Law enforcement officials, prosecutors and organized crime experts gather in Sicily to advance action against transnational organized crime affecting Nigeria and Europe

Abuja, 20th November 2022-Over the past two decades, Nigerian transnational organized crime has evolved structurally, grown more sophisticated and become both more violent and better organized. According to ENACT’s Global Organized Crime Index 2021, Nigeria is the fifth highest-scoring country for criminality globally.

Transnational organized crime affects Nigeria’s people, environment and economy. Its evolution has been facilitated by a constantly growing pool of unemployed young men, a large and geographically widely distributed diaspora, porous borders, the continuing inflow of small arms and light weapons and an increasingly overwhelmed criminal justice system.

Organized criminal groups of Nigerian origin have also created operational hubs in multiple countries engaging in various criminal markets including drug trafficking, the trafficking in persons, cyber fraud and money laundering.

Therefore in 2021, UNODC, under the framework of its PROMIS project, joined forces with the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (SII) with a view to strengthening cooperation between relevant Nigerian authorities and their European counterparts, including through the deployment of Nigerian Liaison Prosecutors to Italy and Spain.

In furtherance of this objective, between 7-9 November 2022, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and organized crime experts from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom as well as Eurojust and Europol gathered at the headquarters of the Siracusa International Institute to take stock of various forms of transnational organised crime affecting Nigeria and select European jurisdictions, learn from each other’s experiences in investigating and prosecuting organized criminal groups operating in Nigeria and Europe; and strengthen the networking and practical cooperation among participating practitioners.

Over the course of two days, participants exchanged their views and operational findings relating to the latest trends and threats posed by various organized criminal groups operating transnationally between Nigeria and the participating European jurisdictions.

From Nigeria, investigators, intelligence analysts and prosecutors from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigeria Immigration Service, Interpol Nigeria and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

The gathering also provided the platform for more than ten bilateral and multilateral case consultations relevant to ongoing investigations against transnational organized crime groups.

As such the workshop and the PROMIS project form integral part of the implementation of UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Nigeria, most notably its Priority Area 4 aimed at protecting people, the economy and the environment against organized crime in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16 as well as UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa, Priority Area 2.5 and 5.1.