Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday commissioned the state’s DNA Forensic Centre, the first ever center in West Africa.
Situated on Odunlami Street, Lagos Island, the governor said it would not only help in the resolution of crimes but would also be useful in clearing controversies relating to paternity.
Derscribing the DNA laboratory, situated at Odunlami Street,Lagos Island, Ambode said its establishment is an important landmark in his administration’s effort to improve the judiciary in Lagos and safeguard the state for all stakeholders in the state.
According to him, the enterprise had placed Lagos State at the same level with other advanced places in the world where technology has been used to make life easier for the people.
Ambode 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 noted that the DNA Forensic Centre had been adequately equipped to provide services such as “serological screening of 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.”
These service, he said, would come in handy to the police, prosecutors, defense counsel and private citizens.
The governor gave the assurance that his administration would not rest on its oars but would immediately move to the second stage of the project, by creating 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 Consul General of the United States Embassy in Lagos, Mr. John Bray, congratulated Ambode and the people of Lagos State for the successful completion of “the first DNA Forensic Centre not only in Nigeria but in West Africa,” saying that the development would enhance justice and progress.
In his welcome address, the Lagos State 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 agencies to identify crime patterns and suspects, and also help to exonerate or convict suspects.
On his own part, the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen. 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.
Also, the Lagos State acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal, described the completion of the centre as a further demonstration of Lagos State’s penchant for blazing the trail in terms of justice and security reforms.