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11 October 2011

High-level West African delegation updated on anti-crime initiatives during INTERPOL visit

LYON, France – Senior officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been updated on a series of INTERPOL initiatives aimed at supporting law enforcement throughout the region.

Mrs Carmelita Pires Special Adviser to the President of the ECOWAS, Dr Abdel Fatau Musah Director of External Relations and Dr Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director of Gender, Youth, Sports, Civil Society, Employment and Drug Control, met today with INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble and other senior officials during their visit to the world police body’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.

Among the discussions was a proposed partnering between ECOWAS and INTERPOL to implement the ECOWAS Plan of Action on Drugs and building capacity for law enforcement across the West Africa region, building on the existing cooperation agreement between the two organizations

The ECOWAS delegation also indicated that there was a definite need for INTERPOL to support the creation of a coordination unit within ECOWAS for all law enforcement-related initiatives and ECOWAS pledged to support operations to combat drug trafficking in the region INTERPOL strongly supported the need for joint INTERPOL cross border operations with ECOWAS member countries to be implemented in the future

INTERPOL also briefed the delegation on the development of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) a joint INTERPOL/ECOWAS/European Union project which will facilitate the collection, centralization, management, sharing and analysis of police information on a national, regional and global level to more effectively tackle crime areas such as drug trafficking, illegal immigration, money laundering and weapons trafficking in West Africa.

Endorsed by the West African Police Chiefs Committee and the ECOWAS Ministers, the WAPIS project, funded by the EU, would support all 15 ECOWAS countries - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.