On 9th October 2014, President Obasanjo presented the new report of the West Africa Commission on Drugs at the African Union Conference on Drug Control. In his speech, President Obasanjo called for the decriminalisation of people who use drugs and the need to ensure better access to harm reduction and treatment. He also highlighted the important to tackle organised crimininals that undermine government institutions in West Africa. Finally, he called for the need to ensure better access to essential medicines.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am truly delighted to be with you today and to launch the report of the West Africa Commission on Drugs in this forum at the African Union.
As you know, West Africa is particularly vulnerable to transnational criminal activity.
Borders are porous, coastlines are under-patrolled, and institutions are vulnerable to corruption.
International drug cartels are using our countries as transshipment points between producers in Latin America and Asia and consumers in Europe and the United States.
As the experience from other transit regions shows, drugs do not only pass through a country.
They are “Not Just in Transit” as we emphasize with the title of our report.
Drugs and drug money invade and undermine societies.
These developments threaten to undo economic and social gains in our region.
So far, West Africa has escaped the bloodshed which scars Central America on a daily basis. But this could change.
The African Union and ECOWAS have already sounded the alarm about the growing scale of the threat and the dangers to governance, security and democracy.
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