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WAPIS Meets Liberia Joint Security On Enhancing Regional Security Capacity

By Grace Q. Bryant
A team from the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) has concluded a meeting with Liberia’s Ministry of Justice and others security actors in order to enhance capacity for West Africa’s law enforcement authorities.

The WAPIS Program is funded by the EU and implemented by Interpol, and receives political and strategic support from ECOWAS.

The meeting yesterday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice brought together members of the LNP, LIS, LDEA, LRA, Interpol, Justice Minister, the WAPIS Country Officer and others.

In his overview, WAPIS Country Officer, Tafsir M. Diop, said the idea to create a WAPIS stemmed from ECOWAS member states’ expression through their concerns over the spate of transnational organized crime and terrorism affecting the region.

According to him, security gaps at national, regional and international levels have contributed to West Africa becoming a hub for crimes such as drug trafficking, migrant smuggling and international terrorism.

He explained that WAPIS targets all 15 member states of ECOWAS and Mauritania noting that without an effective police information exchange within the region as well as between the region and the rest of the world, no enforcement strategy can effectively tackle these threats.

In his presentation on the status of implementing WAPIS in Liberia, Charles B. Blake explained that the implementation of the WAPIS program started in Liberia in Ocotber, 2018.

According to the WAPIS Coordinator, the country signed an MOU with INTERPOL on the implementation of WAPIS and appointed the single point of contract alongside the IT and the legal experts.

He explained further that Liberia allocated a police space for the data collection and registration center (DACORE) at the Liberia INTEPOL in 2020.

‘’The center was equipped with WAPIS system including a primary server thereby training 38 personnel from the LNP, Liberia Immigration Service and LDEA and INTERPOL deployed work stations to the LIS and 6 zones and one depot of LNP,” he stated.

According to him, due to the lack of a legal text regarding the WAPIS system, for a protracted period of time, the county was suspended within the framework of the WAPIS program implementation.

In December 2022, President George Weah signed Executive Order 114 on the implementation of the WAPIS program and because of that, INTERPOL has resumed implementation of the program in Liberia.
For recommendation, he noted that Liberia is to adopt the legal frame work for the system before the next steering committee meeting in November 2023.

“Published the ECOWAS supplementary Act on personnel Data Protection in the official gazette before November 2023,” he continued.

He concluded that Liberia adopted a Law on personnel data protection applicable to WAPIS and set up an operational personnel data protection authority to declare the system as soon as possible.

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