Posted by Joshua Odeyemi | 17 April 2019 | 1,252 times
The Nigerian government and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS).
The WAPIS is targeted at improving the capacity of security agencies in the region to combat criminal activities.
Speaking at the MoU signing event in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahaman Dambazau, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government, said the establishment of WAPIS was long overdue.
“This event is in recognition of a process in establishing the legal framework governing the implementation of WAPIS programme in Nigeria which includes the establishment of a National Electronic Police Information System, shared by the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria.
“The WAPIS programme’s overall objective is to strengthen information exchange and coordination among West Africa’s law enforcement authorities that will result in bolstering information exchange, identifying crime patterns, encouraging best practices and developing an all-inclusive operational mechanism capable of neutralizing identified and emerging security threats in the sub-region,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Secretary General of the INTERPOL, Jurgen Stock, who said the signing of the agreement was a bold step forward in the collective fight against crime, stressed that the security landscape in West Africa was a complex one.
“It is where multiple transnational criminal dynamics come to converge and feed off each other,” he added.
He expressed worries that criminal networks in narcotics, weapon and migrants smuggling among others were taking advantage of lack of information sharing system by security agencies in the region to carry out their activities unhindered.
While commending the West African states for coming together to respond to the threats of criminals in the region, Stock said collective will was needed to ensure the success of the WAPIS programme.
He said WAPIS will allow West African countries to have access to the global I24/7 communication network.
“Increase criminal data available to law enforcement agencies within Africa and wider global police network is at the centre of our vision. Ultimately, the WAPIS programme will bring critical information closer to the front line police officers across West Africa.
“It will provide a national platform for law enforcement agencies in the region to register, preserve, check and analyse their police data in order to foster investigative and border management efforts.
“Information is the lifeblood of law enforcement and the WAPIS programme will help police on the ground across the region and the global police community to have access to the vital data they need and when they need it.
“This is why the implementation of WAPIS is important in the security of Nigeria, West Africa and ultimately, each of the INTERPOL’s 194 member countries,” Stock stressed.
On his part, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Gen. Francis Behanzin, said the body had done all the needful technically and politically to ensure that the programme works. (Daily Trust)
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