Like their colleagues in other ECOWAS Member States, the focal points in Togo have benefited from WACAP’s expertise in training, sharing of good judicial practices and international judicial cooperation.
WACAP sessions or meetings are privileged opportunities during which the focal points exchange experiences on judicial cases within their national jurisdictions. These exchanges enabled the focal points to be better equipped to carry out their duties as magistrates effectively. Bad practices are identified and discouraged while good practices are highlighted to serve as models. These exchanges of good practices have enabled the Togolese focal points to improve their professional performance.
In 2015, a criminal event was in the news in Lomé. It involved the murder of a young Togolese girl by a Nigerian who had arrived on holiday with his sister, who was herself the wife of a Nigerian man working in the vehicle parts trade in Lomé. The Nigerian courted the Togolese girl whom he invited to the home of his brother-in-law who had gone away on business with his wife (the offender’s sister). A brawl ensued and the girl died. The boyfriend panicked and threw the body into the well in his brother-in-law’s house, where the scene was taking place. After his criminal act, the young Nigerian left Togo in a hurry to go to Lagos without explaining anything to his sister and brother-in-law. The victim’s family had been without news of the victim for days and began looking for him.
At the WACAP meeting that followed the brotherin-law’s imprisonment, the Togolese focal points presented the case in plenary and sought the collaboration of their Nigerian colleagues who spontaneously expressed their willingness to cooperate in the event that Togo requested the extradition of their fugitive compatriot. The maintenance of contact between the focal points of the two countries thus enabled the fugitive to be arrested in Lagos and effectively extradited to Lomé in 2017 under the simplified procedure of police-to-police surrender. He is currently being held in custody at the Lomé Civil Prison. His confession of the crime has allowed his brotherin-law, who was innocently detained, to regain his freedom since then.
We take this opportunity to pay a well-deserved tribute to Mr. Pius AKUTAH, who was the central authority in Nigeria at that time, for the role he played in the success of this successful judicial cooperation.
During the month of November 2019, Mr. Cheibou SAMNA, Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Niamey, contacted us through the Whatsapp social network to inform us that the Nigerien security forces had just arrested two (02) Togolese
who were travelling in a pick-up vehicle and were in possession of military uniforms, portable radios and other objects that could lead us to presume that they were jihadists.
The prosecutor sent us for verification, through the same channel, the photos and identity cards of the persons arrested, and other information collected from them.
On the same day, we reported our exchanges with Prosecutor SAMNA to our superior, the Public Prosecutor at the Lomé Tribunal, who informally made the information available to the Togolese intelligence services. The information gathered by these services following their checks, was returned to the prosecutor in Niamey, which enabled Nigerien authority to realize that our arrested compatriots had no terrorist profile and to have them released.
These various cases of informal cooperation have made it possible, thanks to the links created through WACAP, to find valuable solutions in record time to difficult situations, which would not have been the case had cooperation taken place through formal, that is, diplomatic channels.