I-G tasks regional police chiefs on collaboration to tackle insecurity

IGP Egbetokun with other participants at the event in Abuja.

By Mark Longyen

The Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has called on West African police chiefs to collaborate and device innovative ways to tackle emerging complex security challenges facing the ECOWAS bloc.

Egbetokun made this known at a meeting of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) technical sub-committee on training and operations in Abuja.

He said that the West African subregion had in recent times been confronted with complex national security challenges, which had been accentuating transnational crimes.

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“The activities of these cybercriminals has imposed on us all the additional burden of developing our national security capacity to dominate the cyberspace and deny criminals the liberty to operate in our overriding national and regional security interests.

“The differences in legal frameworks and legislative systems continue to hinder effective law enforcement operations and criminal justice delivery initiatives among member states.

“Our security reality continually deepens the need to commit to regional collaboration, towards dissecting the pattern and trend of crimes on the one hand, and towards pulling together and supporting each other in bridging our national security gaps,” he said.

According to him, these challenges had been posing significant threats to the national security order of member states, as well as regional peace and social economic profile.

Egbetokun enumerated such crimes to include traditional crimes of stealing, cross border robberies, human goods, drugs trafficking, small arms and light weapons smuggling, banditry, terrorism, as well as other non-state actors.

He further said that cybercrime and cyber enabled crimes were now emerging as bigger challenges to the subregion’s security.

The I-G noted that a critical hindrance to effective regional law enforcement operations and criminal justice delivery initiatives was the differences in legal frameworks and legislative systems among member states.

“The situation calls for a collective review of the multivarious legal framework and regulates law enforcement and criminal justice delivery system.

“It also calls for a stronger operational partnership that will encourage the evolution of workable protocol that will engender stronger operational integration amongst security forces and border management agencies within the sub region,” Egbetokun said.

Also speaking, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Amb. Abdel-Fatah Musa, said that the fast evolution of information technology had further sophisticated the platforms and tactics used by criminal networks against targets.

Represented by Dr Abdourahmane Dieng, the Permanent Secretary, WAPCCO, Musa said that crime and criminality continued to pose a big threat to lives and property in the subregion, thereby creating an unconditional environment for meaningful development.

The Commissioner said that security and law enforcement agents in the region had for so many years focused on territorial, aerial and maritime borders as key points for close surveillance against crime.

“However, with the dynamic availability and capacity of the cyberspace, which transcends beyond geographical borders, criminality has become more efficient, faster and safer for criminals to execute.

“Therefore, our mandate is to increase our capacity on the fight against transitional border crime of all forms which include employing training and operational strategies.

“The illicit traffic and proliferation of small arms and light weapons, human smuggling activities, armed robbery, illicit migration, child trafficking and labor, kidnapping, abduction, maritime piracy are but a few of the main highlights trending in our region,” Musah said.

He therefore urged participants to share, inform, exchange and discuss issues and activities surrounding training and operations in their respective member states with a view to coming up with joint strategies on security personnel’s training and operations.

The Director, Interpol Regional Bureau, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Mme Paule Ouedrago, said the transnational dimension of the crimes required collaboration between countries, adding that the Regional Office would support the efforts through international police cooperation.

She called for the strengthening of collaboration between the Permanent Secretariat of the Committee of Police Chiefs and the Interpol Regional Office in Abidjan in the organization and implementation of police training and operations.

“This is how, together, we will succeed in dismantling and disrupting the criminal networks that undermine the tireless development efforts,”Ouedrago added.(NAN)

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