Crime fighting to peak as first DNA, forensic centre opens in Lagos
A deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and forensic analysis centre, the first of its kind in Nigeria, has begun operations in Lagos.
The DNA centre located on Odunlami Street, Lagos Island, and commissioned on Wednesday by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, and is expected to help a great deal in resolving crimes, paternity and other issues through forensic analysis.
The centre has the capacity to provide the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and private citizens with crime scene processing; serological screening for blood and semen; DNA analysis of bone, teeth and hair; maternal and paternal relationship DNA analysis; expert witness and case handling services; paternal and maternal ancestry DNA analysis; cold case file review and mass disaster human identification.
Ambode described the DNA centre as a significant milestone and a symbolic manifestation of the state government’s policies in reforming the justice sector and positioning the state to meet modern challenge.
According to him, with the centre, Lagos is joining other countries of the world to embrace technology in making life easier for residents and businesses.
He said with the handing over of the DNA centre, the state government would move to the second stage of building additional capacity in the areas of toxicology; trace evidence and controlled substance analysis; fingerprint and latent prints; firearms, ballistics and tool marks; digital forensics; and questioned documents examination.
“From the domestic front to our places of work; from the way we learn, to doing business, the use of technology has become a way of life. You will therefore understand why our administration had no hesitation in approving this project which serves amongst other things, as an effective method of bringing perpetrators of crime to book and ensuring quick dispensation of justice,” he added.
He said the decision to embrace technology in resolving crimes and fast-track justice dispensation is because government believes that security is key to good governance and sustainability of investment.
Adeniji Kazeem, the state’s attorney general and commissioner for justice, said the centre would assist the state to have a reliable DNA database that would enable investigators and law enforcement officers identify crime patterns and suspects, and also help exonerate or convict suspects.
John Bray, the consul general of United States Embassy in Lagos, lauded the Lagos State for successfully completing “the first DNA forensic centre not only in Nigeria and West Africa,” saying that the development would enhance justice and progress.
Bray, who had worked as a law enforcement officer in United States for twenty-five years before being posted to Lagos, said the state deserves commendation for the foresight and vision to undertake such project as the DNA forensic centre.
Imohimi Edgal, Lagos State acting Commissioner of Police, said the centre would boost security and justice delivery in Lagos.
“I am perhaps the happiest person here today because this will enhance my job. We have a lot of pending high profile cases that we have not resolved yet. These cases, we intend to revisit with this new centre coming on board,” Edgal said.
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