Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who was represented by Mrs. Funlola Odunlami Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, on Tuesday disclosed that the planned Phase 2 of the State forensic programmes will help in death investigations involving suspicious poisoning, alcohol, and use of other dangerous substances, saying that the State Government is pleased with the performance of its DNA and Forensic Center (LSD&FC) established last year.
The Commissioner stated this at the 3rd annual Lagos Forensic Symposium (LFS) organized by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre and ITSI-Biosciences, LLC, Johnstown, PA USA.
According to the Commissioner, the establishment of the additional DNA centre will not only help in complementing and maximising the level of services already being offered by the present centre but will also enhance investigation by security agencies and prosecution by the Office of the Attorney-General.
“The Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre (LSD&FC) was commissioned last year by Governor Ambode which made Nigeria joined the international community’s efforts in applying scientific methods to a prosecution, defense, law enforcement, criminal investigations, national security and disaster management
“In phase 2 of LSD&FC, toxicology, and drug chemistry disciplines will be established to help with death investigations involving suspicious poisoning and alcohol.” The Attorney-General explained.
He stated that the LSD&FC has already played a role in the rapid resolution of cases concerned with murder, child trafficking, rape/defilement of a child, burglary and disaster victim identification
The Commissioner specifically recalled the Otedola Bridge Fire accident where 9 bodies were successfully matched to their families using DNA technology. “The Lagos State Government completed this identification process in less than four weeks after the incident as against over six months when the practice was to take samples abroad for analysis.
“For the first time, Lagos State did not have to rely on laboratories outside Nigeria to identify victims that were burnt beyond recognition,” Kazeem said.
He revealed that the 3rd annual LFS will feature leading and world-renowned faculty with cognate experience in forensic science who will interact with Judges, Magistrates, Lawyers and Legislators; Police, Investigators, Forensic pathologist/scientists, Medical practitioners, Emergency responders and other stakeholders; investigative journalists and students on how the Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre (LSD&FC) can help in many areas of the criminal justice system.
He averred that interactive session will provide participants with up-to-date information on how forensic science is currently applied in criminal investigations, law enforcement, mass fatalities, sexual assault, and other matters of interest to Lagos State and Nigeria.