Lagos State Sets Up DNA Centre To Accelerate Justice
A Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and Forensic Centre has been established in Lagos State to aid crimes investigations and accelerate justice delivery.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday inaugurated the centre which was set up in partnership with an American company – IPSI Bio-Science Company.
It is located at the CMS area of Lagos Island and it is the first government-owned DNA forensic centre in Nigeria.
The Governor, while performing the inauguration said: “Before now, most of, if not all DNA analysis and testing, were performed outside Nigeria, a situation that caused longer turn-around time and an overall higher cost of bringing closure to a case.
“I am, therefore, convinced that the establishment of the centre will assist our courts in quick dispensation of justice.
“This centre is a definite boost for our administration’s justice sector reform programme, and it will further transform the system of administration of justice in Lagos in particular and Nigeria as a whole”.
The centre has the capacity to provide the police, prosecutors, defence attorneys and private citizens with crime scene processing and serological screening for blood and semen.
It will also provide services such as DNA analysis of bone, teeth and hair; maternal and paternal relationship DNA analysis, expert witness and case handling services.
“Besides, it will help in paternal and maternal ancestry DNA analysis; cold case file review and mass disaster human identification.
“With the successful completion of this stage of the facility, our administration plans to include 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 and forensic section and enhance the level of services offered today.
“This will be helpful when dealing with organised crimes, as scientific methods can now help prosecutors to exonerate or convict a suspect, thereby reducing incidence of crime in the state,” Governor Ambode said.
Ambode’s administration established the centre in the realisation that security was vital for good governance and sustainability of investment.
The U.S. Consul-General in Nigeria, Mr John Bray, who attended the inauguration ceremony pointed out that the centre would better equip Lagos and Nigeria to deal with social challenges in an effective and scientific manner.
According to the Managing Consultant of the centre, Dr Richard Somiari, the project was initiated in 2016 for consultation on old and new cases, crime scene processing and evidence collection.