Molly Kilete, Abuja
INTERPOL experts are meeting in Abuja to brainstorm on violent crimes like terrorism, violent extremism, kidnapping, arms smuggling and illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons – a challenge – that is bedeviling Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
The week-long conference which is taking place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, would also focus on cybercrime, cattle rustling, human trafficking, maritime insecurity, herders and farmers conflict amongst other violent crimes in Nigeria, the Sahel region and others in countries in Africa.
The conference which is being attended by members of the National Central Bureau (NCB) focal officers from the 194 INTERPOL-member countries, security experts from across the globe as well as other safety agencies in Nigeria has the theme “For a Safer World.”
The security agencies attending include the NDLEA, EFCC, NIS, NCS, NAPTIP and NAFDAC; they will be fine-tuning the existing working partnerships amongst security organisations within and outside Nigeria with a view to improving the security situation in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
In his address on the occasion, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, while noting that the Nigeria Police was hosting the conference for the first time, said the conference was coming at a time the nation, sub-region, and the international community were faced with complex, transnational, and technology-driven security threats.
Adamu who said Nigeria INTERPOL NCB maintains criminal databases, pointed out that, that has been supporting the law-enforcement community in diverse ways especially in the areas of criminal information processing and sharing, global monitoring, and apprehension of criminal elements.
He further stated that the conference would also afford participants the opportunity to present a unique opportunity for all strategic security actors and stakeholders within and beyond the country to interact, discuss, build a veritable professional network and evolve workable strategies within the context of the INTERPOL’s mandate towards tackling the security threats in a coordinated and sustainable manner.
According to him, “the conference is coming at this time when the nation, sub-region, and the international community are faced with complex, transnational, and technology-driven security threats. Nigeria INTERPOL Week presents a unique opportunity for all strategic security actors and stakeholders within and beyond the country to interact, discuss, build veritable professional network and evolve workable strategies within the context of the INTERPOL’s mandate towards tackling the security threats in a coordinated and sustainable manner.
“Over the years, the membership of the organisation has grown from a committee of the original 24 chiefs of police to a worldwide body comprising of 194 member states. INTERPOL’s vision is ‘Connecting Police for a Safer World.’ It is from this that the theme of the 1st Nigeria INTERPOL Week which is “For a Safer World,” was coined.
“In Nigeria, INTERPOL has been supporting the law-enforcement community in diverse ways particularly, in relation to criminal information processing and sharing, and global monitoring and apprehension of criminal elements. The Nigeria INTERPOL NCB maintains criminal databases in this regard. These include the I24/7 database which is currently being expanded under the Project Gemni with support of the American Government and West African Police Information System (WAPIS) Criminal Data Base which is being supported by the European Union.
“These projects are supporting our efforts towards combating cybercrimes, drugs and human trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, armed robbery, car-jacking, fraud, environmental crimes, kidnapping for ransom, violent extremism, and terrorism.
“Much as the INTERPOL framework has been helpful in strengthening partnerships among national law enforcement agencies towards addressing the global security question, the issue of border security and management remains a constant threat. In this regard, the signing of the African Free Trade Agreement within the ECOWAS framework could present new sets of security threats in the West African Sub-Region for which we need to step up our collaborative efforts, devise new strategies and build enduring partnerships to contain. It is our expectation that this concern shall form part of our discourse during this 2019 INTERPOL Week.”