War And Conflict Terrorism Remains West Africa’s Biggest Problem – UNODC

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Regional Representative for West and Central Africa said terrorism still remains Africa's biggest challenge.

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The threat of jihadists in Northern Mali and Boko Haram in Nigeria and surrounding countries are the biggest challenges facing the West African sub-region.

Mr Pierre Lapaque, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, has said.

He noted that due to the special modus operandi and resourcefulness of the authors of terrorism, organized crimes were able to cross borders easily, thereby disturbing the stability of hitherto peaceful countries.

Mr Lapaque said this, on Monday, at a meeting organized by the UNODC and ECOWAS for members of the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors Against Organised Crime (WACAP), in Accra.

He said transnational organized crime and illicit drug trafficking continued to threaten the security, the rule of law, and the democracy and the development of the region.

Mr Lapaque also mentioned drug trafficking, trafficking of firearms, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, contraband, poaching, trafficking of counterfeit pharmaceuticals drugs, and stolen vehicles as some examples of organized crimes.

Mr Lapaque said the limitless and porosity of sub-regional borders, the slowness and complexity of prosecution, the absence or difficulties of police and judicial cooperation among states, were some of the factors, which had made organized crime conducive in the region.

“Working through cross-border relays, criminal network are trying to create their own areas of operation, using corruption as a weapon of persuasion, and threats as weapon of deterrence and destabilization of the state security institutions,” he said.

He pointed out that no country could effectively combat organized crime by itself due to its complexity and its international ramifications.

He also advocated the establishment of a coherent and effective cross border network of police and judicial cooperation, which would work in accordance with the law, and respect for human rights and the sovereignty of each state.

He recounted that WACAP was established in 2012 in Dakar, Senegal with the aim of ensuring regional network of judicial corporation for the prosecution of organized crime.

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