The Federal Government, and International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) on Tuesday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on data and information sharing under West African Police Information System (WAPIS) platform.
Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (Retd), who signed for the government at the ceremony in Abuja, said that the agreement and implementation of the project were long overdue.
Dambazau said that WAPIS would strengthen exchange of information and coordination among countries in West Africa, adding that it would also tackle emerging security threats in the region.
Also, Secretary-General of INTERPOL, Mr Jurgen Stock, said that it was a privileged to be at the signing of the MoU.
He said the event was a significant milestone and good step in stakeholders fight against crime in Nigeria and beyond.
According to Stock, WAPIS will bring information closer to the front line, and the MoU is the right step in enhancing security in Nigeria and West Africa.
‘’ Today, we have signed a new chapter in our WAPIS journey,’’ he added.
In his remarks, Head of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation, Gen. Francis Behanzin, said WAPIS was important to security of the region, through sharing of data between among the nations.
He reaffirmed ECOWAS’ commitment to the success of the programme.
Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, said that WAPIS was a complementary database established to collect information.
He said that it was a base for information on crimes like car theft, illegal migrants, fake identity cards and other acts of criminality in the region.
“It is a tool that is needed for every country to fight crime,’’ he said.
On his part, Head of European Union (EU) delegation, Mr Ketil Karlsen, commended the development and called for strict implementation of the programme.
In a related development, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, said personnel of the Nigerian Police Force had gained a lot from its collaboration with the INTERPOL.
Admau disclosed this when the Secretary-General of INTERPOL, Mr Jurgen Stock, visited him on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the force would work with the international police to tap from its expertise.
“We will like to work with you to have what you have, especially your expertise,’’ he said.
The police chief said that the force had digitised its operations, and was putting its resources together to fight crimes in the country and West Africa.
Earlier, Stock had said that the presence of INTERPOL across the world posed a great challenge to criminals.
He said that his organisation would continue to contribute to security in the West African sub-region through an active relationship between Nigeria and INTERPOL.
“We will make this relationship even stronger in the future. We have done a lot in strengthening our capability across the world,“ he said.
Stock said that there was a need for building a strong cooperation between the military and the police to fight terrorism in the country.
The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) has 194 countries as members.