1 February 2013

Nigeria: Annan Inaugurates Commission On Drug Trafficking

Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, will today inaugurate a foremost new initiative to tackle the growing threat from illegal drug trafficking in West Africa.

The initiative, West Africa Commission on the Impact of Drugs on Governance, Security and Development (WACD), will be inaugurated at the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Centre in Accra, Ghana.

A statement issued yesterday disclosed that the commission was established in response to the dramatic surge in drug trafficking in the sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade.

According to the UN office on Drugs and Crime stated that, "illegal drug trafficking is linked to criminal activities including terrorism in the region and is fuelling increased local consumption of illegal drugs."

According to the statement, "WACD was established by the Kofi Annan Foundation in consultation with international and regional partners, national governments and civil society organisations. It comprises a group of distinguished West Africans, including ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who will serve as the commission chairman.

"The commission is aimed at developing evidence based policy recommendations for political and civil society leaders on how to address drug trafficking; mobilise public awareness and political commitment around the issue and promote local and regional capacities to deal with drug trafficking."

The founder, Annan, said: "The massive surge in drug trafficking in West Africa over the last decade presents a serious and growing threat to the region's stability and development. If left unchecked, illegal drug trafficking could compromise the encouraging progress the nations in the region have made by strengthening democracy and promoting human and economic development."

Obasanjo added that: "Trade in illegal drugs has already caused devastation in other regions of the world. We must all work together to prevent West Africa from experiencing the same fate. The Commission looks forward to its urgent and important work."

The Commission will publish a comprehensive report later this year, the statement added.

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