United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) has lamented a significant upsurge and seizure of the drug in West Africa, revealing that a total of 1,347 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil to Nigeria was seized in November last month alone.
UNODC Project Coordinator, Response to Drugs and Related Organised Crime in Nigeria, Harsheth Kaur Virk, made the disclosure at a two-day workshop organised by a German outfit, KONRAD ADENAUER STIFTUNG (KAS) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking while discussing the topic, ‘Key Issues in Cross-Border Cooperation of the Criminal Justice System in Combating Transnational Crimes in West Africa and the Sahel Region’, she revealed that Cape Verde represented the highest ever seizure of cocaine in West Africa with 9.5 tons in January, and two tons in August this year.
“The drug trafficking in West Africa seizure data show that there is an upsurge in significant drug seizure in 2019. Cape Verde has 9.5 tons in January 2019, which represents the largest ever seizure of cocaine in West Africa, two tons also of cocaine in August 2019.
“Guinea Bissau 789 kilograms in March and 1,947 kilograms in September, Senegal one ton of cocaine each in July and October this year. Brazil seizures destined to West Africa, including 1,195 kilograms of cocaine destined to Cote d’Ivoire in September 2019, 345 kilograms of cocaine in November 2019 destined to Ghana and 1,347 kilograms of cocaine in November 2019 destined for Nigeria,”
The Project Coordinator further lamented that West Africa equally tops the number of people using illicit drugs in the African region.
In her recommendations, she suggested an improvement in understanding of criminal actors and criminal networks and focus on high-value targets (organisers and funders) including their assets and move to an organised, coordinated, integrated response.
“Others include strengthening cooperation among law enforcement agencies within countries, establish arrangements for capture, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence.
Develop protocols for cooperation including asset recovery, controlled deliveries, mutual legal assistance, counter-terrorism, making sure that evidence collected difference between Francophone and Anglophone legal systems which means agreeing on some basic international standards,” she suggested.
Equally speaking while delivering her address, Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform/International Relations/Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Juliet Ibekaku, suggested that “ECOWAS should develop a criminal justice system with a platform like Rurojust that includes allyhr West Africa member states.
“They should increase the number of states signing of bilateral and preferably multilateral treaties on mutual legal assistance in a criminal matter and enforcement of existing ones will address cross-border crimes,” she added.
Philomena Ngozi Christopher-Oji was born to the family of the late Michael and Cecilia Ojeogwu of Ubulu-Uku, in Aniocha South Local Government Area, Delta State. She had her primary and secondary education in Nwanoli and Ezemu Girls College, in Ubulu-Uku, before she proceeded to the Delta State University, Abraka, where she studied English and Literary Studies.