OCWAR-T Strengthens International Cooperation Between Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria to Tackle Illicit drug trafficking

Lagos, 17th November 2022- To enhance international cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria in the fight against illicit drug manufacture and trafficking, the Organized Crime: West African Response to trafficking (OCWAR–T) project conducted a simulation exercise for law enforcement officers from both countries on a “Controlled Drug Delivery” in Lagos, Nigeria.

The exercise demonstrated the arrest of a drug courier at the airport. Participants from Côte d’Ivoire included officers from the Customs, Directorate of the Counter-Narcotics Police (DPSD), Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) and the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU). The Nigerian participants were drawn from the Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria (Intelligence Unit), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). Thirty law enforcement officers involved in the case were sent to different locations according to their roles and teams to conduct surveillance and arrests. Peer learning has several benefits such as professional development, enhancing teamwork, and collaboration.

The highlight of the event was the debrief workshop during which the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd), OFR noted the critical role capacity-building has played in helping to enhance the skillsets of law enforcement personnel in tackling the scourge of drug trafficking. He further stated that “today’s workshop has helped to put us all on the same page about the intricacies of this methodology, which requires greater cooperation of relevant law enforcement agencies at the national and international levels. More than other techniques, controlled delivery sharpens our awareness as to why law enforcement agencies should not work in silos and why bilateral and multilateral agreements, good and regular contact and exchange of information between anti-drug enforcement organizations are important.” He commended the European Union, the German Government, UNODC and ECOWAS Commission for supporting the training workshop.

This activity is based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on the 7th of November 2021 between the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire on Cooperation in combatting illicit production, manufacture, and trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and its precursors; following concerns about the increase in large-scale illegal circulation of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and essential chemicals and their abuse.

Furthermore, the exercise will strengthen the international cooperation of both countries based on the MoU and the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, as amended by the protocol on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and the Convention against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.

Dr Oliver Stolpe, Country Representative, UNODC stated that such practical exchange is necessary to effectively combat transnational organized crimes utilizing platforms such as those provided by the OCWAR-T project as an important contribution to combatting Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) in the West African region and beyond. 

OCWAR–T is a project to support ECOWAS and its Member States in reducing TOC. For this purpose, the project is strengthening structures, capacities and improving knowledge. Specifically, it supports efforts in criminal investigation and prosecution, improving small arms control and reducing human trafficking. The project is commissioned by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) and co-funded by the EU.

The Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) jointly implements this project with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC). The project covers all fifteen ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania.