Law enforcement agencies and operatives in West Africa should close ranks and upgrade their knowledge and tools in order to counter the sophistication of criminals and the rising wave of organized transnational crimes in the region, Col. Abdoulrahmane Dieng, Head of ECOWAS Regional Security Division, has said.
Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the opening of the 8th Annual Meeting of the West Africa’s National Central Regional Bureaux of INTERPOL, in Abidjan on Wednesday 13th September 2012, Col. Dieng noted that transnational organized crimes constituted a major menace to peace and security in the region.
He said the criminals involved in narcotic and human trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, cyber-crimes, counterfeiting, vehicle theft and smuggling, among others, continued to perfect their illicit trade to reduce risks and maximize their profits.
The ECOWAS official therefore called for greater coordination and synergy among law enforcement agencies and operatives using the West African National Central Regional Bureaux of INTERPOL as arrow-head, especially in information sharing and analysis through the organization’s I/24/7 network.
Col. Dieng said the creation of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS), targeting organized transnational crimes, should also boost intra-community police anti-crime cooperation.
Cote d’Ivoire’s Inspector General of Police, General Bredou M’bia spoke in the same vein in his speech in which he also urged law enforcement agencies to redouble their efforts through specialized training in combating crimes such as terrorism and Al-Qaeda activities in the region.
He said the reopening of the INTERPOL West Africa Regional Office in Abidjan would also boost the sensitization of law enforcement agencies and operatives on the need to step up their game towards making the region stable and safe.
INTERPOL was represented by Madam Salimata Sow, who in her speech reaffirmed the willingness of the Organization to strengthen collaboration with the National Central Bureaux through the provision of adequate training and necessary equipment for effective crime fighting.
Welcoming the participants, the Mayor of Cote d’Ivoire’s administrative district of Cocody, represented by Mr. Toure Abdoulaye, stressed the need for law enforcement agencies to pay particular attention to the technical advances and methods adopted by criminals and the need to strengthen regional strategies and cooperation in countering them.
He emphasized the need to demonstrate strong political will in putting in place the necessary mechanism and policies for a stable and safe society that will contribute to the preservation of human lives in the region.
The meeting kicks off four days of gathering of regional security operatives, including the 13th Annual General Assembly of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) on Thursday 13th September, the Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Security Services (CCSS), on Friday 14th September and the 9th Meeting of the Forum of Ministers in charge of security in ECOWAS Member States, all in the Ivorian capital.
The Ministers will review the security situation in the region and make recommendations for crime control and how to boost security in the region after considering the reports of the WAPCCO and CCSS meetings.
The Regional Security Division of the ECOWAS Commission, which serves as the WAPCCO Permanent Secretariat organizes and coordinates the different levels of annual security meetings with a view to bringing together the relevant stakeholders to report, discuss, analyze, strategize and make recommendations in line with international best practices on crime trends and Police collaboration in the region.