Niamey has hosted the presentation of the third phase of the European ECI Niger project, in the presence of the European Union Ambassador to Niger, the Spanish Ambassador to Niger and representatives of several European embassies
The Nigerien capital, Niamey, hosted the inauguration ceremony of the third phase of the European ECI Niger project, which was attended by representatives of the Delegation of the European Union in the country, the Spanish, French and British embassies, as well as representatives of other European projects in the country and cooperation actors in the region such as CT Niger, EUCAP, IOM and FRONTEX.
Niger, a West African country with 23 million inhabitants and borders with seven countries, is a key transit area for the main African migration routes to Europe. Also a receiving country, it is affected by the phenomenon of human trafficking, especially for the purpose of sexual exploitation, begging and domestic work in precarious conditions.
The Ambassador of the European Union, Salvador Pinto da França, expressed his great satisfaction at being able to attend the launch of the third phase of the ECI Niger project. The Ambassador indicated that this third phase is more ambitious than the previous ones, expanding resources in Niger and reinforcing regional and international cooperation in this field.
The Commissaire Divisionaire -Directeur de la Surveillance du Territoire de Niger, Alpha Abdourahamane, pointed out the importance of the actions of the JIT in the fight against criminal networks in the country and expressed his satisfaction to the European Union for the beginning of this new phase, hoping that it will have an even greater impact than the previous ones.
José Conrado Ávila Polo, Commissioner of the Spanish National Police and Team Leader of the project, explained that the joint investigation team of this project has become an international reference in the field of operational police cooperation, especially in the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking. The work of ECI Niger saves lives and avoids much suffering for potential victims of trafficking.
FIIAPP Manager, Maria Gonzalez Pastor, pointed out that FIIAPP currently has a strategic role in sub-Saharan Africa, managing several important projects in the region. In this sense, FIIAPP renews today its commitment to continue working in close collaboration with all the institutions and entities involved in the ECI Niger project.
824 suspects arrested, 456 cases prosecuted, 753 imprisoned, 57 national networks identified, 196 international networks identified,126 vehicles seized, 86 motorbikes seized, 251 false or forged documents discovered.
These are some of the results obtained thanks to the two previous phases of the project, which were carried out between 2017 and 2022, in the most affected regions of the country such as Zinder, Tahoua and Agadez. Despite their relations with influential people in the country, these phases have led to the imprisonment of important migrant smugglers and traffickers.
Intensifying international cooperation between West African countries, reinforcing Nigerian police offices in strategic points of the country, such as Agadez, and promoting protection and assistance to minors and women victims of trafficking are the objectives of the third phase. For five years, a team of 8 experts in Niger (4 Spanish National Police and 4 French police officers), with a budget of 13 million euros, will continue to fight against criminal networks in the region.
The specific objectives of the new phase include strengthening the investigative and judicial capacities of the Nigerien police, maintaining the rate at which investigations are brought to court, collaboration between the Nigerien police and the judiciary and strengthening police cooperation between West African countries to fight against criminal networks.