that was being conducted jointly by the American National Counterterrorism Centre would help to identify national capabilities, identify gaps, value needs among others.
He noted that terrorism is not peculiar to Nigeria but a collective problem of the entire sub-region as being experienced in Mali and other countries.