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Cocaine trade exacerbates money laundering in West Africa – UN Chief

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Ban ki-Moon - UN Boss

The global cocaine trade, which is estimated at $85 million, is exacerbating money laundering in West Africa, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary-General has indicated.

Whiles every $1 billion of pure cocaine trafficked through West Africa earns more than ten times as much when sold on the streets of Europe, the trade is also fuelling political instability threatens the sub-region’s security, Mr Ban said.

In addition, the 61 billion dollars annual markets for Afghan opiates are used in funding insurgency, international terrorism and wider destabilization.

These were contained in a message read on behalf of the UN Chief at a ceremony held on Tuesday at Wa in the Upper West Region to mark this year’s international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

Mr Ban said because the threat was so urgent, the UN had established a task force to develop a system-wide strategy to coordinate and strengthen the responses to illicit drugs and organized crime by building them into all UN peacekeeping, peace building, security development and disarmament activities.

In that way, the UN could integrate the fight against drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime into the global security and development agenda, he explained.

He said this year’s international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking was an opportunity to highlight the importance of addressing the threats through the rule of law in the provision of health service.

“Drugs use at its core is a health issue while drug dependence is a disease and not a crime. The real criminals are the drug traffickers.

“But the supply is only half of the equation and unless we reduce the demand for illicit drugs we can never fully tackle cultivation, production or trafficking”, Mr Ban said.

In a speech read on his behalf, Naval Captain Rtd Asase Gyimah, Board Chairman of Narcotics Control Board said the Board was collaborating more with other agencies for drug law enforcement and advocated the reduction of the drug trade by exchanging ideas and sharing intelligence.

Alhaji Issahaque Salia, Upper West Regional Minister said the government was more determined now than ever to put drug traffickers and users out of business, while at the same time reducing drug related crimes.

Government was also committed to resourcing not only the Narcotic Control Board but also all security agencies to fight the drug menace.

Source: GNA

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