30 Jul, 2015


Niouma Koivogui, Regional Specialised Officer at Interpol’s Regional Bureau in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, believes West Africa is a region of transit and drug abuse as well as a major cocaine trafficking hub between South America and Europe.

In his address on Tuesday the 28th July, at the ECOWAS Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, at the opening of a Regional Workshop for Civil Society Organisations on illicit drug trafficking, organised crime and drug abuse in West Africa, Mr. Koivogui deplored the sharp increase in drug trafficking in the sub-region in recent years.

He said in 2013 alone, 51 arrests and 44 drug seizures were made in West Africa, including 72.55 kg of cocaine, 103.94 kg of cannabis, 1.51 kg of heroin and 98.37 kg of amphetamine-type stimulants at the Praia, Lomé, Dakar, Cotonou, Lagos, Bamako and Abidjan airports.

Mr. Koivogui welcomed the holding of this workshop which he said will help undertake a comprehensive assessment of the situation at regional level, analyse ECOWAS Member States’ efforts, and identify the gaps and needs with a view to properly fight against illicit drug trafficking, organised crime and drug abuse in West Africa.

Cheikh Toure, UNODC, Making statement during opening of   Workshop on ilicit Drug trafficking and Abuse in West Africa, 28th July   2015._9733

In agreement with Mr. Koivogui, the European Union representative, Philippe Peyredieu du Charlat, the Programme Officer of the ECOWAS Project at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Cheikh Ousmane Touré, and the Acting Secretary-General of the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), Auwal Musa Ibrahim, also lauded the meeting’s initiative.

They pointed out that the meeting was a demonstration of the ECOWAS Commission’s resolve to effectively fight illicit drug trafficking and organised crime, which represent a contributing factor to threats and insecurity in the Community.

They advocated for increased collaboration and cooperation with regional police chiefs’ organisations as well as regional and international organisations involved in the fight against these scourges.

Together with the necessary resources and investments to enable those responsible for combating the perpetrators do so on equal terms, this type of cooperation, and the resulting synergy and harmony of action, is the key to success, they suggested.

«Our goal is to work together with the structures here to prevent and fight against illicit drug trafficking, drug abuse and organised crime in West Africa», stated the ECOWAS Commissioner for Gender and Social Affairs, Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow, represented by the ECOWAS Director of Drug Control and Civil Society, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, expressed appreciation to the various structures for their continued support to ECOWAS in the fight against these scourges.

«Illicit drug laboratories, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, as well as the use of drugs and narcotic substances are responsible for other scourges such as terrorism, cross-border crimes, maritime piracy, extreme violence and insecurity», declared Dr. Sintiki.

These scourges, she said, affect «our families, societies, communities and region» and represent the major threats to security and public health in most ECOWAS Member States.

This calls for tremendous efforts at national, regional and international levels from Member States and Non-Governmental Organisations to mitigate the consequences of these threats.

It is worth noting that the 3-day workshop aims at mobilising Civil Society Organisations specialised in the fight against illicit drug trafficking, drug abuse and organised crime in West Africa to seek their active participation in the implementation of the ECOWAS Action Plan on drug trafficking (2016-2020) and support for activities undertaken by the regional organisation in the fight against drug trafficking.



Member States