One of the main challenges lies in the fact that the predominant approach to drug trafficking in the region to date has been based on the international narcotics control regime which is centered on stemming the supply of drugs through law enforcement efforts.
Limited focus has been placed on the health and developmental aspects of the spillover effects of drug trafficking, which over time could constitute a greater security threat to West Africa than currently acknowledged.
The existence of trafficking routes through the Sahel has also generated concern, because it remains outside the control of most government forces, elevating the fear that insurgent and terrorist groups reap the rewards of trafficking there.
The West African sub-region is no longer just a transit route for hard drugs but also a final destination.
The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has told the Inter- Governmental Action against Money Laundering in West Africa that Nigerian politicians are hell-bent on destroying the achievements of the EFCC.
He said one of the ways they planned to achieve this was through the creation of a new Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit which had party been accomplished through a bill that had been passed by the Senate.
Magu said this in Abuja on Wednesday when a delegation of GIABA officials paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the EFCC.
In this regard, there are increasing calls for treatment rather than imprisonment for drug users.
The 2012 World Drug Report (WDR) highlights the association of drug users with acquisitive crime as well as behavioral challenges including aggression or violence.
While the above revelations question the nature, effectiveness and resilience of the existing legal and institutional framework for responding to drug trafficking in West Africa, the emerging drug consumption levels in the sub-region suggests the potential impact of drugs on human security in West Africa ().
This paper examines the impact of drug trafficking on national and regional security in West Africa.
It begins by providing an overview of the main security threats that drug trafficking poses to states and the sub-region, including the possible links between drug trafficking and terrorism.