UNODC brings together law enforcement officers from Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria to strengthen joint action against Transnational Organized Crime  

Abuja, 16 November 2021-Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) is a multi-faceted phenomenon that involves illicit trafficking in drugs, human beings, firearms, cigarettes, and other commodities, as well as cybercrime and cyber-enabled crimes, money laundering and fraud.

Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire are both countries of origin, transit and destination of drugs and victims of trafficking. According to the West Africa Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) report (2014 – 2017) cannabis, cocaine, opioids (including heroin and tramadol), and amphetamine-type substances (ATS) (mainly methamphetamine) were the main drugs seized in West Africa during that period. Tramadol remains the drug most trafficked into the region with multiple large-scale seizures being recorded in both Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria. According to the 2021 UNODC Tramadol Trafficking in West Africa report the amount of tramadol seized in Nigeria almost doubled between 2016 and 2017, from 53 tons to more than 92 tons.

To strengthen collaboration and build a platform for cooperation between ECOWAS member states to combat transnational organized crime in the region, UNODC organized a Peer Exchange Activity for law enforcement agents from Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire working on trafficking in persons (TIP) as well as illicit drugs. The week-long activity, held between 8 to 12 November, was part of UNODC’s Organized Crime: West African Response to Trafficking (OCWAR-T) project.

More than 25 officers from different security and law enforcement agencies of both countries participated in the event. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and a Representative from the European Union (EU) delegation in Côte d’Ivoire as well as the Consul of Nigeria in Côte d’Ivoire attended the workshop opening.

Discussions throughout the week centered around enhancing bilateral cooperation, with officials discussing the strengths of each of their agencies as well as the challenges they have encountered in the fight against transnational organized crime. They shared good practices, exchanged advice, and presented case studies and lessons learnt from recent operations.

As the cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria is expanding in these domains, participants showed great enthusiasm about the benefits of working together to strengthen the ties between their two countries in the fight against trafficking in persons and drugs. Looking ahead, a more effective cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria is expected leading to more frequent arrests, successful mutual legal assistance and extraditions, as well as the recovery of the proceeds of crime. As formulated by a representative from Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, “The future of our next generation is in our hands to determine, and our working together will ensure that the future remains bright.”

OCWAR-T is an ECOWAS project, commissioned by the German Government and co-funded by the EU. GIZ jointly implements OCWAR-T with UNDP, UNODC, Mines Advisory Group, International Centre for Migration Policy Development and Enhancing Africa’s response to Transnational Organized Crime.