Counter Terrorism Training in Nigeria

A mass casualty education exercise was conducted in mid-October from the U.S. Government’s Anti-terrorism Assistance Program (ATA) in Nigeria to train the country’s security and health officials, as well as its emergency management agency (NEMA), according to Daily Post Nigeria. The training maneuver marked the end of a program begun last year to educate Nigeria’s emergency management teams on emergency response, and boost their capabilities to manage mass casualty incidents.

“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,” said the article. The exercise enhanced everyone’s ability to plan effectively for and manage a mass casualty critical incident.

“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,” said NEMA Director General Muhammad Sani Sidi at the event. “There is a need for the security agencies and the Nigerian actors to step up their game in order to counter these threats.”

The ATA, a $1.5 million program that spans the globe and administers the Antiterrorism Assistance Program, spent a year in Nigeria training NEMA and senior hospital personnel and emergency response including police, firefighters and specialized law enforcement units, in critical incident management courses and taught courses, seminars and established equipment grants for Nigeria’s explosive ordinance disposal capabilities. The Office of Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA), administers the Antiterrorism Assistance Program. The ATA program trains civilian security and law enforcement personnel from friendly governments in police procedures that deal with terrorism. DS officers work with the host country's government and a team from that country's US mission to develop the most effective means of training for bomb detection, crime scene investigation, airport and building security, maritime protections, and VIP protection.

“Most ATA program recipients are developing nations lacking human and other resources needed to maintain an effective antiterrorism program and infrastructure,” says the ATA website. “Since its inception in 1983, the program has trained and assisted over 84,000 foreign security and law enforcement officials from 154 countries…These officials are now better prepared to fight terrorism and protect Americans overseas in times of crisis.”