Prof. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
24 June, 2011
I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for initiating this important discussion on transnational organized crime and drug trafficking. By holding this debate, the Council is making a very significant statement of intent just two days after the release of the World Drug Report 2011. We also want to thank Mr. Yury Fedotov for his invaluable briefing, which brings into sharp focus not only the scale but especially the inevitable consequences of illicit drug trafficking for international peace and security.
Drug trafficking remains an endemic, organized and lucrative transnational crime, which in turn is a major threat to global peace and security. In Africa, illicit drug trafficking, cultivation, processing and abuse are unrelentingly on the rise, inevitably constituting barriers to the continent’s development efforts. International drug cartels from other regions of the world continue to exploit the under-resourced law enforcement capability of most African countries, turning them into major transit points for prohibited drugs and arms.
The subregion most affected by these nefarious activities is West Africa, which is fast emerging as a major warehouse and transit hub for cocaine and illicit drugs. The activities of drug cartels in the subregion constitute devastating impediments to subregional efforts to promote human prosperity, the genuine creation of wealth, the development of productive work and peacebuilding.
It is against this backdrop that we welcome yesterday’s release of the World Drug Report 2011. We agree with the Secretary-General when he notes that the report “paints a sobering picture of the threat posed by illegal drugs”. Mr. Fedotov’s own observation that the gains we have witnessed in the traditional drug market have been offset by the fashion for synthetic designer drugs vividly points out the complexity of the challenges we face ahead of us. We share not only his sense of urgency but also his assessment that confronting the global drug problem is a shared global responsibility. We believe that the four potential areas of international collaboration, building regional capacity, reinforcing criminal justice systems and adapting cross-disciplinary strategies, to which the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is directing its response, will undoubtedly increase the scope and strength of the international response. This approach obliges all of us to always take into account the larger question of drug supply and drug demand control channels, as they are two sides of the same coin.
Nigeria supports the mainstreaming of crime prevention in conflict prevention strategies, conflict analysis, integrated mission assessment and planning. To achieve this objective, it is important to build the capacities of regional and national authorities to enable them to fulfill their international obligations on narcotic drugs, terrorism, arms control and transnational organized crime.
Only four days ago, the high-level policy committee of the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI) held its inaugural session with the participation of the United Nations, INTERPOL and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). At the meeting, stakeholders began to map the direction that support for the ECOWAS regional action plan on trafficking might take. WACI’s transnational crime units for Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau also greatly complement the effort to combat West Africa’s drug trade. Such initiatives are important for our subregion as we endeavor to close off transit routes for cocaine and other narcotics. We very much look forward to their planned expansion into other countries in need of support in the subregion.
We cannot overstate the need for cooperation, coordination and concerted action by the international community. We already have the legal instruments and tools to make crime unattractive and unprofitable. What we need most at this time is to mobilize the requisite political will and, indeed, the resources to win the war against organized crime and organized criminals.