By Teslim Olawore
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria and other West African nations require global cooperation and support to effectively deal with transnational crimes.
He said this ahead of the Munich Security Conference which will mark the 55th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS which is scheduled to hold today the 29th of June at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He said: “With the advent of globalization and new technologies bringing nations and peoples closer, and creating new opportunities of interaction and trade, come significant issues of security. We can see through the increasing number of evil actors, especially perpetrators of organized crime who profit from the illicit flows of assets out of the African continent.
“In recent years, the challenges posed by illicit outflows of our resources have increased, with attendant sophistication due to the fast pace of technological advancement. Illicit flows have further fuelled terrorism and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
“To effectively combat illicit flows, it is necessary that we collectively bring adequate resources and reinforce our capabilities to address transnational organized crime, as no government can do it alone.”
President Buhari, who is the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS, said further: “Our sub-region is not only a victim of Illicit financial flows but also of human trafficking, arms and drugs trade with dire consequences on the wellbeing of our people and on national security.
“It is common knowledge that illicit flows compound the problems of corruption and impede efforts towards sustainable economic growth. This is why I will continue to take decisive action to fight corruption and confront insecurity, especially in the border areas. In addition, relevant agencies have also been mandated to work towards strengthening regional and international partnership to address these threats.
“I am aware that one of the key facilitators of transnational organized crime including illicit flows is the porous nature of our borders. This is a major challenge to our region. In this context, we will continue to count on the support of our international partners for new technologies to effectively police our borders.
“Here in the West African sub-region, we have taken important steps to address some of our security concerns through improved political governance as contained in the relevant regional mechanisms of ECOWAS, which I currently have the privilege of chairing. I, therefore, welcome the Munich Security Conference for launching its Transnational Security Report in Abuja today.
“I am pleased that the launching of this report on the eve of the ECOWAS Summit, offers a unique opportunity to bring together decision-makers and experts to discuss new cooperation approaches to counter the challenges of illicit flows and other transnational crimes.
“I am confident that your deliberations will produce positive results which will guide us to strengthen our existing frameworks and strategies for durable solutions to our current cross-border security challenges. On this note, I wish you all very fruitful deliberations.”