Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Officials of the European Union (EU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the International Police (Interpol), yesterday met with the Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Geidam, to review the performance of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS).
Speaking while receiving the delegation in his office, the minister said WAPIS programme was of immense importance for the Nigeria Police and the nation.
He said Nigeria was at the forefront of addressing the complex challenges of transnational crime and terrorism which required efficient and reliable information-sharing mechanisms.
“The WAPIS system presents us with a unique opportunity to strengthen our law enforcement efforts and foster collaboration among West African countries.
“This visit marks a significant milestone in our journey towards implementing WAPIS here in Nigeria,” he said.
“By implementing the WAPIS, we will enhance our capacity to collect, store, analyse, and share crucial law enforcement data across borders.
This system will enable us to tackle the menace of organised crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorism more effectively,” he said.
Gaidam said the information sharing system “will empower our law enforcement agencies with the necessary tools to identify and apprehend criminals who operate across national boundaries, ensuring that they face the full force of justice.”
The minister said the WAPIS system will contribute to the creation of a safer and more secure West Africa while noting that it will foster trust and cooperation among regional partners, facilitating the exchange of information, best practices, and expertise.
“Together, we can establish a formidable network that transcends borders, allowing us to combat crime collectively and protect the well-being of our citizens.
“WAPIS in Nigeria would not have been possible without the steadfast support and collaboration of our esteemed partners. The ECOWAS Commission, the European Union, and Interpol have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to fostering regional security and supporting Nigeria’s efforts in this critical endeavor,” he said.
Earlier, Head of Politics, Press and Information Section European Union (ECOWAS/Nigeria) Zissimos Vergos, who led the delegation stated that the purpose of the visit was to review the specific objective of the program and examine the status regarding the development of WAPIS mechanism within Nigeria law enforcement landscape noting that there was the need for better coordination and dialogue among the security agencies and exchange of information within West Africa region.
In his remarks, the Head of the Regional Security Division (ECOWAS Commission) Colonel Abdourahmane Dieng, said the WAPIS was an ECOWAS programme and the need for political support towards the advancement of the process adding that they had identified some issues in the implementation of the programme in Nigeria and the need for the technical mission to support the team in Nigeria.