Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, on Wednesday, commissioned the first DNA Forensic Centre in West Africa, saying that the move would go a long way in resolving all form of crimes, paternity issues and others through technology which is the modern trend across the world.
Governor Ambode said the completion and handing over of the centre located at Odunlami Street in Lagos Island, was a significant milestone and a symbolic manifestation of his administration’s policies in reforming the justice sector and in line with his vision to make the State safe for residents and investors.
He said the State Government, with the completion of the centre, is joining other advanced countries of the world which had embraced technology to make life easier for people in all spheres of existence.
He said: “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 recalled that from inception, his administration realised the fact that security was key to good governance and sustainability of investment to make life better for the people, a development 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 interventions, Governor Ambode said, had translated into tremendous success by the reduction in the incidents of crimes in the State, adding that the DNA Centre was another move demonstrating the State Government’s resolve to stay ahead of criminals through scientific-led investigations.
Giving details of the DNA Centre, the Governor said the facility has 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.
While assuring that the government would not rest on its oars in coming up with initiatives to secure the State, Governor Ambode said with the commissioning, 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.
According to him, “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.
In his welcome address, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem 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. SUNNEWS.