The Lagos State government says it has awarded the contract for the expansion of the operations of the DNA and Forensic Centre to include a world-class Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Section.
The state government said the expansion was in line with efforts to enlarge the scope of operation of the centre to offer more services.
Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday by the Assistant Director of Public Affairs at the ministry, Mr Kayode Oyekanmi.
Kazeem explained that the section was added due to the high incidence and growing cases of homicide and suspicious deaths related to substance, alcohol abuse, drug-related accidents and deaths, as well as suspected cases of poisoning.
“The award of this contract by the state government is in fulfilment of the promise made by His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the commissioning of the Centre in September 2017,” he said.
“The Governor (had) informed Lagosians and the world that the first phase of the centre was that of DNA and Forensic Biology and promised that the state would move to other phases by expanding the scope of operation of the centre to include Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry; Latent and Trace evidence, Firearms and Toolmark, Questioned documents and Digital evidence; to expand the level of services offered by the DNA Centre,” he added.
The commissioner was hopeful that the new section, which would be ready for commissioning in the third quarter of 2018, would automatically place Lagos as one of the leading centres for forensics in Africa.
According to him, the DNA and Forensic Centre in the last three months received over 150 requests for forensic analysis from within and outside Nigeria while over 35 cases have been resolved using forensic technology.
Kazeem added that the centre, since it began operation in September 2017, has become a significant milestone and a symbolic manifestation of Governor Ambode’s efforts to carry out reforms in the justice sector.
Some of the cases handled by the centre include suspicious death investigations, analysis of human remains that were exhumed to resolve inheritance disputes, child trafficking, rape, impersonation, paternity and maternity issues among others.
The Attorney-General said the centre has held workshops and training for judges, legal practitioners, police, as well as other law enforcement agencies and emergency responders in the state.
He added that several representatives of foreign embassies in Nigeria and international agencies have visited the facility and are willing to partner with the centre.