The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it is working on strengthening national institutions to combat human right abuses and organised crime across the sub-region.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Finance, Mrs Halima Ahmed, said this at the virtual launch of a programme tagged “Organised Crime, the West African Response to Cybercrime, Money Laundering and Trafficking” on Friday in Abuja.
Ahmed said although COVID-19 pandemic had impacted negatively on the operations of the ECOWAS, the bloc had adjusted its mode of operations to suit the current realities.
In her submission, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Birgitt Ory, assured of the commitment of the Germans Government toward supporting the ECOWAS region in capacity building for security agents to tackle organised crime.
On her part, Ketil Karlsen, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, represented by the Head of Cooperation in the commission, Mr Kurt Cornelis, said the EU was willing to assist the sub-regional body through community support and strengthening of states’ institutions.
Similarly, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr Siga Jagne, said that the ECOWAS commission had trained over 100 core drugs prevention professionals to tackle drug abuse.
Jagne, however, noted that reports from partners had indicated that criminal groups had tendency to recruit more persons due to impact of COVID-19 on the sub-region.
She described the development as worrisome.
The EU and some partners are currently financing three programmes, aimed at supporting ECOWAS member states and Mauritania in reducing transnational organised crime.