By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
The United States is assisting establish a state-of-the-art Secure Evidence Storage Facility at the Nigeria Police Force Criminal Investigation Division Headquarters in Garki, Abuja.
The project which is in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), will strengthen police efforts to apprehending terrorists, kidnappers, and other violent criminals, and ultimately, secure convictions within a rule of law framework.
The new storage facility, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), will augment NPF’s capabilities in the collection and forensic exploitation of physical evidence.
A statement signed by the Senior Public Affairs Specialist Public Affairs Section,
U.S Embassy, Abuja, Aishah A. Gambari, notes the initial focus of the project is on the Federal Capital Territory and four states in the Northeast region, but it also will be extended to additional states in the Northwest and North Central regions.
The project according to the statemwnt, will be administered by both Nigerian and international experts from UNODC and in addition to refurbishing a number of NPF evidence storage facilities, the project team will work with Nigerian police investigators and crime scene specialists to build their capacity to collect and analyze evidence such as fingerprints, tool marks, digital data, and biological material.
The statement also noted that Tony Olufu Adejoh, who represented the Inspector General of Police, at the kick off ceremony remarked, “I want to thank the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and United States for their most welcome support and sincerely impress upon them that they can embrace us on the fight against terrorism and other serious crimes.”
The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, on her part, noted, “Every stage of the evidence process is important; from the initial collection, handling, recording, storing, preserving, transporting, and ultimately to exhibits being presented in court all have major effect on the outcome of justice.”