Abuja - The West African Police Information System (WAPIS) Programme Office has been launched in Abuja.
It is part of ongoing collaborative efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), International Criminal Investigation Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the European Union (EU) to fight transnational organized crime in the region.
The WAPIS Office, which is located in the premises of the ECOWAS Commission’s Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, will serve the 15 ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, with Benin, Ghana, Niger, Mali and Mauritania the five pilot countries.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, while declaring the office open for operations, said one of the main challenges in fighting transnational organized criminality is inaccurate statistics and data on reported occurrences.
“The programme is designed to build the capacity of Member States through the setting up of databases for information sharing and exchange on issues relating to criminality at national and regional levels, and the possibility of an inflow and outflow of the information at global levels through INTERPOL tools,” she said.
She added, “The dynamics of globalization has made the fight against transnational criminality more challenging for law enforcement agents around the world, especially in our region where we have limited human and technical capacities to effectively control our large frontiers.”
Special Representative of INTERPOL to the EU, Pierre Reuland, said WAPIS was about vision and the people.
“The Police Chiefs of the region had the vision and we, at INTERPOL, have had the luck to have found true partners at ECOWAS, the European Union and in the five pilot countries of the WAPIS Programme,” he added.
– CAJ News