Efforts to improve drug interdiction at KIA
A project to improve drug interdiction and help check the use of the country as a transit point for illicit drug trafficking, organised crime and drug abuse has taken off at the Kotoka International Airport.
To this effect a newly established Airport Communication Project Office (AIRCOP) has been commissioned as a place where officials would be operating from to help check the use of the country as a transit point for drug trafficking at the Airport.
The project seeks to promote intelligence and information sharing between law enforcement agencies at the national and international level, as well as an intelligence-led approach to countering drug trafficking.
AIRCOP is in line with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Action plan to address the growing menace of illicit drug trafficking and the political declaration on combating terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and organised crime.
A Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF) has also been established to operate at the newly commissioned AIRCOP office at the Kotoka International Airport.
The taskforce is made up of 30 members drawn from the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB), the Ghana Immigration Service, the Customs Excise and Preventive Service, as well as Aviation Security.
All the 30 members of the taskforce were each presented with certificates after going through a two-week intensive course to equip them with the requisite knowledge and skills to carry out their mandate.
Speaking at the commissioning, the Charge D’ Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, Mr Judikael Regnaut, said organised crime was becoming increasingly a feature in Africa which called for a concerted effort in addressing the menace.
According to him, seven to 10 per cent of illicit flows in 2012 were connected to or in transit through Africa, which was in contrast to the three per cent global trade accounted for by the continent, hence the need to step up effort in addressing the menace.
He said the situation had created new centres of power which were gradually weakening the democratic gains of some countries.
The International Coordinator of the Airport Communication Project (AIRCOP) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNIDOC), Mr Marc Vanhaulle, called for greater collaboration among countries in the West African sub-region to help combat drug trafficking.
‘Collaboration is very critical if the menace of transnational organised crime, illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse in West Africa is to addressed,’ he said.
Mr Marc Vanhaulle who was speaking to the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the opening of the newly refurbished project Office for AIRCOP at the Kotoka International Airport said the overall objective of AIRCOP is to build drug-interdiction capacities at international airports in Africa, Latin America and The Caribbean.
By Fred Dzakpata/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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