West Africa’s Role In Growing Cocaine Production
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has established that the production of cocaine globally has increased beyond levels unprecedented since the COVID-19 pandemic.
It attributed this to an expansion in coca bush cultivation and improvements in the process of conversion from coca bush to cocaine hydrochloride.
The production is not the only issue reported by the Office, but the prevalence of its use globally as well.
The report found that although the COVID-19 pandemic had a disruptive effect on drug markets due to travel restrictions and the closure of nightclubs, traffickers increased their use of international mail services to get cocaine into Europe.
The Global Report on Cocaine 2023, found that West Africa is playing a role in the production and use of the drug.
It said the sub-region is serving as the drug’s transit zones to Europe from Brazil- which continues to be an important country of departure for cocaine trafficked to destinations in Africa.
A part of the report said “Seizure data suggest that the role of Africa, especially West and Central Africa, as a transit zone for cocaine on its way to markets in Europe has picked up substantially since 2019. Both the total quantity seized in Africa and the number of large seizures appear to have reached record levels during 2021, according to preliminary data.”
It said Maritime nations in West Africa account for much of the volume of cocaine seized.
Transatlantic trafficking to West and Central Africa occurs in containerised trade as well as merchant vessels, fishing vessels and sailing vessels, the report found.
Specifically, Nigeria is the most prevalent in the venture.
The report said Nigerian traffickers often work in collaboration with Nigerian counterparts in other countries, notable members of “cult groups” in European destination countries and Nigerians operating in Brazil.
Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini