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WAPIS to train immigration officers from Liberia and three other countries

Immigration officers from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast are to receive regional training. 

By: Kruah Thompson 

Monrovia, Liberia, May 16, 2024 – The West African Police Information System, or WAPIS, is conducting a regional assessment to train immigration officers from Liberia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

The joint training is intended to equip immigration personnel with broader knowledge and techniques on border protection. The aim is to set up posts at various border points of the member countries to incorporate the ECOWAS mandate on ensuring free movement.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), established on May 28, 1975, through the Treaty of Lagos, mandates all 15 member states to promote economic integration across various sectors. This includes the provision for free movement, granting community citizens the right to enter and reside in any member state, contingent upon possession of a valid travel document and international health certificate.

WAPIS is an ECOWAS Project Funded by the European Union and Implemented by INTERPOL. Its goal is to provide local law enforcement authorities with an electronic national police information system that allows them to create, manage, and share files related to crimes and criminal offences.

The program aims to enhance information exchange and coordination among law enforcement agencies across West Africa by enabling police officers to access critical data from national and regional criminal databases. This initiative improves criminal identification and supports ongoing investigations.

From September 7 to 9, 2021, 45 security personnel from six West African countries convened in Ghana for a three-day workshop on the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) held in Accra to harmonize security systems regionally.

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Following the workshop, participating officers voiced concerns about West Africa becoming a hub for drug trafficking, human smuggling, and terrorism, emphasizing the need to combat transnational crime and terrorism through improved police information sharing.

In response to these concerns, the first phase of the WAPIS Programme was launched in September 2012, following discussions among West African Police Chiefs, who highlighted the region’s vulnerability to crime and terrorism.

The program received endorsement during the General Annual Assembly of the Western African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO), paving the way for the full implementation of the WAPIS Programme across all 15 ECOWAS Member States.

Additionally, The WAPIS Programme targets all West African countries, including the 15 ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, under the European Union.

However, On June 23, 2023, the Data Collection and Registration Center (DACORE) was inaugurated in Liberia to strengthen and implement the WAPIS Program.

Meanwhile, Liberia Immigration Service Commissioner General, Atty. Stephen J. H. Zargo announced that the joint security training program for Liberia and neighboring countries is intended to align with ECOWAS mandates and objectives. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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