The President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Brou, on Wednesday, called for a collective approach by members-countries to fight transnational crimes in West Africa.
Brou made the call at the 16 Annual General Meeting of West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) and Meeting of the Forum of Ministers in charge of Security in Abuja.
He was represented by ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Gen. Francis Behanzin.
He said that in spite of the collaboration among member-countries, attacks by terrorists still persisted in the region.
“Terrorists are willing to do anything because they are fearless. They have unfailing determination to carry out their acts.
“We will continue to resist by putting measures, including treaties in place to tackle the menace,’’ he said.
The president said that terrorists collaborate with drug and arms traffickers to perpetuate their acts, adding they also engage in money laundering.
He said that the commission still rely on the resilience of the heads of state in the region to fight transnational crimes.
“Our hope still remain on the determination of our heads of state and security chiefs to curb transnational crimes and local threats,’’ he said.
On his part, Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, attributed transnational crimes to internal and external migration and territorial borders crisis within the sub-region.
Dambazau, who was represented by an official of the ministry, Mrs Georgina Ehuriah, urged the participants to share their experiences from their various countries and possible areas of support and collaboration.
“The safety of the West African Sub-region is a joint responsibility; so, if this is to be achieved, give it our all,’’ he said.
Also, the acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, urged participants to re-strategise and find a common ground to cooperate and prevent movement of criminals in the region.
“We must work out how intelligence can be shared and how joint operations can be carried out,’’ he said.
The IGP said that the meeting was aimed at synergising activities of police and security agencies in their various countries.
Countries in attendance were Bukina Faso, Cape Verde, Benin Republic, Cote I`Voire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Nigeria.
The three-day meeting is aimed at addressing transnational crimes, especially terrorism, violent extremism, kidnapping, illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, maritime security, herders and farmers’ conflict among others.
Access Bank secures final approval for Kenyan Transnational Bank acquisition
Access Bank Plc says it has secured final approvals of all relevant regulatory authorities in Kenya for the acquisition of Kenya-based Transnational Bank Plc (TNB).
The bank said this in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) signed by its Company Secretary, Mr Sunday Ekwochi.
Nigerian News Agency reports that the bank had on Oct. 28, 2019 informed the NSE that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had granted its ‘no objection’ to the bank’s proposed acquisition of majority equity stake in TNB.
“We are pleased to announce that the bank has now secured the final approvals of all relevant regulatory authorities in Kenya in respect of the acquisition.
“The acquisition is in line with the bank’s strategic objective of becoming Africa’s gateway to the world and ties into its strategy to establish footprints in key African markets.’’
The bank added that the acquisition would further complement its franchise in Rwanda, Congo DRC and Zambia.
It noted that “TNB is a medium-sized commercial bank with great focus on the agricultural sector and significant retail footprints.’’
Mr Hebert Wigwe, the bank’s Group Managing Director, was quoted by the statement as saying the “acquisition aligns with its strategy of becoming Africa’s gateway to the world.
“We will leverage our presence in key payment corridors, strong partnerships in non-presence countries, robust technology platform as well as world-class risk management to provide cutting edge financial solutions to our clients.
“We will build on TNB’s existing expertise in agricultural financing and deploy our resources to optimise other business segments.
“We are committed to supporting the growth and development of our host community in line with our sustainability ethos and are certain that this acquisition will deliver great value to our stakeholders.
“Following the receipt of regulatory approvals, we are very confident that the transaction will be completed shortly,’’ Wigwe said.
Edited by: Ese E. Ekama
AFRIPOL calls for more effort against transnational organised crime, terrorism in Africa
The African Union (AU) Mechanism for police cooperation (AFRIPOL) has called for robust efforts of AU member states in the fight against transnational organised crime and terrorism.
AU says this will enhance cooperation among the member states police agencies.
According to an AU statement on Friday, the AU made the plea at the first AFRIPOL Secretariat meeting for the Heads of its National Liaison Offices, which has been held in Algeria’s capital Algiers from Nov. 26 to Nov. 28.
The meeting enabled the clarification of the roles and responsibilities of the AFRIPOL National Liaison Offices in facilitating the implementation of AFRIPOL activities at national level.
Khelifa Ounissi, the Director-General for National Security of Algeria and president of the AFRIPOL General Assembly officially opened the meeting and underlined on the need to enhance police cooperation on the African continent.
He stressed on the need to empower police agencies in the continent through training and capacity building in order to equip them with skills to effectively fight transnational organised crime and terrorism, which are major security challenges to the continent.
Participants received an update on the AFRIPOL Five-year strategic work plan (2020 to 2024) and the Regulations of the African Police Communication System, as adopted by the Third General Assembly of AFRIPOL that was held in Algiers from 2 to 3 Oct. 2019.
The Executive Director of the AFRIPOL Secretariat, Tarek Sharif, highlighted the role that AFRIPOL is expected to play in enhancing cooperation among the police agencies in the continent in the fight against transnational organised crime and terrorism.
Participants came up with concrete recommendations on improving communication and sharing of information and data at national, regional and international levels, and on modalities for coordinated and targeted capacity building.
The meeting emphasised that the AFRIPOL Secretariat would continue to work with partners to support the police agencies of the member states on enhanced cooperation in combating transnational organised crime and terrorism.
The AFRIPOL is an independent mechanism for police cooperation for AU member states, with main objective of establishing a framework for police cooperation at the strategic, operational and tactical levels between member states police institutions.
Edited & Vetted By: Hadiza Mohammed/Sadiya Hamza
3-day Transnational Ventures Acceleration Programme opens in Unilag
The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, says collaborations with foreign counterparts would rapidly drive entrepreneurial development among students as well as improve cordial relationships among nations.
Ogundipe made the assertion at the opening of a three-day Transnational Ventures Acceleration Programme, on Thursday in Lagos.
The programme organised by the university in collaboration with the Carleton University, Canada, was basically for business startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The programme aims at transforming businesses from local to transnational companies, networking with investors and expansion into Canada and the U.S., among other benefits.
According to Ogundipe, since assumption of office as the 12th Vice Chancellor of the institution, he set out to resuscitate all moribund memorandum of understanding of the institution with international partners.
“The internalisation agenda enables the university to play a strategic as growth catalyzer for startups and SMEs through the provision of the theoretical and practical know-how for scaling their businesses early, rapidly and securely,” he said.
The Professor of Botany added that the programme was borne out of insightful discussions with scholars of international repute Prof. Tony Bailetti and the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Mr Adeyinka Asekun.
“New ideas were proposed that will extend knowledge that can leapfrog the Nigerian economy and one of such ideas is the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit.
“Again, as part of ensuring that all possible opportunities are harnessed, the partnership between Carleton University and our university has also set up the TVAP as follow up to the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit.
“This programme will give startups and SMEs in both countries the opportunity to tap into the know-how and international networking that make it possible to scale their businesses internationally.
“Unilag is strong on entrepreneurship and innovation, and we are committed to delivering this as a compliment to national economic development,” Ogundipe said.
He added that the institution would continue to aspire to meet the motive for which it was established.
The vice chancellor added that proactive steps were being taken to develop entrepreneurial skills among students and expose them to international best practices.
Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, Amb. Adeyinka Asekun, said that Nigeria was blessed with enterprising persons who should be encouraged to do their businesses in a well-structured manner.
“The more the people you have that are able to create businesses and jobs, the less the people you have that are dependent on the state looking for paid employment.
“We need to encourage persons who will make things happen on their own through such collaborations that will develop them rapidly and ensure they have access to international markets, investors and collaborators.
“It programmes will also give persons the required tools and exposure. It is an exchange programme where Nigeria gets to learn from Canada and vice versa.
“Even though we are a developing country, there is a lot they can learn from us; it also deepens the relationship between the two countries,” he said.
Prof. Bailetti of the Carleton University, Canada, and the facilitator of the three-day programme, said that the general aim of the collaboration was to make the world a better place.
“Both countries will benefit more when we understand each other better and make the world a better place.
“When we do not understand each other, there is little or nothing we gain as individual countries.
“I feel there is a lot to gain in terms of existing opportunities when we understand and know each other better,” he said
NAN reports that a team of Canadian entrepreneurs attended the occasion.
IFC, AMC to sell 14.1% stake in Ecobank Transnational
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and its Asset Management Company have reached advanced discussions to sell equity holding in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI).
The company said that IFC and the Asset Management Company (AMC) had entered into a share purchase agreement with Dutch investment firm, Arise BV for the sale of their circa 14.1 per cent stake in ETI.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ETI Lome-based parent company of the Ecobank Group, announced a material information relating to its ownership structure in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
According to the statement, completion of the transaction is expected in the coming months, subject to due diligence, internal and regulatory approvals.
It said that IFC and ETI had worked together since 1993 to broaden access to finance, enhance trade liquidity and strengthen Ecobank.
“Since 2009, IFC and the funds managed by the IFC Asset Management Company, through their investments, have been supporting Ecobank’s growth strategy across Africa in building a pre-eminent banking franchise,” it said.
NAN reports that Arise BV is a leading equity investor in financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a combined asset value in excess of 700 million dollars.
Its mandate is to capitalise and stimulate growth across all financial services sub-sectors within sub-Saharan Africa.
Dambazau calls for collaboration, cooperation to tackle transnational crimes
The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, has called for more collaboration and cooperation to defeat the insurgents in the West African Sub-region.
Dambazau made the call at the opening of the 16 Annual General Meeting of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) and Forum of Ministers in charge of Security on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister said that the Federal Government was committed to developing responsive security agencies that are equipped, proactive and ready to face challenges by using international best practices.
According to the minister, emphasis is placed on training and re-training of as a means of repositioning the entire security apparatus to secure the lives and property of the citizens and visitors.
Dambazau said that the ministry would continue to provide the needed leadership in terms of policy direction and intervention in the area of infrastructure for security agencies in the country.
The minister said that the fight against transnational crimes was not that of the security agencies alone.
Earlier, the Chairman of WAPCCO and Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, the meeting was designed to undertake periodic review of regional security issues.
He said that it was also aimed at evolving strategies and frameworks geared towards combating various trans-border crimes including terrorism among others.
Adamu added that the meeting was to also identify ways and means for strengthening inter-regional collaboration with other sub-regions.
The chairman said that the meeting would present a veritable platform for member countries to review the level of implementation of recommendations at previous meetings.
He said that all chiefs of police in the region were expected to develop workable mechanisms hinged on robust security exchange and collaboration to further identify, nuetralise and dismantle criminal gangs and recover illicit wealth.
The police boss called for a review of the status of WAPCCO within the ECOWAS secretariat, adding that this would guarantee the regularity of WAPCCO`s meetings and enhance the effectiveness of the committee.
He said that the Nigeria Police identified with the objectives of the committee and the principle of regional collaboration to address the threat of transnational crimes.
Also speaking, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said that the security of the region was linked to its development and prosperity.
He was represented by the ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Gen. Francis Behanzin.
The president urged member countries to discuss and proffer solutions to the damages organised crimes had caused in the region.
“The fight against organised crimes cannot be won by security chiefs alone but with the support and cooperation of all,“ he said.
He noted that the cooperation of the region with INTERPOL has been rewarding in the fight against transnational crimes.
Brou said that the commission would not leave any stone unturned to support the fight against organised crimes in the region.
Countries in attendance at the meeting are: Bukina Faso, Cape Verde, Benin Republic, Cote I` Voire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guniea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierras Leone, Togo and Nigeria.
The three-day meeting aimed at addressing transnational crimes, especially terrorism, violent extremism, kidnapping, illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, maritime security, herders and farmers’ conflict amongst others.
I-G to host ECOWAS police, security chiefs in Abuja over transnational crimes
The Acting Inspector-General (I-G) of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, will host West African Police and Security Chiefs to a meeting in Abuja from May 14 to May 16 in a bid to find sustainable solutions to transnational crimes.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting is being organised under the auspices of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO).
Force Spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, said in a statement on Monday that INTERPOL’s Secretary General, representatives of African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation and members of the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa would be in attendance.
Also expected at the meeting are representatives of the Committee of Chiefs of Police from Central Africa among other key Security Stakeholders.
He said that the meeting would provide an opportunity for all security chiefs across West Africa to re-commit themselves to the fight against cross-country crimes.
“It is to collaborate more effectively toward tackling trans-border crimes and other regional security threats,” he said.
WAPCCO is a structure under ECOWAS designed to bring together West African member states’ police chiefs to exchange and share intelligence.
The structure also provides platform for collaboration in the fight against criminality and security threats in West Africa.
Maritime Criminalities: Defence Minister calls for transnational effort in GoG
Maritime Criminalities: Defence Minister calls for transnational effort in GoG
Lagos, March 22, 2019 The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, on Friday called for transnational combat against maritime criminalities in the Gulf of Guinea.
Speaking at the closing of the sea exercise Obangame Express held at Naval Dockyard, Lagos, Dan-Ali said maritime illegalities had become transnational and evolved beyond the scope and capability of one nation to combat.
He was represented by the Director Navy, Ministry of Defence, Mr Patrick Ekawu.
“The scourge of various forms of illegalities such as sea robbery, piracy, crude oil theft, poaching human and illicit trafficking of weapons and drugs, among others, constitute serious challenges to the development of the countries in our region.
“One commonality amongst these maritime threats is that they have become transnational and have evolved beyond the scope and capability of one nation to combat.
“For most of the Gulf of Guinea Navies and Coast Guards, therefore, one of the major implications of the emerging security equation is the increasing demand for maritime policing functions,” he said.
According to him, maritime illegalities constitute serious challenges to the development of the countries in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) region.
He said a huge capability gap had emerged in the past decades amongst GOG navies and coast guards in the efficient discharge of these roles.
“The situation increasingly gave rise to the need for greater international collaboration as well as inter-agency cooperation across various national capabilities and policy levels.
“It is against this background that Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESSS has remained relevant in developing the capabilities of the various navies and coast guards in the GOG to combat maritime security challenges within their maritime domain,” he said.
The minister commended the navies of the Kingdom of Morocco, Portugal, United States and other regional navies that had dispatched warships and personnel to participate in the sea exercise, which involved multiple simulated maritime scenarios and responses.
“I also commend our US partners for the initiative to bring heads of navies and coast guards from nations within the GOG and beyond together for the exercise,” he said.
The Commander, U.S Naval Forces Africa, Admiral James Foggo, while speaking with journalists, said that there had always been incredible progress each year of the exercise.
“This year was even more difficult. We had sniffer dogs for anti-drug trafficking simulations.
“We had Special Boats Services (SBS) from the Nigerian Navy. For the first time, we had the Maritime Domain Awareness Centre as part of the exercise.
“We are enthusiastic about success recorded in the past nine years as we look forward to the 10th year. I give this year’s exercise an A+.
“Firstly, we had 33 countries, 2,500 participants from navies and coastguards from GoG nations, Europe, Cape Verde and North America all coming to participate in maritime domain security.
“In the last couple of weeks, we have had 85 series of exercises, 95 ships some big as NNS THUNDER and others as small as patrol crafts,” he said.
He also said there were 12 aircrafts which participated and was providing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).
“We did so many exercises, some started off slow and easy till it got very hard like vertical assault at sea: that is training with risk. We will take the lessons learnt and implement in next one,” he said.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ette Ibas, in his address, said the exercise showcased the use and importance of communication among the nations in the respective maritime zones, especially in areas of maritime interdiction operations.
“It also created a platform for the navy to practice the operationalization of the Harmonized Standard Operation Procedures for arrest, detention and prosecution of criminal vessel in our waters.
“The exercise of the task elements in anti piracy, hostage rescue operations and tactical fleet manoeuvres in particular are most rewarding.
“In all of these, the navy is humbled by the enthusiasm of the participating navies from GoG States, albeit at other simultaneous theatres of the exercise and other allied navies of the US, Portugal and Morocco towards addressing prevalent threats in Nigeria maritime domain and in GoG as a whole,” he said.
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Iran passes bill to join UN anti-transnational crime resolution
Iranian Majlis (parliament) passed a bill to join the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime, local media reported on Thursday.
“In an open session on Wednesday, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the bill that had been submitted to Majlis about four years ago,’’ Financial Tribune reported.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s representative to Majlis supported the bill, calling it “one of the unavoidable necessities of the country at present.”
Adopted by the UN General Assembly on Nov. 15, 2000, and coming into force on Sept. 29, 2003, the resolution is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organised crime.
Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye/Felix Ajide
Kenya seeks more cooperation to fight transnational crimes
Kenya plans to enhance its fight against transnational crimes through better collaboration with international partners, a judiciary official on Wednesday said.
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu told a regional justice forum in Nairobi that in spite significant steps to improve its legislative and regulatory framework, Kenya remains vulnerable to transnational crimes.
‘`We are seeking to sign more cooperation agreements with global partners so as to curb transnational crime by both domestic and foreign organised criminal entities,” Mwilu said at a conference on human trafficking and international organised crimes.
The event brought over 100 local and international jurists, senior government officials to discuss causes of and responses to transnational crimes.
“We are increasing our capacity to deal with transnational crimes when they are brought before courts by training judges and judicial officers in this area,” Mwilu said.
She noted that Kenya’s increasingly connected and sophisticated financial service industry has a made it a hub for transnational crime.
“The large capital inflows, many illicit, from across this conflict-affected region, make the challenge of international money laundering and financial fraud a real issue,” Mwilu added.
The deputy chief justice said Kenya would remain steadfast in its resolve to bring to justice those involved in transnational crimes, and in addressing the root causes and conditions that enable them.
Weak law enforcement, corruption and inadequate sanctions and legislation have been identified as among the key factors that facilitate international organised crimes.
Edited by: Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide
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- Post-COVID-19: Experts call for review of Bilateral Air Services Agreement
- Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic reopen borders to each other
- Palestinian official says ending Israeli occupation is int’l responsibility
- One killed in Moscow apartment fire
- COVID-19: Ekiti LG chair urges youths to observe physical distancing
- Online competition will help Nigerian players prepare for future scrabble events, Jighere says
- Coronavirus epidemic “under control” in France: gov’t advisor
- OPEC+ set for talks on extending oil reduction deal on Saturday
- Post-COVID-19: Experts call for review of Bilateral Air Services Agreement
- COVID-19 cases continue surging in South Asia as India reports highest daily spike of new cases
- Portuguese PM announces resumption of air traffic from June 15
- Commentary: Make post-pandemic recovery greener
- Why rape cases are increasing-Ex-NBA chairman
- Kuwait records 30,644 COVID-19 cases, 244 deaths
- Feature: Pets abandoned in Cairo amid COVID-19 spread
- Gov Oyetola presents 13 Jeeps to High Court Judges
- Gas station fire kills 1, injures 2 in southern Vietnam
- Bayelsa records 3rd COVID-19 death
- Tokyo exec says make Games decision in spring: Kyodo
- Floods kill 29, affect over 1 mln others in Somalia: UN
- Tennis star Gauff demands change amid protests over Floyd’s death
- Man in court for allegedly swindling businesswoman of N5m