The first edition of the Nigeria Emergency Response and Counter-Terrorism Workshop (NERCT) was held in the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria on October 8 2013. Policy makers and practioners were brought together to discuss the security situation in Nigeria and present solutions to the increasing problems facing Nigerians.
Cpt Alain St-Pierre (RTD), consultant for emergency services management for MOSECON GmbH, emphasized the importance of communication, teamwork and role assignment in his presentation “Optimizing Emergency Response”. Kolapo Adedeji, managing director and CEO of the event’s main sponsor Niger Insurance Plc, discussed some of the problems insecurity causes for the insurance industry, while Michael Enyinnaya, CEO of MEI Group, stated that insecurity in the biggest problem facing the tourism industry, underlining that a thriving tourism sector is vital to a country’s economy as well as its reputation. Yan St-Pierre, CEO of MOSECON GmbH, closed the morning’s presentations by discussing the problem of Boko Haram, stating that it is beyond a simple terrorist group and that the Nigerian government needs to invest in its credibility alongside its military strategy in order to vanquish its opponent. The morning’s discussions were moderated by the managing director Africa of MOSECON GmbH, Mr Uzoma I. Kingsley.
The afternoon workshops on emergency response and counter-terrorism allowed all participants to exchange ideas and perspectives and come up with solutions to their common problems such as the absence of collaboration, poor equipment, adequate structure or an effective emergency hotline to replace the 11 digit number currently in place. Because these actors were now given a platform to communicate with each other, they were able to establish connections and create a structure that would allow them to complement one another rather than compete.
The counter-terrorism workshop discussed exactly what measures and policies are to be implemented, all while being aware of extremely difficult problems such as passive support for Boko Haram and regional grievances, two elements that strongly hinder the government’s fight against the organization.
The first edition of NERCT was highly successful and at the request of the participants, it was announced that similar events will take place again in Nigeria in 2014, expanding into other security sectors, including the second edition of NERCT during the last quarter of 2014.