L-R: Major General, Ishaku Pennap (Rtd), Annette Alchin, Dr. Richard Somiari, DNA & Forensic Center Director, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami, Solicitor-General Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Arthur Young, and David Green, at the 4th Lagos Forensic Symposium, at The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday disclosed it is working on equipping its Forensic Centre with Chemistry and Toxicology units to strengthen criminal investigations in the state.
The State Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami made this disclosure at the just concluded 4th Lagos Forensic Symposium at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
“The inclusion of the forensic chemistry and toxicology checks will enhance criminal investigations in the state and also speed up the identification and conviction of perpetrators of cases related to intake of poisonous and harmful substances in the body,” Odunlami said.
She added, the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre located at Odunlami Street, Lagos Island, has played significant role in investigating over 100 cases of deaths, identification of exhumed human remains, rape and burglary since commencement of operations in 2017.
The Lagos State Solicitor General further noted that the forensic centre has also investigated about 300 cases of paternity and other heredity related issues.
Odunlami posited that Nigeria “has finally joined the international community’s efforts in applying scientific methods to prosecution, defence, law enforcement, criminal investigations, national security and disaster management.”
She said the symposium was aimed at providing the public with information on the role of forensic science in criminal investigation and its importance to law enforcement agencies and the judiciary on mass fatalities, sexual assault, and other issues.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu said the introduction of forensic science has helped in utilising Criminal Speciality Law in investigating criminal identities and exonerate the innocent persons.
Muazu, represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police CIID, Mrs Yetunde Alonge, said investment in forensic investigation shows the visionary leadership of the Lagos State Government.
He urged the participants to tap into the wealth of knowledge of the professionals that spoke at the symposium.
Also, the Centre Director of Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre, Dr. Richard Somiari, disclosed that Lagos State DNA and Forensic is the only laboratory accredited for Forensic DNA analysis in Nigeria.
He added that the database accelerates the process of identifying victims of crimes, linking crimes to one another and also identifying serial offenders.
While commending the Police Force collaboration effort with the Lagos State Forensic Centre, the Director said forensic services are also available to NGOs, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors and other members of the public.
It will be recalled that the Lagos State Forensic Centre was established in 2017 to aid criminal investigation through DNA analysis.
Participants at the 4th Forensic Symposium includes Judges, Magistrates, Lawyers, Legislators, Police, Immigration, Customs, Investigators, Forensic Pathologist/Scientists, Medical practitioners, Emergency Responders, Fire Brigade, Investigative Journalists, and Students.