- Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos has delivered the first DNA forensic centre in West Africa
- The centre located on the Lagos Island will help ease investigations into crime and paternal issues
- Ambode promised Lagos people to expect more from his government in the area of crime prevention
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has finally commissioned the first DNA forensic centre in West Africa, noting that this move would help in easy resolution of crimes, paternity and other issues through technology.
Ambode commissioned the centre located at Odunlami Street in Lagos Island, on Wednesday, September 27 saying its completion and handing over remained a significant milestone and manifestation of his administration’s policies in reforming the justice sector and make the state safe for residents and investors.
“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," the governor said.
Ambode said he had always argued that security is key to good governance and sustainability of investment to make life better for the people.
This belief, he said, necessitated the heavy investment in security equipment, recruitment and training of security personnel to assist law enforcement agencies in the maintenance of public peace and security.
The said the state now has reduced crime rate as a result of the interventions by his government.
Governor Ambode said the facility "has the capacity to provide the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and private citizens with crime scene processing; serological screening for blood and sem*n; 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."
He assured Lagosians that his administration would continue with initiatives to secure the state.
He also said the government would now 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.
“The development of these other forensic sections at the facility will complement the DNA forensic section and enhance the level of services offered today.
"Before now, most, if not all DNA analysis and testing were performed outside Nigeria, a situation that caused longer turn-around times and an overall higher cost of bringing closure to a case.
“I am therefore convinced that the establishment of the Lagos DNA & Forensic Centre will improve the speed and quality of evidence collected to assist our courts in the quick dispensation of justice.
"This centre is a definite boost for our administration’s Justice sector reform programme. It shows that our covenant with Lagosians to create a safe and secure state is being kept,” Governor Ambode said.
Speaking earlier, the state’s attorney-general and justice commissioner, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said the centre would assist in reliable DNA database that would enable investigators and law enforcement officers identify crime patterns and suspects, and also help exonerate or convict suspects.
Speaking also, the consul general of the United States embassy in Lagos, Mr John Bray, congratulated Governor Ambode saying that the development would enhance justice and progress.
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The Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Abayomi Olonishakin, who was represented by Rear Admiral Lawal Modu Adams, said the centre was a significant milestone in the country’s fight against all forms of crime including terrorism.
The acting commissioner of police, Mr Imohimi Edgal, who spoke at the event, said: “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.”
NAIJ.com reports that the commissioning happened just 24 hours after Governor Ambode unveiled the statue of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the state.
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