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UNODC hosts training on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism and the International Legal Framework against Organized Crime

 

Although terrorism and organized crime are distinct phenomena that can greatly undermine the stability, development of states when they come together that damage is magnified. Terrorist groups benefit materially from illegal activity, and criminal gangs exploit the opportunities created by overstretched law enforcement and general instability. Nigeria currently faces both these challenges.

In recent years, United Nations member states have focused increasingly on the relationship between terrorism and organized crime, passing several Security Council Resolutions focused on the linkages between terrorism and organized crime, most notably Resolution 2482 (2019).

As Kate Fitzpatrick of UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch notes “while criminal and terrorist groups have distinct objectives, countries globally have reported a number of linkages between the two groups, most notably related to financing of terrorist groups. Unfortunately, too often the issues of organized crime and terrorism are addressed in isolation.”

To support the Nigerian government’s efforts to take a holistic approach to these twin threats, UNODC recently delivered an online training course on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism and the International Legal Framework against Organized Crime for a range of Nigerian partners from the policy, security, legal and financial sectors. This training was made possible with the generous support of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria.

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This course drew on knowledge and experiences from a number of international experts from UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch, Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, and Global Firearms Programme, as well as the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), and local Nigerian experts from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Despite the necessary public health restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, UNODC has pioneered several successful methods of conducting its capacity building activities remotely over online meeting sites and social media tools such as Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp. For this training the UNODC Country Team was also able to take advantage of the UNODC Counter-Terrorism Learning Platform (CTLP), which offers an invaluable resource through which professionals can continue to exchange, learn and build stronger ties with criminal justice and counter-terrorism practitioners, notwithstanding the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online training course elicited energetic deliberations from participants, while prompting practical discussions on the relevance of criminal justice strategies and measures adopted against organized crime in the counter-terrorism context; the human rights and gender dimensions common to organized crime and terrorism; terrorist financing and money laundering; prosecuting and investigating terrorism and organized crime offences; the similarities and differences of terrorism and organized crime offences; and linkages between trafficking of persons and terrorism.

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In appreciating the objectives of the online training course, Mr. James Neville Onu, Head of Legal Drafting at the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the central Nigerian agency responsible for protecting the Nigerian financial sector against terrorism financing and associated crimes, commented that “the UNODC online training for Nigeria on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism and the International Legal Framework Against Organized Crime, was timely. The training programme emphasized on identifying and responding to the linkages between terrorism and organized crime.”

Mr. Onu added: “Perhaps some law enforcement agencies have always known that these linkages exist. However, the training underlined the imperative to always consider a proactive, and more nuanced approach in countering the organized crime-terrorism nexus. Consequently, cooperation and collaboration, both at international and local (inter-agency) levels, the use of special investigative techniques and intelligence gathering, and above all updating local laws and strategic plans to meet the challenges of organized crime and terrorism, cannot be overemphasized.”

UNODC’s Country Representative, Oliver Stolpe, also emphasized the importance of looking to the future: “While the online training course provided an opportunity to engage over a wide range of topics, it is important to continue to enhance institutional and collective contributions to meeting the challenges brought on by terrorism and organized crime, beyond the online training course. We look forward to continuing to work with the Nigerian criminal justice sector and other stakeholders to continue to address the nexus between terrorism and organized crime and proffer functional and context-relevant solutions to the compounded challenge posed by these two dangerous phenomena.”

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  COVID 19: Thousands of migrants stranded as 220 countries impose travel restrictions

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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