By Chika Onyesi
The lack of familiarity and understanding of each other’s judicial systems and inefficient channels of communication have been blamed for the ineffective collaboration between Europe and Africa in curtailing the spate of trans border crimes and insecurity.
According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes ‘‘the West and Central African region is facing a multi-dimensional security crisis, terrorism, organized crime, maritime piracy, conflicts over resources and all forms of trafficking is at an all-time high’’
With a huge numbers of victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants into Europe coming from West Africa, the number of successful prosecutions against the criminal networks involved on both continents remains low.
The UN anti-crime agency says the need for governments; international organizations and judicial practitioners to devise innovative approaches to tackling the growing transnational crimes have become more urgent.
According to EUROJUST Vice-President Mr. Filippo Spiezia,”Cooperation is not an option”.
”Bilateral cooperation through the deployment of African magistrates in Europe, as well as regional cooperation through the WACAP or EUROJUST is a must in the fight against transnational organized crime’’.
Through its PROMIS project, the UNODC in 2018 deployed two Nigerian prosecutors to Spain and Italy to foster judicial cooperation among both continents.
The prosecutors according to UNODC have so far been instrumental in shortening communication channels, advancing the exchange of operational information, and following up on cases between Africa and Europe.
Speaking at a stakeholders summit hosted by the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, the UNODC’s Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Oliver Stolpe, observed that “the direct daily contact between the Nigerian, Italian and Spanish prosecutors has helped to build trust, the most critical ingredient for successful international cooperation in tackling transnational organized crime.”
An assessment of the progress made in international cooperation between participating countries also revealed that law enforcement authorities in Nigeria, Spain and Italy have been able to identify and arrest suspects, provide evidence in on-going prosecutions and develop new leads towards dismantling of trafficking and smuggling networks in all three jurisdictions.