Nigeria is one of the key countries for the implementation of AIRCOP. The programme brings together the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), immigration, customs, and the State Security Service (SSS) into a Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force (JAITF). The only agency missing is the police. The other agencies involved have been working together to increase intelligence sharing and develop a cohesive response to drug trafficking in the country.
The JAITF at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos is engaged in analysis and scanning to detect drug traffickers. The intelligence team analyse airline manifests to identify potential traffickers, sharing findings across the region. The team also profiles travellers to identify suspected traffickers. The team then investigates these people, searching luggage and scanning travellers.
The agencies work together to identify and prevent drug trafficking as well as ensuring their own mandate is fulfilled. Through the JAITF, effective structures are in place to tackle the problem.
A number of gaps remain. One intelligence officers pointed to a need to access airline manifests electronically to enhance their ability to analyse data. The World Customs Organisation CENcomm (Customs Enforcement Network Communication Platform) is being used to record data on seizures and arrests, sharing intelligence with other countries. Yet there remains a need for further analysis to identify trends and connections.
Lead by the NDLEA, the JAITF is moving in the right direction.The Head of the JAITF recognises that the arrest of numerous couriers will do little to stem the flow of drugs into and through Nigeria. In response, the agency seeks to enhance their investigations to target the top of the chain.