UNODC and partners build capacities in Detection of fraudulent documents in Nigeria

Nigeria, July 26, 2017- Drug trafficking is a global problem that has been growing since the early 2000s in West Africa. The region has become the hub for smuggling cocaine from South America to Europe as European and American anti-drug efforts have effectively curtailed the use of traditional smuggling routes and diverted the flows to West Africa. Drug traffickers have forged links with criminal networks and use false documents to conceal their traces and identities. Today, to combat organized crime related to drug trafficking, it is necessary to develop forensic capacities in West Africa because the criminal networks benefit from the low level of forensic resources and control. 

To address these issues UNODC organized a training workshop on "document analysis" from 26 to 28 July 2017 in Lagos, Nigeria. 

The training workshop was organised in the framework of the Project " Support to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on drug trafficking, organized crime related to it and drug abuse in West Africa" funded by the European Union and implemented by UNODC, in collaboration with ECOWAS. The Forensics component of the Project provides technical assistance in " forensics awareness, crime scene investigation, drug and precursor analysis, document examination, computer forensics".

The use of fraudulent documents is a widespread practice within criminal networks to conceal their traces and identities. Following UNODC's forensics capacity's assessment conducted last year in some ECOWAS countries, it has been concluded to develop a tailored technical assistance to notably optimize forensic services. The objective of the workshop was to provide technical assistance and training in the field of forensics regarding fraudulent documents to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Forensic Laboratory in Lagos, NPF Forensic agents in the field and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The two days training included staff from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Forensic Laboratory in Lagos, NPF Forensic agents in the field and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) agents.  An additional half-day practical training was held in the NPF Forensic Laboratory in Lagos, for the NPF Forensic Laboratory Staff. In total, 14 Nigeria staff benefitted from the training.

 This activity was funded by the European Union

The main expected results by advancing ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania forensic structures, knowledge and resources, are to ensure the reliability and compatibility of forensic evidence and drug identification and be critical in prosecuting cases in the West African region. 

  
Group photo of participants to the workshop on Detection of fraudulent documents, Lagos, Nigeria, 26 July 2017 ©UNODC/2017

The workshop was designed, organized and delivered jointly by UNODC in close collaboration with the French Cooperation, GIZ, and the High Commission of Great Britain in Nigeria. This demonstrates the will to seek complementarities and synergies with initiatives of forensic capacity-building led by other international partners. 

The partnering organizations were represented by their officials: Stefania MARRONE, Head of the Cooperation Section, EU delegation for Nigeria and ECOWAS, Gérard LE MER, Attaché of Internal Security for the Nigeria French Embassy, Chizoba U. CHINE, Law Enforcement Project Officer, from ECOWAS Drug Unit, Sigrún AANDRESDOTTIR, GIZ Gouvernance Advisor, Cheikh Touré, UNODC Regional Project Coordinator. The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Forensic Laboratory Director as well attended the opening ceremony. 

UNODC has provided technical assistance to West African States for the past 20 years through its Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN) in Dakar, Senegal and 10 other local offices based in different countries of the region. As a guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) and its Protocols, as well as the three Conventions on International Drug Control; UNODC is mandated to assist Member States to strengthen their national response capacities on the matter, in accordance with their international obligations.

 

For more information:

UNODC action against drug trafficking in West Africa

Support Project to ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on illicit drug trafficking in West Africa

UNODC Regional Programme 2016-2020 

ECOWAS Drug Unit web portal