Is there evidence, for example through media investigations or prosecution reports, of a penetration of organised crime into the defence and security sector? If no, is there evidence that the government is alert and prepared for this risk?
19a. Penetration of organised crime
Niger score: 50/100
There is a strong likelihood that organised crime has penetrated the sector, or there is confirmation that it has done so.
There is moderate likelihood of penetration by organised crime into the defence and security sector.
There is very low likelihood of military involvement in sectors in which organised crime operates.
The extent of penetration of organised crime into the Nigerien defence and security sector is difficult to evaluate. The likelihood of organised crime being involved with the defence and security sectors is moderate. The scale of trafficking implies a degree of cooperation with the defence/security sector to allow for illicit flows to take place, even if there are no specific cases of collusion. Source 1, the Small Arms Survey (March 2017), for example, describes how the Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN), police, gendarmerie, National Guard, and customs are responsible for seizing arms. Some of the seized arms/ammunition are reportedly added to their arsenals, which violates Article 17 of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons (2006), to which Niger is a signatory nation. Such cases reveal instances in which legislation is not enforced. Niger’s geography and weak communications infrastructure also further exposes the country to organised crime.
Given the scale of trafficking that occurs, security and defence forces are likely to be complicit. The activity of networks engaged in smuggling of migrants and trafficking of human beings, as well as arms (1) and drugs (2) towards Niger’s northern borders remains a significant challenge (3). The assessor found no media investigations covering the issue. However, some media coverage suggested that defence and security actors do have some level of involvement with trafficking (4).
(1. Savannah de Tessières, “Briefing Report, measuring illicit arms flows”, Small Arms Survey, March 2017, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/T-Briefing-Papers/SAS-BP1-Niger.pdf.
2. “Drogue: Agadez, la ‘Colombienne’ du Niger,” (Drugs: Agadez, the ‘Colombian’ of Niger), Jeune Afrique, May 11, 2017, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/mag/435824/politique/drogue-agadez-colombienne-niger/.
3. Peter Tinti and Tom Westcott, “The Niger-Libya corridor: Smugglers’ perspectives,” The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime and Institute for Security Studies, November 2016, https://issafrica.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/paper299_2.pdf.
4. “Agadez: Les non-dits sur la découverte de la cache d’armes,” (Agadez: what’s been left unsaid about the discovery of a cache of weapons), Air Info, June 21, 2018,
19b. Government response
Niger score: 50/100
The government is not actively trying to tackle the problem, or only gives it lip service.
The government is aware of the possibility of organised crime in the defence and security sector, but its actions are unclear or inconsistent. This issue may be included in the anti-corruption policy, but only superficially. Military leaders fail to publicly address this specific issue.
The government is aware of the possibility of organised crime in the defence and security sector, and is taking action, or would be in a position to take action quickly should organised criminal activity take place. If there is a likelihood of organised criminal action taking place, the issue is included in the anti-corruption policy, and military leaders have publicly acknowledged the clear risk on this issue.
There is evidence that the Nigerien government is aware of the possible involvement of some elements of the defence and security sector in organised crime, but its response is unclear and inconsistent.
For example, in May 2015 Niger adopted the law on unlawful trafficking of migrants that provides for a large variety of sanctions, including 10 years imprisonment for involvement in the illegal trafficking of migrants (1). According to the minister of the interior, under the 2015 law, several gendarmes were dismissed, around 200 persons arrested and 72 sentenced, while others are still awaiting trial (2). However, on a broader level, as the report of the ANLTP emphasises, the 2015 law has seriously undermined the local economy in the Agadez region, which relied heavily on income generated through trafficking (3). The Institute for Security Studies report underlined similar conclusions. It states that “interventions designed to reduce migration flows and enhance protection for the migrants must be predicated on a far more nuanced understanding of local dynamics and the non-state actors facilitating the trade, so as to avoid destabilising one of the few pockets of stability in an already volatile region” (4). Therefore, even though there is evidence that authorities are aware of possible collusion, the difficulties in investigating and in prosecuting are deeply connected to the complex social and economic context.
On a broader level, Niger has lately enforced institutions that contribute to fighting organised crime: High Authority for the Fight against Corruption and Assimilated Offences – HALCIA, Central Service for the Fight against Terrorism-SCLCT, National Financial Information Processing Unit-CENTIF (see question 20 for details). Provided with different mandates, these institutions do not seem to cooperate closely, while corruption and organised crime are closely interrelated.
Regardless of these shortfalls, Niger has developed close cooperation with the UNODC. However, it did not ratify the Protocol against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (5). Despite government awareness of the threat of organised crime, its attempts to address the issue is inconsistent: the fight against organised crime is not sufficiently and explicitly connected to anti-corruption policy.
1. “Loi n° 2015-36 du 26 May sur le trafic illicite des migrants,” (Act no.2015-36 of 26th May 2015 on the trafficking of migrants), Journal Officiel de la République du Niger, May 26, 2015,
2. “Interview de Mohamad Bazoum: A Agadez, on est passé de 350 migrants par jour à 100 par semaine,” (Interview with Mohamed Bazoum. “In Agadez, we went from 350 migrants per day to 100 per week”), RFI, May 23, 2018, http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20180523-agadez-on-est-passe-350-migrants-jour-100-semaine.
3. Ministère de Justice. Direction Générale de l’Agence Nationale de Lutte contre la Traite des Personnes, “Rôle du Niger dans la lutte contre la traite des personnes et le trafic illicite de migrants,” (Ministry of Justice. Director General of the National Agency for the Fight against Human Trafficking, “The role of Niger in the fight against human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants), Not dated, but released after September 2017, http://archive.ipu.org/splz-e/valletta17/gazibo.pdf.
4. Peter Tinti and Tom Westcott, “The Niger-Libya corridor: Smugglers’ perspectives,” The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime and Institute for Security Studies, November 2016, https://issafrica.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/paper299_2.pdf.
5. “State of ratification of the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition (A/RES/55/255, New York, May 31, 2001), supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime,” United Nations Treaties, https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XVIII-12-c&chapter=18&clang=_fr.
Compare scores by country
Please view this page on a larger screen for the full stats.
|Country||19a. Penetration of organised crime||19b. Government response|
|Algeria||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Angola||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|Burkina Faso||0 / 100||50 / 100|
|Cameroon||0 / 100||50 / 100|
|Cote d'Ivoire||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Egypt||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Ghana||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Jordan||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Kuwait||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Lebanon||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Mali||0 / 100||50 / 100|
|Morocco||50 / 100||0 / 100|
|Niger||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Nigeria||0 / 100||50 / 100|
|Oman||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Palestine||100 / 100||0 / 100|
|Qatar||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Saudi Arabia||50 / 100||100 / 100|
|Tunisia||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|United Arab Emirates||100 / 100||75 / 100|