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West African Police Information System, WAPIS

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By Mercy Kelani

Nigeria sets to ensure resilience of its law enforcement agencies through WAPIS.

The Nigerian government has shown its readiness to begin implementation of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) across the nation for enhancement of security. This development was revealed by the Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Gaidam, who said that WAPIS will provide the country with a rare opportunity to make its law enforcement agencies resilient, while enabling increased partnership amongst countries in West Africa. This development was declared by the Minister, Mr. Gaidam, during the visit.

Declaration of the System was made during the visit of the European Union, ECOWAS, and INTERPOL delegation, chaired by the Head of Politics, Press and Information Section European Union (ECOWAS/Nigeria), Zissimos Vergos, to the Ministry Headquarters in Abuja. In his statement, the Head of the visit said that the visit signifies an important achievement in the journey of Nigeria towards the implementation of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) in the West Africa’s Federal Republic of Nigeria.

WAPIS would help combat challenges from organized crime.

Through the implementation of the WAPIS, Nigeria will be able to ensure enhancement of the country’s capacity for collection, storage, analysis and sharing of essential law enforcement data across borders. Also, through the system, the country would be able to combat the challenges that arise from organized crime, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and terrorism more effectively than ever before. Gaidam added that it is essential to know Nigeria stand in tackling menaces affecting the country.

Currently, Nigeria is at the front line of tackling rigid challenges of transnational terrorism and crime, and the significant need for reliable and efficient mechanisms of information exchange is always being emphasized. According to the Minister of Police Affairs, the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) would aid the empowerment of Nigerian law enforcement agencies with the required tools for identification and apprehension of criminals who carry out operations across national boundaries, while making sure that they face justice.

It will also enhance cooperation and trust among regional partners.

Furthermore, the Minister stated that the WAPIS system will make contributions to the establishment of a more secure and safer West Africa. It will also enhance cooperation and trust among regional partners of West Africa, ensuring facilitation of the exchange of information, expertise, and best practices. With cooperation, West Africa can achieve the establishment of a formidable network that cuts across borders, permitting this part of Africa to collectively fight crime and safeguard the well-being of citizens of West Africa.

Without the partnership and committed support of the esteemed partners of West Africa, it would have been impossible to establish WAPIS in Nigeria. The ECOWAS Commission, INTERPOL, and the European Union have shown their wholehearted commitment to enabling regional security and supporting the efforts of Nigeria in the achievement of this goal. Zissimos Vergos asserted that the aim of the visit was to review the actual objective of the initiative. It was also for an examination of the system’s development mechanism in the Nigerian law enforcement landscape.

There are some issues in implementing the programme in Nigeria.

Additionally, Vergos affirmed that the need for dialogue and better coordination among the security agencies and sharing of information in the West African region is of utmost importance. The Head of the Regional Security Division ECOWAS Commission, Colonel Abdourahmane Dieng, stated that WAPIS is an initiative of ECOWAS, therefore, there is a need for political support to boost the process. However, he asserted that there have been identification of some issues in implementing the programme in Nigeria and the required support of the technical mission to assist the Nigerian team.

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