Abuja, Nigeria, May 26, 2021. The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria represented by the Minister of Police Affairs Mr. Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi has inaugurated the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) Data Centre in Abuja on the 26th of May 2021 at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters.
Opening the Inauguration ceremony, the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba expressed that “the operation of the WAPIS Programme at this critical period of our National/regional security challenges will graciously enrich the Nigeria Police Force in her efforts to combat organized and transnational crimes. The Programme which intends to boast information sharing among the West African States will in no small measure stimulate break-through and further provide a platform for coordinated approach to crime detection, prevention, persecution, rehabilitation as well as projection”.
The Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Madam Finda Koroma, expressed the low level of information and Data exchange within the region to effectively fight against organized crime and terrorism, and she recalled the importance of the WAPIS program which has been fully integrated into the ECOWAS action plan against terrorism 2020-2024. Madam Koroma also pleaded for the extension of the program for two additional years in order to allow Nigeria and other ECOWAS member states to benefit from this important program.
Recognizing the political and operational involvement of the Nigerian government, the Executive Director of INTERPOL Mr. Carl Alexandre reminded that without effective police information exchange within the region, as well as between the region and the rest of the world, no enforcement strategy can effectively tackle the threats of terrorism and organized crime.
The Deputy Head of Mission of the EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Alexandre Borges Gomes stressed that “the WAPIS programme is a clear illustration of the wish of like-minded partners like Nigeria, the EU, ECOWAS and INTERPOL to work closely together to address transnational crime.”
Concluding the remarks, the Minister of Police Affairs Mr. Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi stated: thus “Permit me to at this point express my sincere gratitude to all the key players in this pro-ject – INTERPOL, ECOWAS and indeed the European Union, whose funding has made it possible for Member countries to benefit from this remarkable programme aimed at combating crime”.
The WAPIS Centre is a Data Collection and Registration Centre that will be responsible for the operationalization of the WAPIS System in Nigeria. This Centre will serve as a catalyst for security integration and interagency collaboration in the country, by bringing together all the security apparatus into the process of collection, storage and sharing of criminal data at national, regional and global level through INTERPOL I-24/7 channel. The WAPIS Centre will promote the sharing of criminal data in real time, enhancing, inter-alia the regional fight against organized crime and terrorism. Thereby supporting the investigation of major crimes and the frontline officers in dealing with the movement of persons and goods at the border crossing points.
Funded by the European Union under the aegis of the ECOWAS Commission, the WAPIS Programme works toward the creation of national police data systems in each ECOWAS Member States, Mauritania and Chad together with the development of a regional platform for stronger police data exchange.