Togo reacts to the Report by the West Africa Commission on Drugs

Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, the president of Togo has responded positively to the publication of the West Africa Commission on Drugs. Noting that West Africa was no longer merely a transit zone for drugs from Latin America en route to European markets, but also a buoyant drug market, he reiterated that those involved in distribution had to face the full force of the law. Praising the efforts of the Joint Airport Task Forces and the Joint Marine Control Units, EU funded interventions under the Cocaine Route Programme, he confirmed his government’s political will for effective countermeasures and regional cooperation. But critically he also said that drug users were no longer to be treated as criminals but as victims. This marks an interesting departure from previous zero tolerance policies and may herald a reallocation of law enforcement resources from street level to upstream investigations. The statement finishes with a proposal for an international conference on drug and ivory trafficking. One more welcome opportunity for reviewing legislation and cooperation across the region.