The National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (NDLEA), and other heads of drug law enforcement agencies in Africa have called for the setting up of specialized courts to try drug cases and other organized crimes across the continent.
NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi said this was part of recommendations adopted at the end of the weeklong 31st meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, Africa (HONLAF) in Abuja over the weekend.
According to them, “Governments should consider the establishment of national specialized courts and asset recovery offices dealing with organized crime and money laundering and supporting tracing, recovering and management of proceeds of crime.
“Governments are encouraged to make effective and full use of existing informal regional and international cooperation instruments aiming at facilitating investigations and prosecuting organized crime including drug crimes and related money-laundering, including West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP), Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa (ARINSA), Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of West Africa (ARINWA) as well as the UNODC CRIMJUST programme.”
They also urged governments in African countries to promote cooperation and the sharing of best practices in the confiscation of proceeds of crime, including drug-related cases.
“Governments should adopt adequate legal and regulatory frameworks on virtual assets, including cryptocurrencies, to prevent and combat their use for drug-related crime and money-laundering,” Babafemi stated.
Other recommendations adopted by the HONLAF working group during the annual meeting include asking African governments “to develop and implement drug policy responses that address, indirectly or directly, the environmental impact of illicit crop cultivation, drug manufacture and drug use, taking into consideration positive and negative effects;
“Governments are encouraged to empower indigenous people, youth groups and local communities to protect the land, forest reserves and water sources in their areas, making the best of local knowledge and in line with local interests and needs.”