CSOs lament lack of funds to combat drug trafficking in West Africa
His Lordship, Justice Resolu John Bankole-Thompson, a Sierra Leonean judge and member of the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD) has encouraged civil society organisations (CSOs) in Ghana to join efforts in the fight against drug trafficking.
Justice Bankole-Thompson encouraged CSOs to engage with other stakeholders such as the judiciary, governments, Think Tanks and international organisations to form robust alliances to influence policies aimed at addressing drug trafficking and related challenges in the country and region.
He said this when the WACD met with CSOs at the Secretariat of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in Accra on Friday, to have a deeper understanding of the roles CSOs play in addressing drug trafficking and its aftermaths in the country.
Justice Bankole-Thompson noted that “time is of essence in responding to this serious social maladies affecting West Africa”.
The CSO representatives at the meeting stated that their contributions to curb drug trafficking and its adverse effects on society include advocacy, sensitization and awareness raising, counseling and rehabilitation and civilian policing within local communities to report criminals to the security officers.
They however lamented that lack of funds to support their efforts, inadequate capacity to engage in effective advocacy and insecurity in areas of high crime rates cause them to down play their activities, thus, creating very little impact.
Apostle Cobi Washington, Director of the Chosen Rehab Center, which works to provide free boarding facilities to rehabilitate drug addicts, alcoholics, street children and the homeless attested that his organisation has engaged in nationwide awareness campaigns.
He stressed that for CSOs to make a significant gain in efforts to influence policies that would contribute to curb the practice of drug trafficking in the country, CSOs need to come together to increase their messages and create a poignant effect on policy makers.
Apostle Washinton said West Africa serves as a safe hub for drug transiting on the continent and research findings hold that 30 per cent of drugs that are transited in the region are consumed by West Africans and this result to a growing social challenge in the region ranging from high crime wave to human health hazards.
WACD was created by the Kofi Annan Foundation in January 2013 to raise awareness on the issue of drug trafficking and consumption in West Africa. It therefore seeks to galvanise political commitment by governments of West African states in the fight against the perpetration of drug-related crimes in the region.