Nigeria’s rank as the world’s 16th least peaceful country in the 2019 Global Peace Index (GPI) and its position as the third most terrorized country in the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) released in December 2018 can’t be more suggestive the worrisome insecurity levels.
Average citizens of the country are plagued with an assortment of social vices — from armed robbery and transnational organized crimes (TOCs) to kidnapping, insurgency, sexual abuse and human trafficking — and need no soothsayer to ascertain the obvious.
The longstanding dilemma has had citizens experience untoward situations and crippled the country’s finances by hindering business activities, discouraging foreign investment, and putting the nation’s economic growth at a stalemate.
Yet, worthy of note isn’t just the rate at which these activities are perpetrated but the ingenuity, substance, and velocity with which criminal cases are approached, investigated, and tackled.
The Nigerian police, saddled with the responsibility of combating crime in the country, sadly seems ill-equipped and lacking in the requisite skills, manpower, and morale to adequately address the soaring crime rate — a major cause of which is the failure to adequately deploy science into investigative procedures.
Many innocent individuals have done a long-haul time in mind-breaking prisons for crimes they didn’t commit and much of the skewed investigative procedures that mark many similar cases have led to the conviction of the wrong people based on false informants, sloppy collection of evidence, and false admission to crimes.
Troubling is the nonexistent chance of solving criminal cases amid the dearth of appropriate policing tools. There is no doubt — as former inspector general of police, Solomon Arase, agrees — that modern policing is driven by the technology, forensic science, and strategic intelligence network.
The need to equip indigenous investigators and law enforcement officers with skills to enable them function in forensic capacities has never been more evident but the challenge has been that only very few are aware of the existence these scientific techniques.
Also, Nigerian leaders seem to lack the political will to champion policies that would oversee the deployment of forensic procedures into criminal justice amid a glaring nonexistence of licensed tertiary institutions running undergraduate programs in the forensic sciences. These and more have frustrated all effort at changing the status quo.
To address these gaping holes, fervent advocacy is required and that’s precisely the purpose of the
Community for Forensic Awareness (CFA) — a conglomeration of young visionary leaders set to champion the cause for the implementation of forensic methodologies in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.
Now, with all the talk about forensic science, it’s only expected that we define the concept in simple terms.
Forensic science basically applies knowledge from fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, linguistics, computer science and engineering to solve crimes and address matters of law.
It entails the deployment of scientific analyses and comparisons in a bid to come up with evidence presentable during legal proceedings to examine stakes in criminal cases, verify or discredit victims’ and suspect statements, identify culprits, and establish connections between crime scenes.
CFA is poised to enlighten the public on forensic concepts, advocate necessary legislation and funding for the accommodation of forensic science in Nigeria’s criminal justice system, hilight anecdotal accounts, and amplify the voices of existing advocates for the cause.
By Stephen C. Kenechukwu