23 February 2012
United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has called for increased regional efforts to tackle security and organized crime in Nigeria and other West African countries, as rising transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and piracy are threatening peace and stability across the region and the Sahel.
“Transnational organized crime, including drug trafficking, affects peace, security and stability wherever it occurs,” Mr. Ban told the Security Council in
New York, stressing that upheaval in and the growing food crisis and conflict in the region have raised fears that the situation could worsen. Libya
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), cocaine trafficking in West and
Central Africa generates some $900 million annually, and local consumption is also growing rapidly, with about 2.5 million drug users.
Mr. Ban said he was particularly concerned about reports stating that terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, have formed alliances with drug traffickers, and warned that inaction could be catastrophic for oil-producing countries that are frequently targeted for their petroleum assets and for countries that rely extensively on their ports for national revenue.
“Such alliances have the potential to further destabilize the region and reverse hard-won democratic and peacebuilding achievements,” Mr. Ban said, adding that “the growing incidence of piracy in the
exacerbates the situation.” Gulf of Guinea